COACH BINNEY'S SUMMER 2018 TRAVEL SCHEDULE:
18 June - USNA Golf Course - US Jr. Am Qualifier
26-28 June - Illinois State Jr. Amateur, Makray Memorial GC, Chicago, Ill.
1-3 July - Killington AJGA, Killington, Vt.
16 - 21 July - US Jr. Amateur - Baltsurol, N.J.
23 - 26 July - Bubba Conlee Jr. Championship, Memphis, Tenn.
30 - 31 July - Philly Junior, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
20-23 August - AJGA Junior at Fiddler's Elbow
A NOTE FROM HEAD COACH MICHAEL BINNEY:
Each year dozens of outstanding high school golfers and their families visit Bucknell University and the Bachman Golf Center. When they do, I get a chance to tell them about the fantastic opportunities that Bucknell offers and the high expectations that the University maintains for its student-athletes; both in the classroom and on the golf course. These conversations often lead to some common questions, so I thought I would take a moment to clarify some frequently asked questions related to the Bucknell golf program.
• Financial Aid
Bucknell is a Division I member of the Patriot League, and as such, we are a non-scholarship program. Need-based financial assistance is available to our team members through the Bucknell Office of Financial Aid and is “blind.” What this means is that neither Athletic Department nor the Golf Program is involved in this process. Families seeking Financial Aid assistance are required to apply for financial assistance each year.
• Program Priorities
It is important that potential student athletes understand our program’s priorities. At Bucknell University, academics come first. The student-athlete must be capable of handling a demanding course load as well as competing in a D1 sport. Since the golf program is a two-season sport, those demands extend for the majority of the academic calendar and can be challenging to say the least. This will require commitment and dedication on the part of the student-athlete and will require efficient time management and the support of their family. Our program’s success depends upon our players being able to manage multiple priorities at the same time. With that said, the Bison golf program continuously produces multiple Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recipients each year, and the type of student-athlete that I will look to recruit is self-motivated, self-disciplined, and is a gentleman on and off the course, as well as in the classroom. As a member of the men’s golf program, a player is expected to uphold the highest standards of conduct when representing Bucknell University.
• Coming to Campus
Any prospective student-athlete who is considering Bucknell University as a place to call home during their collegiate career should visit the campus if at all possible. I tell recruits all the time that they will know within five minutes of walking on to campus whether or not they can call Bucknell (or any campus for that matter) home for the next four years. It is vitally important for potential recruits to see the academic and athletic facilities that Bucknell has to offer. Lewisburg and Bucknell provide a symbiotic ‘vibe’ for learning and playing golf. The men’s golf program is looking for outstanding scholar-athletes that are dedicated to their studies and the game of golf.
• Golf Facilities
Bucknell University has the unique advantage of having its own university-owned golf course and a year-round practice facility. This enables us to stand out amongst our peers in the college golf world and gives us a tremendous advantage in the northeastern portion of the country where the weather is less-than-hospitable during the winter months where golf is concerned. The Bachman Golf Center, opened in 2011, features both indoor and outdoor practice areas, four hitting bays, an indoor and outdoor practice green, an outdoor short-game area, team locker rooms, a players lounge as well as a multi-functional conference room for meetings and academic study. Both facilities are located within easy walking and driving distance from the center of campus. Bison golfers have daily access to the course and its facilities.
• Golf Ability
Here is where the proverbial rubber meets the road in recruiting terms. First and foremost, the type of player that I am looking to recruit is one that can come to Bucknell as a freshman with the confidence and skills necessary to compete in the Patriot League the very first time they tee it up. That kind of player is self-motivated, self-disciplined, and is not intimidated by older or more experienced players. That type of skillset and confidence only comes through tournament golf, and the experience gained by playing a lot of it. I expect recruits to be playing in the highest caliber junior events in which they can participate. That means tournaments like AJGA, IJGT and USGA events. Since Junior Golf has become global; and recruiting as well, it is hard for a coach in one particular geographical area to evaluate the skills of a junior golfer in another geographical area without the aid of national-level ranking systems like Junior Golf Scoreboard, Golfweek, and AJGA Polo Golf ranking systems. With that said, if a junior golfer wants a coach to notice their abilities, and that coach is a 1,000 miles away, their virtual resume needs to speak for itself. The bottom line is this; there is no substitute for tournament golf, except tournament golf!
In terms of scoring and handicaps, I rely very little on a player’s USGA Handicap because of the short-duration of its computation. Junior Golf Scoreboard (JGS) has done a tremendous job in leveling the national playing field by offering a 52-week tournament “handicap” so to speak. It takes a player’s results from the previous 52 weeks and computes a scoring differential that relates to a courses slope, rating and the actual tournament field as well. It is much more accurate than a typical USGA handicap and can be used nationally to compare players in a tournament context that have never played against one another. A typical high school player with D1 potential should have a 2.0 differential or better, which would normally place them inside the top 1,000 in any of the ranking systems.
• Coach’s Note
Hopefully, this outline will give you some insight into what it will be like to be part of the Bison family. We are proud of our school, its traditions and its academic excellence, and feel that there are few places better suited for a student-athlete who wants the highest educational experience in the country. Those aren’t idle words, as Bucknell University boasts one of the highest rankings in student-athlete graduation in the country. I am extremely blessed and fortunate that the Department of Athletics & Recreation at Bucknell has entrusted me with leading the men’s golf program and I will do my utmost to maintain the highest traditions and standards of the university and Bucknell Athletics.