Episode #30: Coastal Carolina University Men's Head Golf Coach Jim Garren 03/18/2021
Meredith: Coastal Carolina university men's head golf coach, Jim Garren is our guest for episode number 30 for the Give Me Golf podcast, powered by MyrtleBeachgolftrips.com. Find out if another Dustin Johnson is on the horizon. Also, a great conversation with Coach Garren about the program and the responsibilities as a head golf coach of a division one program. The chanticleers are rising in rank.
I'm here at Pine Lakes country club in history hall and joining me is a very special guest, the men's head golf coach, Jim Garren, joining us from Coastal Carolina university. Coach Garren, thanks for coming on the show today.
Coach Garren: Thanks for having me. It's always good to sit down and talk with people in the local area and people that do things for our game.
Meredith: Well, I was really excited to run into you a couple of weeks ago because Nate, our producer and I were talking about having you on as a guest, and then I ran into you and we were able to talk a little bit and meet in person instead of on social media, because now I think everybody just meets on social media first and then you meet face to face. So I'm glad that worked out. It was meant to be a that you're here today, but I know you're probably tired because you've been busy this last week. You've had a tournament. Tell us a little bit about that.
Coach Garren: Yeah, we just finished up the General Hackler championship yesterday. So for me, that's a long couple of weeks. It's a long year. I mean, we're already starting the process for next year today, and we're sending out invitations starting probably the end of this week. So when tournament time finally gets here, that's a long, stressful couple of weeks. Three rounds of competition this year, practice round was on Saturday. So from Friday about lunchtime until last night at six, I was pretty much parked at the dunes club. So it's been a long few days.
Meredith: Well, how did you guys finish?
Coach Garren: We finished fifth this year, solid field, probably nine or ten NCA post-season teams. So to get some good head to head wins was awesome.
Meredith: That's great. Tell us a little bit about your team this year. Some of your better players right now that are playing, how are they scoring and just what does this year and maybe next year look like for Coastal?
Coach Garren: So, this is a COVID year in spring sports of collegiate athletics. So we were actually able to get Zach Taylor and state sport back for an extra year. And what that means from a competitive standpoint, with every spring sport, whether it's us, baseball, tennis, whoever, college athletics is loaded this year, because you've got essentially five years worth of kids playing and with no professional golf to be had last year in terms of Q school or anything like that, all the good players came back. So it's been a fun year. It's been an exciting year, but you see guys like Zach and States just dominating from our team standpoint. It's like that across the board. So States is probably one of our higher ranked guys right now. He's in the top 150 in the country. Zach's obviously in the top 150 in the country. They've had a great year. State set out the fall season, but he came out and won his first one in the spring and Zach's just been a rock star ever since we had him.
Meredith: Now when it comes to Zach, I think I may have read an article about him. Did he start golf later or something, or was he not on the team and then walked on later on? Or was it another player that [crosstalk 00:03:06].
Coach Garren: No, that was him. So our first year, 2017/18 season. It's weird to go back that far because we've only finished two seasons since I've been here because of COVID. But our first year, when I got here, we had five people on the roster. Well, you play five people, so you got to have more than five in case somebody gets hurt, gets sick. You got to have more than five.
Meredith: Like basketball.
Coach Garren: Exactly. You don't want to play a basketball game with five, somebody fouls out, that's bad. We can get into that later, but we've had some foul outs the last 12 months that we've had to play with four, and it's not a good time. I reached out to Will Mann when I got here, and then we had a very nice PGM program. I'd been on campus about a week and I talked to Mr. Mann and he put me in touch with Gil Fagin and Matt Roberts and Paige Crib. And I was like, "Guys, anybody you got that can play, we'll take them." They suggested Morgan Dineen and Andrew Roy. And those guys were great. Not only were they very good players, but they were essentially my "recruits" and I was able to have some guys that we brought in that first year. And we had a very nice year.
I mean, this program was in a bad spot when we got here, which was good for me because it got me here, but it was not in a great spot and those guys came out and they played, they played well, we had a nice year. We won Sunbelt championship. Morgan actually won the Sunbelt championship. So that just kept me thinking, "Hey, there's going to be guys on this campus that they've gotten a little older. They're probably better than they were coming out of high school and let's check them out." And that's what led us to Zach the following summer. So he came on in the summer of 2018.
Meredith: And how old was he when he came on, or what year was he?
Coach Garren: He had just finished his third year of college.
Meredith: Oh wow.
Coach Garren: So he had been out of competitive golf for three years. His third year of college, the PGM, he pretty much won every tournament, and I think a lot of that was he saw us give Morgan and Andrew a chance, and that motivated them to work hard. Whereas before, nobody was giving those guys a chance and he was a good junior player, we went back and researched him some. He should've been playing somewhere. The offers just weren't there, the spots weren't there and he just fell into our lap.
Meredith: Now, is he on scholarship now?
Coach Garren: He has been on the last two years. Yes.
Meredith: That's good. It's kind of like a Hunter Renfrew kind of thing.
Coach Garren: Yes.
Meredith: You know, Hunter had offers and then he goes to Clemson. He decides to walk on and then later on obviously gets a scholarship. So it is possible for that to happen with golf.
Coach Garren: It is. I mean, it all depends on the place. Men's golf only allows four and a half scholarships per team. That's across the board. That's an NCA rule.
Meredith: Oh wow.
Coach Garren: So, it's not like a basketball team where everybody gets everything paid for. So it's a math game and things of that nature, but yeah, it's very possible. We have the transfer portal just like every other sport. So you can probably click on the portal right now and see 130 guys in there. That's a lot of people. In this game, people make decisions way too early. 13 olds, 14 year olds committing, that's usually not going to work out. That's too young to make a decision that you need to be making from your 18 to 22 year old years.
Meredith: Exactly. Yeah. The early commits, I could see that being an issue.
Nate: Coach, you got a pretty impressive resume. You were the assistant coach at university of Southern Mississippi, university of New Mexico, and then you came from university of Oklahoma and you won the NCAA championship in 2016, 2017. That's pretty cool. Tell us about the national championship.
Coach Garren: Well, that's always, I mean, that's the pinnacle of what we do, right?
Nate: And I've seen your ring.
Coach Garren: Yeah.
Nate: Yeah, it's pretty nice.
Coach Garren: Yeah. I like to leave it on my desk, or sometimes when we talk and do big speeches, we'll take it. But we've also got a Sunbelt ring and I take them both now. So, that's cool. And a Mountain West championship ring, which I don't know. I need to put that one in the office too. That's a cool ring. The national championship is the pinnacle of what we do. I mean, how often can you say in your career, you're actually going to get to do that? Now I was an assistant, yes, but you're talking player, assistant head coach, sports administrator, whoever, that's the dream. And it's a long week now. So we flew up to Chicago, it was an interesting year. We were very good team, we were top 15 all year, but we only won twice in the regular season. We couldn't really put it all together.
However, we had set the school record for individual wins in a year. Five wins with three different guys winning. So we knew if things were timed up perfectly, we could do well. And it was just an awesome week. We got up to Rich Harvest farms. I think we blitzed everybody in the first round. The second round of stroke play, we were still on top. The third round, I think we were still on top, and then they cut to 15 after the third round because that's when TV starts covering live. And the fourth round, I think Vanderbilt crept ahead of us and finished number one seed for the stroke play by like two shots. And we got into match play and we had made match play the previous year for the first time in school history and got absolutely housed by Texas in the final eight.
I mean, it was over by the eighth hole. I mean they had guys five up, five up, five up. So our first go around at match play wasn't great. And we get to play Baylor in the first round, which is the final eight in 2017 and we're down in all five matches at the turn. So, here we go, another early exit for the Schooners and something just happened on the back nine. Man, it was incredible. We ended up sneaking past Baylor three and two, played Illinois in the final four up in Chicago, and there's a huge OU booster club of Chicago, Illinois is obviously there, we had I think it was 13,000 fans out for that match.
Meredith: That is awesome.
Coach Garren: So it was very Ryder Cup-esque our guys just fed off of that and we beat Illinois fairly easily, and then we get to the final match and it's Oregon, the defending national champion, who's been there, who literally just did it the year before. And I don't want to say it was comfortable, but we got off to such a nice start that going down 10, 11, 12, you knew what about to happen. And it was one of the coolest days of my life. I mean, because we had all the families there, the boys, all the guys who didn't travel drove up from Norman the night before, drove like 16 hours overnight without sleeping. Some of the girls team came up and it was just a really cool week. And I mean, we still have a group text that's still going all the time. We got to take the team to the White House the following fall. So it was something we all hoped to achieve again, but it was just magical that we got to be a part of that.
Nate: Cool. Being an assistant, my experiences in the golf industry, being an assistant golf professional and then you finally get your own head coaching or head professional job. There's pretty much nothing probably as an assistant coach that you didn't do that helped you springboard to be a head coach, right? [crosstalk 00:09:43]
Coach Garren: Right. Yeah. I mean the assistant role, the same thing in the golf business, the day-to-day, you know how to do everything. You're tasked with a lot of the administrative stuff. You have to do a lot of the NCA compliance stuff, you know all the little things. I'd say the difference is, especially in a place like New Mexico or Oklahoma, if you need to go watch a kid recruiting you go. It doesn't matter where it is, you get sent out last minute, you got to go get on a plane and go. I'd say the difference from a head coaching standpoint is the time requests of people you need to talk to, things you need to do, places you need to be.
Nate: Yeah. Like this.
Meredith: Like this, right? We've got you here.
Coach Garren: Exactly. But that's also a fun thing. You're out there building your brand per se of your program. I went back to move my stuff out of my place in Oklahoma, after being here for two or three weeks and I met up with Ryan, he goes, "Well, what do you think about it so far?" I'm like, "The phone never stops ringing." So that's the difference, is there's always somebody that needs something, and now you're the guy that has to make the decision.
Nate: Yeah. The buck stops with you now.
Coach Garren: Right. The coaching standpoint, nothing's different. The boys don't open up to you as much when you're the head coach, as they do the assistant. As the assistant, you're the guy they call with personal problems or anything they need or stuff like that. So there's a little bit-
Meredith: You're kind of like the mom.
Coach Garren: Yeah.
Meredith: The assistant, and then the head coach is kind of like the dad.
Coach Garren: Right. Yeah, your big brother and then your dad. I mean your big brother and then your dad. So the communication's a little different, but other than that, the coaching part's pretty much the same thing.
Nate: So how much coaching/teaching does a division one golf coach do?
Coach Garren: Not a lot of teaching. There's a lot of coaching, and what I mean by that is, I'm 13 years into this business and I've never had a player that can properly read a compass on a yardage book. And that sounds basic, right? We get into golf instruction because in my opinion, there's a difference between a swimming instructor and a golf coach. We've got to talk guys through elevation changes, how to properly read the compass, the forecast things to know where the wind's coming from, pin positions, proper positions. It's a completely different ball game. And we know the golf swing well. One of my best friends in the world, Scott Hamilton, who has 12 guys out on tour. So I have a good understanding of the golf swing, but I'm also the guy that doesn't get in the way of the swing instructor. I don't want to ruin that relationship. If you're teaching a guy, if you're teaching a guy and they were able to get to my level, they know what they're doing physically.
Now, there's little things we can check them on, and I call you and I say, "Hey, here's what so-and-so is doing. What do you recommend when this happens?" Because I see him on the course. "Here's what he does under pressure on this type of hole, this type of win." And I like to keep that relationship open and working because that's only going to better the player.
Meredith: What do you think about TrackMan and the use of that? When I was down at the DJ, these kids are carrying TrackMans, it's amazing. At the high school level, what do you think about technology and the use of those types of tools?
Coach Garren: Technology has benefited the game, no doubt. I think from a physical standpoint, a ball hitting standpoint, it's the best the games ever been. I think TrackMan on the road, when you see it, I know especially when we're using most of the time, you're just getting carry numbers. You're trying to check your numbers instead of lasering it to say, "Okay, that pin on the range is so-and-so," they're wanting a definite number every time. That's something we've tried to put in more at practice here because of a lot of our guys had never really thought to do that before. They would get on TrackMan and look at swing path and swing direction. Well, that's great, but the benefit of TrackMan is truly giving you an exact number of where that ball's going in a competitive standpoint.
Now, if we were to sit in the hitting Bay and we were just working on golf swings, then we're looking at the other direction. So TrackMan's a huge benefit to everybody.
Nate: Yeah. You're right. They all had it.
Meredith: I know, it was amazing, right? And they're like 30 grand< it's like these kids are really investing. Nate: [crosstalk 00:13:28] my car in the parking lot. Coach Garren: Yeah. They're not cheap. Meredith: No. Coach Garren: I mean, I know because we're about to update ours. It's not cheap. Meredith: Yeah. Well, what's your, coming to Myrtle Beach, you're in the golf capital of the world, is it what you expected? What are the pros and cons of being here in Myrtle Beach? Coach Garren: As someone who grew up in a small town with the country club, coached in a small town with a country club, then went to two universities that had very nice university courses that you can control the tee times, it's different because I've never seen the golf business per se. I understand the golf business because we still deal with the apparel people and all that in what we do, but it's from their tour department, not so much the retail side. The pros, there's a thousand golf courses, right? Nate: You don't have to drive very far. Coach Garren: No. I mean, we can go wherever we want. I mean, we can get any look we want. The cons, there's not really other than in the spring time, I'd say we narrow our course list down because it's so firm and fast and the tournaments we play, we kind of tend to stick to the courses that don't really oversee their greens. So we probably go from 20 places in the fall to try to narrow it down to a certain specific green surface in the spring with the exception of, if we need to look ... Like we've been going out to Myrtlewood more lately because we need to see our guys shoot lower scores and get them comfortable being under par again. I think Myrtlewood offers us that opportunity. So the biggest pro is our amount and style of golf courses. There's not really a con. Nobody really hassles us with getting on. One of the benefits here, a lot of the PGA professionals are coastal people, they love having us out. There's not really a downside to this place, from a golf course point of view. Meredith: Now your goals as a coach, I saw this post the other day on your Instagram, which by the way, you can go follow him. Is yours public? Instagram? Coach Garren: I think it is. Yeah. I should have that public. Meredith: I should've asked you before this. Yeah. You can go follow a Coach Garren on Instagram, but on one of your stories, I saw something about tickets. Are there tickets now to get on the course as spectators or what was that? There was something on there. Coach Garren: Well, COVID opened a lot of people's eyes to the college athletics business. And I got pretty upset last summer when I saw some friends lose their programs, most notably Akron, and then Furman loses baseball, Akron lost men's golf. Meredith: Furman lost baseball? Coach Garren: Furman lost baseball, and I'm going, "Whoa, none of this actually makes sense," because we all think that college sports is all "revenue driven", football, basketball. I think we all understand that, but there's a financial benefit to the equivalency teams. I mean, we talked about it earlier, men's golf has four and a half scholarships. So I have 13 guys on my team. Do the math, right? So one of the things that I've tried to make a point that I want to do with our tournament this year was how can we do revenue and show that we're a revenue producing sport? Not that Coastal's given me a hard time. I mean, this is more for in general when I'm seeing my buddies lose the programs. So I took this on and I'm like, "We need to show that golf can produce for the university." Am I worried about our program here? I'm not, but I'm worried about, we've got 299 men's division one programs. I'm worried about 100 of those really. Do I think 100 are going to get cut? No, but some will. And how do we do that? So we tried a badge credential system this year, like you would get at a tour event, and they were awesome. I might have some tournament staff ones leftover. And I said, "Let's do 500 of these, general admissions, members. And let's pre-sell the sponsorship." That now we've sold out, and just see how many of these we can give out and keep a tally of how many people come. And it's just trying to change the paradigm a little bit of how people think about our sports. Okay. We, showed that we could sell out. We had a hospitality area. We had Mr. Softy out there making ice cream. We had over 1200 people in attendance for the week, if you're counting all four days. I'm just trying to help the equivalency sports throughout all of college athletics, not just Coastal, not just golf, but prove our value, because the value is the kids getting the experience and getting the opportunity to do what they do. But from a business side of it, we need to prove our value to how people think about collegiate athletics. It's not just a, "Oh, hey, I've got a cross country team and we just lose this amount