Athletes from all over the world who are preparing themselves for a professional career in golf have benefited from scholarships within the American College system. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth are just three names who have taken this route in order to be ready for their careers on the PGA Tour. In total, approximately 60% of all PGA Tour players played college golf and it looks like that number will rise even higher in the next few years.
Am I eligible?
Having a high enough GPA or SAT/ACT score is the most overlooked concept by student athletes looking to obtain a golf scholarship. You could for instance average 68, but if you do not have the right grades, you simply will not be admitted into the university of your choice. If you do not have high enough grades to compete within the NCAA you will be what is called a “non qualifier” and you will either need to improve your grades or attend a NJCAA college for two years to obtain your associates degree. Once you have done this, you can then transfer to an NCAA school with more experience and ready to complete your bachelor’s degree. The College Sports America team has had a lot of experience with this, and will guide you on where you need to improve and what you need to do in order to be able to play golf in America.
The impact of international players has grown steadily over the last few years. Of all current men’s and women’s NCAA Division 1 golfers, almost 25% come from outside of the US. It is also important to remember that there is more than one path to career success.
You are not confined to only one division in order to to pursue a professional career after college. Several PGA Tour players chose routes other than Division 1 to prepare themselves and enjoyed great success in their careers.
NCAA Division 2, NAIA and NJCAA have all produced some top level professionals, such as two time Masters champion Bubba Watson (played Junior College at Faulkner State before transferring to the University of Georgia), former US Open champion Lee Janzen (played Division 2 at Florida Southern) and PGA Tour winners Rocco Mediate, Joe Durant and Cameron Beckman. This really shows how high the level of play is in all divisions and why players should always keep in mind that there are more great teams, coaches and locations available than just the roughly 300 division 1 programs.
How does the season look like?
The golf season in America, will usually consist of 4-6 tournaments within the Fall semester, and the teams will typically use this time of the year to prepare their teams for the important tournaments later in the school year. In the Spring is when the major tournaments take place and each college team will be looking to qualify for their respective National Championship in May or June. Each team will have to qualify through conference and regional tournaments to make the National Championship. This time of the year becomes exciting, yet very busy with the teams traveling all over America.
When should I apply?
As is the case with most college sports in the US, you can never start the application process too early. Some coaches recruit far more than one year in advance, so if you know you want to play college golf, make sure you take your tests way ahead of time and do not leave the necessary paperwork to the last minute and risk jeopardising this great opportunity. Of course, we at College Sports America are here to help you every step of the way, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about college golf or the process in general.
Here are some more important facts about college golf and golf scholarships:
- Number of Div 1 Golf Teams: Men 301, Women 263
- Number of Div 2 Golf Teams: Men 237, Women 191
- Total Number of Golf Teams (all divisions): Men 1245, Women 883
- Total Number of College Golf Players: Men c.12000, Women c.7000
- Scholarship Limit per Team: D1 Men: 4.5 , D2 Men: 3.6 , D1 Women: 6 , D2 Women: 5.4 , NAIA M&W: 5 , NJCAA M&W: 8
- Former College Golfers: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey