At just 13 years of age, Joe Pagdin is believed to be the youngest in Gators history to be recruited to the University of Florida golf team.
Joe Pagdin is only in the 8th grade, yet Joe has already made a verbal commitment to play golf for the University of Florida. The early recruitment was instantly met with controversy over whether or not he is too young to make such a big decision so early. According to Joe, the timing couldn’t be better. Here are some of the remarks Joe had to make about his early decision to attend UF in 2020:
Alicia Moon: You have plenty of time to scout schools and make a decision about where you want to play golf. A lot can change in 5yrs. Why decide now?
Joe Pagdin: I’ve visited many other schools, but I was most impressed by JC, the head coach, and the assistant coach John. I like the campus and the coaches, so I figured I might as well get that out of the way so that I can just focus on starting my amateur career, and try to get into the US Jr Am and hopefully the US Amateur later on.
AM: Why did you choose UF over other schools with great golf reputations?
JP: Well, for one it’s close to home, and only an hour and 45minutes from my coach. Another reason is that I love the campus too. It’s a big SEC school, so I like the atmosphere. But the two most important reasons are probably; first, that every time I play the course I feel confident. It’s one of those short old courses. One of those Donald Ross types where it’s tight but short, and I like those old Florida courses. And Second is because of JC and John. Their enthusiasm and positivity are probably my favorite part of deciding to go to UF.
AM: Are there any other schools you think you may have considered instead if you hadn’t settled on UF so early?
JP: I was also looking at Auburn and Vanderbilt, and schools like that. Mostly other good SEC schools with good courses and coaches. But I just really felt that UF was the right thing at the right time for me.
AM: You work as hard on your craft as any other Jr. golfer I’ve met, if not harder. Do you ever worry about burning out or losing interest?
JP: I try to give myself breaks. What I do is, since I have Mondays off, I usually go to the gym on that day and just relax. Or usually when I travel to a big tournament, then I have two days off. Or if it’s local, then one. But I try to balance out my practice and playing. I mean, I want to play golf my whole life. I want to try to get on the PGA tour. So I’m trying my best not to burn myself out.
Joe Pagdin is no ordinary Jr golfer. Joe has maintained his status as one of the top 5 Jr golfers in the U.S. for the past three years, holding the number one ranking for much of the 2014-15 season. Joe currently trains out of Lake Nona CC in Orlando, FL alongside Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, and Ian Poulter, who all treat him as an equal despite his age. Joe is as ambitious and focussed as any professional golfer out there. Thus, it is hardly a surprise to those who know Joe that he is already being scouted for college golf.
According to Joe, golf is a life long ambition with clearly defined benchmark goals along the way. Of those goals, winning a national title in college golf is one of the most important to Joe. Therefore, it was of additional importance to Joe to also express his confidence in Coach Deacon’s ability to recruit other top talent to the Gators team to help achieve that title. If Joe continues to train and play the way he has been, Joe may very well be the golden ticket that Coach Deacon needs to recruit that top talent to UF in the next 5 years; Joe being the first and biggest incentive for other top Jr golfers to want to take a second look at UF in the coming years as well.
Congratulations to Joe Pagdin on making a mature decision at 13yrs old that he believes in with conviction! Go Gators!