of money on them a year." That's not true. Those people bring value to you, and more than just the kids' experiences, there is a financial aspect to it. Meredith: Right. So, how can we help? I mean, what can we do to promote this here in our area? Because I mean, we are in the golf capital of the world. We have so many people visiting this area that maybe would like to get out and watch these guys play. What can we do as a community to help the program? Coach Garren: I think the community is great. I mean, you look at our booster club and the success we've had with it so far, we started at $0. When you combine the Hackler and our general forensic golf program, we're going to be close to $500,000 raised since I've been here, and believe me, we need every penny of that. You look at what some of these schools spend on our sport. It's unbelievable. I know, because I came from one. We did a $6.5 million project when I was at Oklahoma, and they didn't bat an eye at that. Well, Oklahoma football, Oklahoma basketball, a long time story tradition. We had it. I think from a community standpoint, we just exploit what we have, we exploit the golf courses. We exploit what Dustin's doing out there, Sebastian, Zach, just getting his tour card last week. We support our guys and girls that have made it where the understanding of where they came from. We want people to come out and watch. Hopefully there's no COVID restrictions next year. And we can have people lined on the fairways. Right? Meredith: That'd be great. Coach Garren: But in our program in general, we want people coming out to play in the Chanticleer open that I do every fall, I'm wearing the hat today. We want people to play in the college and for the Hackler and we want people to support our booster club, whether it's $20 or $1000. Every dollar matters. But I try to do it a little differently. We don't just go and ask because I don't think that's the proper way to do it. We want you all to be around the boys and meet them because when you meet them and we get them out, people want to help them. We do a lot of events throughout the year. In a normal year, we'll do a meet and greet with the team. We'll get up at a bar and grill somewhere and have a Q&A with the team. The Chanticleer open, we started that two years ago. That's a really fun and cool deal. The boys are out on the course hitting shots for every single group. The cheerleaders come out. Next year we're going to tie in the lacrosse team. Just exposing people to what we have here. And from a community standpoint, I want everybody to sport Coastal, because I want to do what baseball did. I wasn't here when baseball won the national championship. I can only imagine how cool it was to be here. Because it's your local team. Even if you didn't go to school here, it is your local team, and we want to get to that level. And it's more of just understanding of, "Yes, we have all the golf courses. That's a big selling point." We probably have more than anybody outside of the LA schools or the Dallas schools, but we don't have a lot of what they have, and it's spreading that message and letting people know truly what that is. Nate: Well, Coach, you're definitely going in the right direction because since you've been here in 2018, you've moved up 43 spots nationally for coastal Carolina. You are the 2018 Sunbelt coach of the year. So things you're doing are really paying off for the program. So, all good stuff. Coach Garren: Yeah. I love it. I hate the fact that the 2019 team didn't get, or excuse me, the 2020 team didn't get to finish the season because we were so young last year. So it's just weird saying this is year four, but we've really only had two full ones. So I love the direction of the program. We won conference the first year, got back to NCAs. That 2019 team was, I think the six or seventh best team Coastal's ever had from a national ranking standpoint. And this team this year, we've already finished in the top five. Four times we've got a win and we got our butts kicked twice, but we went out and we played the two best fields of the year. We went to Manitou in Dallas in the fall with States sitting out and of the 12 teams, I think eight of those are still ranked in the top 10. We went down to Florida a couple of weeks ago and just got beat up again. We had to play four legged, unfortunately, because we had a kid break his glasses on the fifth hole of the tournament and he can't see. Nate: Oh geez. Coach Garren: But we played 15, top 25 teams down there. So that was a positive thing about this week with the Hackler was like, "Hey, we've had a nice year." We've had a win, some great finishes, but we finally beat some good teams when it mattered. So I liked the direction. Nate: And we talked about it earlier, younger team, you've got some young players, so it's looking good for the future. Coach Garren: Yeah. I mean, we lose States and Zack and that's it. Now those are our top two guys, but guys step up every year. I'm not worried about ... Yes, you don't want to lose your two best players ever. We don't want to lose these