Innovative Ethan Allen Prep First Golf-Oriented Prep School in Northeast
There is more to playing college sports than being a talented athlete. Whether a student is a 5-star prospect headed to a Division I scholarship or planning to join a Division II or Division III program, balancing academic commitments with athletic training, home and road games can be challenging. While athletic enrichment is certainly a priority at a sports-oriented prep school, teaching students to balance school work and athletics is a critical asset to this unique education. Located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Ethan Allen Preparatory was founded to advance the education and athletic strength of its students, the first golf-oriented college-prep middle and high school in the Northeast.
“I founded The Golf Performance Center in 2006 and over the years worked with many high school athletes who were on the path to playing college golf, but who struggled with balancing academics and golf training,” says Roger Knick, founder of Ethan Allen Prep. “I realized that there were few if any, options for them to be successful in the Northeast. I created Ethan Allen Prep after years of research and we opened our doors in 2017.”
The Golf Performance Center has successfully guided nearly 100 youth golfers as they prepare for competitions at the highest levels. Alumni have included multiple NCAA All-Americans, 80 current and former student-athletes playing intercollegiate golf and professionals who have won on the Korn Ferry Tour, MacKenzie Tour – PGA Tour Canada, and the European Tour.
The format is working. Since its opening EAP has sent graduates to Columbia, Holy Cross, and Bucknell, among other schools. Enrollment continues to grow each year. EAP offers boarding for grades 9-12. There is also a day program for high school and middle school students. The day’s structure mirrors the college experience, a combination of scholastics and focused athletic training. These student-athletes dedicate 20+ hours a week to training and on-course play in Connecticut and Florida.
The academic department utilizes K12 Private Academy, a proven virtual learning platform that offers over 200 classes in a flexible format. Students take six classes per semester in courses ranging from comprehensive to AP levels. Each day includes 4 hours of class time and 1-2 hours of study hall. Students take a course load that challenges them while having the right support on campus to be successful. Students and staff have the flexibility to adjust the day’s schedule based on course availability, weather, and academic requirements.
“The workload of an EAP student closely resembles that of a typical student,” says Director of Academics and Operations, Charlie Wampfler, M.A. After completing her graduate studies at Pepperdine University, Wampfler was director of a private educations services program before joining Ethan Allen Prep. She works daily with students, coaches, tutors, and parents to create individualized learning plans for each child.
“The online learning model is designed to be just that, online,” she says. “The platform is meant to be engaging and appropriate for multiple learning styles. Our student-athletes also have access to learning coaches for both tutoring and enrichment opportunities every day. We have individuals trained in executive functioning to help with areas like planning, organizing, and time management as well as content-specific learning coaches to provide growth in areas like math, science, and English.”
An EAP student’s typical schedule begins at 7 am with a workout at The Golf Performance Center (GPC), located just a quarter mile away. Students return for breakfast at 9 followed by academic study from mid-morning through mid-afternoon. They then return to the state-of-the-art GPC to work one-to-one with the coaches on their game, followed by playing in the area’s partnered courses. During the winter students typically spend one week a month in Florida, where they continue with their studies and focus intensively on their golf game.
This focus pays off.
“A student-athlete who commits 100% to the program can expect their scoring average to improve 4-5% per year,” says Roger Knick. “A recent EAP student-athlete, who went on to play at Bucknell in 2020, improved 6.5 strokes (8%) in his first year with us.”
With 2,200 college golf programs in the country, significantly improving one’s scoring average can make the difference in earning the privilege to choose the college of one’s choice to play. 100% of EAP graduates have gone on to college and most continue to play at the collegiate level. As an expert in youth golf instruction with more than 80 of his GPC alumni playing in college and professionally, Knick and his staff build an individual program for each student, including a tournament schedule that fits the athlete’s desire to compete at a competitive level. As part of this schedule, mental health coaches and physical therapists meet regularly with students to ensure they are developing their minds and bodies in a positive direction at all times.
“Our typical student-athlete certainly loves the game of golf, and he or she believes in our overall philosophy and instruction system,” Knick says. “Our students are interested in being successful, not just on the golf course, but also in the classroom and in life.”
The GPC also runs a summer program for aspiring college golfers who are dedicated to the work and commitment to improving their game. The summer program also provides an excellent window into what attending EAP during the school year would look like.
Though not every child is destined to become the next Justin Thomas, playing sports at a high level provides a tremendous curriculum in life skills including focus, humility, and sportsmanship. Ethan Allen Prep provides a nurturing, well-rounded environment for the passionate youth golfer who wants to take his or her game to a higher level, likely compete in college, and gain the tools to succeed academically and socially.
“The independent thinking here,” says one parent of a recent EAP graduate, “And the necessity to be self-driven was great for our son. The support that he got here he would have never gotten at the school he was attending.”
Ethan Allen Prep is hosting a virtual Open House Saturday, March 27th from 10am – 2pm EST. This opportunity to see what attending EAP would look like for your middle school or high school-aged golfer will include videos and other content as well as the opportunity to speak directly with Admissions Head, Tom Bopp. Visit the Ethan Allen Preparatory website to learn more.