two for what they meant for the program and how far they've brought it up since we've been here, but guys get better. They step up. They see what Zack and States are doing and they want to do that too. Meredith: Do you think those guys could be the next Dustin Johnson? Coach Garren: Well, it's hard to say that with the best player in the world. Zach's the best one I've had in a while. I've got eight guys, no eight guys playing at the Korn Ferry, two are of higher that I've coached. I've got a guy, I think he's ranked 28th in the world and Victor Perez, Gavin Green with full status on European, and then Michael Gillerman, who's full status on the PGA tour, and a whole bunch of guys in the Korn Ferry. Well, all those guys were very, very good college players. Zach is a very, very good college player, but it's hard to get to number one. When you look at what Tiger did, Rory didn't play in college, but you look at what tiger and what Dustin did, those guys won a lot. They won a lot of tournaments and Zach's shattered Dustin's scoring records. I mean, he's way ahead of him in the record books, as far as scoring averages, top 10 finishes and all that. But Dustin won seven or eight times. So it's hard to say the next Dustin because we don't have, as good as Zach's being, I think realistically PGA tour, a high level player competing in majors is in this kid's future. But it's hard to predict number one. Meredith: Right. What sets a player from being great from the greatest? Like what's that leading edge? What sets them apart? Coach Garren: That Dustin has no fear. Tiger had no fear. I think a lot of, when you look at the PGA tour now, 30 is old. When we were all growing up 30 was, you didn't really get there until you were 30. 30 is old now. If you're not out there by 30, you're wasting your time. I mean, these kids are coming out and winning right away. You were at, last time we had NCA post-season I know you all were both down there. Collin Morikawa finished 14th. He lost by 12 shots at the TPC regional. He's won a major and a WGC already. Nate: Yeah, it's amazing. Meredith: Wow. Coach Garren: Matthew Wolf's the defending national champion. He's already won on the PGA tour. So that's crazy to think that the last time we had a college season, these guys got majors and tour wins, but that's how young the game's gotten, and they're not scared of anything anymore. There is literally no fear. And I talk to this every time I go back home and meet with Scott Hamilton about these 12 or so guys he's got out on the tour, and his guys are getting a little older and he's going to try to rely on me to [inaudible 00:25:01] the younger ones. And he's like, "They're just not scared of anything." They're not. No, and Tiger change that. And Dustin's the same way. I don't think he's scared of anything on the golf course. It's a mindset thing. Meredith: How do you get the mindset? Like what would you as a coach say to your players? Like how do you get that mental perspective of not being fearful? Coach Garren: It's just, be an athlete. I think we've all met Dustin. We all know what he looks like. We all know what he could probably do in another sport. Tiger changed that game as well. They don't look like me out there anymore. They don't. They're athletes and they're built to win. I mean, they wake up every day trying to win. I mean, from the workouts, from the nutrition, from everything they do, it's just to compete and win and it's just turned into an athletic sport, and I think it's that alone is the mindset. Meredith: Right. Nate: Yeah. I mean, just seeing those kids at the high school level, in the DJ world junior, they just stand up to the tee and there's no fear. And it's like me when I was playing high school golf, it's like, if there's eight people on the first tee, it's like I've got the jitters. These kids are amazing. Coach Garren: We have a rule within our team of, if the golf broadcast is own, if Jim Nance isn't talking, don't listen. And that is nothing, or whoever's doing the NBC, that is nothing negative against Paul Azinger, Nick Faldo, any of those guys. But if you do listen to Azinger more so than Faldo, it's like, "Well, you're scared here. You're nervous here. This is when you're going to miss it." That's not how these guys think anymore. Yes, they did think that way. But Tiger changed that mindset. It's not an accident that he ran all those type of players off the tour. He wasn't scared of failure, I guess you could say. You can't be fearful of the outcome. Only one guy is going to win every week out of 156. So your job is to go try to win it, not be scared to win it. And Tiger changed that mindset. Tiger is the reason behind all of these guys. Meredith: That's amazing. Yeah, it really is. I mean, he totally has changed the game. When it comes to media, and like you mentioned your players listening to different broadcasters and whatnot, we went up to university of Kentucky because one of our sons plays basketball and worked with coach Calipari. And so my husband and my son were with coach Calipari in the locker room with some other players. And he has in his locker room, don't drink the poison. That's what he has written really big. Don't drink the poison. And my husband's like, "All right, what's what does that mean?" And he was saying, what he does with his players is he tries to, "Don't even listen to the news, don't get involved with it. Just ignore it, stay focused on playing basketball. That's it." So is that how that is for being a coach? Coach Garren: Yeah. The media attention in an individual sport, you need. Whenever the Any Given Tuesday guys, or Golf Week or any of those people, Golf Channel, whenever they want to interview our guys, 100% go do it, because you're still trying to build their brand for when they turn professional. You need to do that in our sport, but you do need to know how to block out the bad stuff. I mean, Calipari is right on track with that. It's interesting to see that program fall now, because he's gone to more of the one and done work. My mindset is, if I'm coaching basketball or golf, we should get old and stay old. You look at the teams that are successful in golf and in basketball, it's not the one with all the freshmen all-stars. The AAU circuit in basketball, the AJG All-American circuit in golf that's a business. They need to make you successful to keep their business going. So when a guy, and I'm speaking in terms of guys' game, because I don't coach the women, but when you come out and you do well in AJJ, say at a young age, 13, 14, 15, well, they're setting those golf courses up for you to succeed. And there's not a lot of challenge. And then you get to the collegiate level and now the golf courses are harder. Now the setups are harder. Now you're playing in the worst times of the year to play, it's harder. So there is ... don't drink the poison of thinking just because you were a top 15 junior player that you're going to be a top 15 collegiate player right away. I mean, we were talking about this kid earlier, the kid that just won our tournament, the Hackler, against a very good field is now ranked fifth in the country. He's a freshman from the state of Florida that never left Florida. He wasn't on any of those All-American teams. So basketball is very similar in that mindset to where if you were the best AAU player, were you really? Or were you just on the circuit that exposed your brand the most? Meredith: Right, that's a really good point. That's true. Coach Garren: Are you truly the best, or were you just one of the ones that was lucky enough to get into the little tour they had going? And that's the hard part. And I think that's what my boss at Oklahoma did more beautifully than anybody, and why they're still the premier program out there, is he will go after those type of guys, but he won't take the best player in the world if he doesn't fit his program. And he did that beautifully. And to whereas Kentucky basketball, Cal's still getting that guy. Maybe he changes how he recruits. I don't know. But that's- Meredith: I can't believe they're not playing. It's shocking to not see UK out there. Coach Garren: And they're definitely one of the most talented teams. But again, there's a big difference in 18 years old and 22 years old, there's a huge difference. So you see it. I mean, me and you lived through it. There's a big difference. That's part of the fun part of this job. Meredith: Yeah. Well, speaking of being 22, so if you're having some players stay on an extra year, what do they do academically? Do they just get a master's or how does that work for academic's fifth year? I'm just curious. Coach Garren: I think it depends on the caliber of student. Zach knows he's going to play golf. That's what he wants to do. He's got his tour card. So he took classes, undergraduate classes, again, that he's interested in. He's already got his degree. So he just took a bunch of classes this year that he finds interesting. Meredith: That's cool. Coach Garren: States, we hope States plays golf. He's certainly good enough to give it a shot, but he's also a 4.0 guy that's brilliant. And literally I would hire the guy to do my accounting and financial stuff whenever he graduates. He's that sharp. So, we focused his more on, "Hey, you may not finish grad school right away because you're going to play golf, but let's go ahead and start this financial accounting master's programs, because that's what you're good at." It's the caliber of student. If they're going to take the extra year, you got to benefit them for the future. If it's a not great student and he wants the extra year, let's just go back and take some classes you like. Meredith: Right, yeah. All right. Well, this has been awesome. Let's end on this note, where do you see yourself as a coach in 10 years? Coach Garren: I hope winning a lot. Coastal is a cool place. We have the opportunity to be really good here. There's some things we need in order to compete that my main job is getting those things. Like I said, we have the golf courses. We're starting to get the support of the community, but we've got a long way to go. And it's always trying to keep up with somebody. Are we ever going to have the money Georgia has? Absolutely not. So we have to do things differently and get things that the Georgias don't have. So it's just trying to get to that level. I mean, we're going to be sitting on the bubble for the NCAs again this year. That's cool, because you're on the bubble, you got a chance to get in, but I'd rather not be on the bubble. I'd rather be firmly in. So just getting to where, we're trying to compete for the big trophy every year, instead of just trying to get there. Meredith: Right. Of course, you got to win. You're here to win too. Yeah. All right. So this has been a lot of fun. Thanks for coming on the show and how can we as a community help? Well, we can play in Chanticleer Open in the fall, get out there. As these restrictions are lifted, and be spectators. Donate too, right? You can always donate. You can always just give, even if it's just $20 to the program. Nate: That's the best. Meredith: You can just go online, give to that program. How can people do that? Coach Garren: There's a direct link to our website, on CCUsports.com, click on the men's golf link. And when you go to men's golf, you'll see a little header up top right, says donate to the men's golf program. And it's cool because then you get on an email list and you start to get little things. And I had one of the nicest guys I've ever met in the world here, just, "Coach, I want to help, but I just don't have much money. I would give you 20 bucks but it's not going to do anything." I said, "20 bucks buys a dinner for a kid on the road." And when you think about it that way, he has positively impacted our team. And that means a lot. And look, this has been a tough year for everybody financially. We get that. We get people can't give like in enrollment year, but just come out and watch them. Our practices, wherever we are, are open to the public. You can't get too close to them right now because of COVID, but if we're out there at one of your golf courses and you see us, just come watch, come meet them. They love having people watch them. We played great this week because we had so many fans out there watching us. They liked that kind of stuff. Meredith: All right. Well, do you have a schedule too online? Coach Garren: The schedule's online, same website. Meredith: All right. So you ought to go, we got to get out there. Nate: Definitely. Meredith: We got to watch these kids play. Yeah, and I like the idea of even practices too, because you could probably learn a lot just, if you want to learn a lot about the golf swing, go watch these kids, because when I was watching them at Myrtlewood, they've got some beautiful swings too. All right. So donate money, buy one of these guys dinner, $20. I'm going to challenge our listeners- Nate: To do that. Meredith: To go on the website, make sure you click on the golf program. Make sure it's the men's golf and buy someone dinner. I like that. I'll go do it. Yeah. Nate: I'll do it too. Coach, thanks for coming on. Meredith: Yeah, we'll buy the kids a meal. That sounds good. All right. Well, thanks for coming on the show and as always, go [inaudible 00:35:05]. Coach Garren: Awesome. Thanks, guys. Nate: Thanks.
Coastal Carolina University Men’s Head Golf Coach Jim Garren joins Myrtle Beach Golf Trips Ambassador Meredith Kirk for episode #30 of the Gimme Golf Podcast. Insightful conversation with Coach Garren about the responsibilities coaching a Division I program, his team and his coaching background which includes a national championship. Find out if another “Dustin Johnson” is on the horizon!
Show Notes/Time Stamp
to :33 Introduction
:34 Recap of the 2021 General Hackler Collegiate Golf Championship
1:53 Coastal Carolina’s Golf Team Overview
6:12 Coach Garren’s background including a National Championship at the University of Oklahoma!
9:25 From Assistant Coach to Head Coach, the Transition and the Difference
11:11 How Much Teaching vs. Coaching For a Division I Golf Coach
12:24 Thoughts on the use of Technology/Trackman
13:34 Is Myrtle Beach what Coach Garren Expected? Pros and Cons of the Area in Regards of Coaching
15:18 Trying to change the paradigm of how people think about collegiate athletics
18:17 How can local businesses/community support the Coastal Carolina Golf program?
21:00 Coach Garren’s success at Coastal Carolina/ Current Direction of the Program / The Future
22:53 The next “Dustin Johnson”?
23:55 The difference between good and great. How the game has changed when it comes to age.
25:17 Having the correct mindset for success. Being built to compete and win
27:04 Media attention good or bad? How to manage it
30:01 Why Oklahoma golf program is successful
30:47 Academic success of players
31:57 10 years in the future for Coach Garren
Featured Golf Courses
articles you may like
Everyone saw Dustin Johnson slip on the green jacket, win the FedEx Cup, and rise to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking...Read more
Watching Colin Morikawa drive a short par 4 and make eagle to clinch the PGA Championship or seeing Bryson DeChambeau overwhe...Read more