Gaining a College Golf Scholarship in the USA is a very popular option for student athletes because of the huge opportunities available. A Collegiate Golf scholarship offers a world class degree and it enables athletes to train, compete and develop within the most successful pathway for amateur golfers anywhere in the world.
Some of the Worlds best golfers including Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, to name a few, have all achieved a college golf scholarship before going on to be World-class professionals.
Golf scholarship opportunities vary considerably depending on each players athletic and academic ability. Student athletes that have a better handicap, ranking or results (nationally and internationally) and have maintained higher academic grades have a better chance of achieving a larger golf scholarship offer from college coaches.
Just like the other sports we help with, golf scholarships to the USA are offered by colleges that compete within the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Below we have outlined what each division offers, what level of play is expected to have a good chance of achieving a scholarship, top teams in each division and a typical college golfers schedule.
For those of you who are thnking seriously about finding a golf scholarship, we would also strongly suggest that you read our article on the pros and cons of college golf in the USA.
In the NCAA Division one mens college golf programs, there are 4.5 full golf scholarships per team to spread out amongst its team of 8+, with amounts typically ranging from a full 100% to 25% in financial aid. There are 294 college programs within this division and players typically need to have a handicap of 3.0 or better in order to qualify for a scholarship.
Within the NCAA Division two there are 200 mens golfing programs, each being able to offer 3.6 full golf scholarships per squad. Like Division one the standards vary from conference to conference but students typically need to have a handicap of 5.0 or better to qualify for a scholarship.
In the NCAA Division three there are a further 277 college golf programs in the USA, but unfortunately these do not offer golf scholarships.
The NAIA has 175 mens golf programs, each being able to offer 5 full golf scholarships per team and the standard is usually a little lower than the NCAA, with students needing a handicap of 10.0 or better.
The NJCAA which is typically for students that have not met the NCAA initial eligibility criteria and have barely graduated high school, acts as a two year stepping stone towards a four-year university. They offer 241 college golf programs across the country, being able to offer 8 full golf scholarships per squad. These scholarships however are limited for international students from August 2012, with only 25% of the team being allowed to be from outside of the USA. The students that play in the NJCAA vary considerably in standard, with the best college players having an average handicap of 0.0. However in the weaker conferences college players may play as high as a 13.0 handicap.
The typical competition schedule for a NCAA division one golf team will start in September/October and end in June at the NCAA Championship. On average players will compete in two regional, state or local college competitions per month. In the months of November - January there is very little competition golf.
Each college belongs to a golf club with its own practice facilities that student athletes will utilize to practice and play during competition dates. However the better division one colleges also have their own short game practice areas and driving ranges and some also have indoor training facilities so students can practice no matter what the weather is like.
A few of the top college NCAA Division 1 teams in the US are - Okalahoma State, Augusta State, Stanford, Georgia and Texas.
Top teams in NCAA Division 2 are - Florida Southern, South Carolina Aiken, Chico State and West Florida.
Top teams in NAIA are - Oklahoma City, South Carolina, Texas Wesleyan, Johns & Wales and Malone.
Top teams in the NJCAA are - Indian Hills Community college, Odessa College, Scottsdale Community College and McLennan Community College.
For the womens NCAA Division one golf program there are 6 full athletic golf scholarships available to spread amongst the entire team. There are 238 womens division one golf programs across the country and students handicaps are 6.0 or better.
In the NCAA Division two 135 colleges offer womens golf programs, with each college able to offer 5.4 full golf scholarship per squad with an average handicap of 12.0 or better.
Unfortunately the NCAA Division three do not offer athletic scholarships, but still could be a good choice for students that are not eligible for the higher divisions and want to continue with their academic career.
The NAIA is another fantastic option for good female golfers as the standard is high, the academics are strong and the eligibility requirements are not as strict as the NCAA. There are 123 colleges that offer womens golf scholarships to the USA within the NAIA, with each team being able to offer 5 full golf scholarships, with the average handicap of 3.0 to 20.0.
For students that do not meet either the NCAA or NAIA eligibility criteria but wish to have the chance to qualify into one at a later stage whilst continuing to develop both athletically and academically, the NJCAA is a great option for two years. There are 113 womens NJCAA college golf programs across America, each being able to offer 8 full golf scholarships per squad, with only 25% of the team however being allowed from countries outside of the USA. The students that play in the NJCAA vary considerably in standard, with the best college players having an average handicap of 0.0. However in the weaker conferences college players may play as high as a 22.0 handicap.
The typical competition schedule for a NCAA Division one womens golf team will start in September and ending in June at the NCAA Championship. On average players will compete in one or two regional or state college tournaments per month. In the months of December - January there is very little competition golf.
A few of the top college NCAA Division 1 teams in the US are - Duke, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Purdue and Southern California.
Top teams in NCAA Division 2 are - Nova Southeastern, Rollins, Florida Southern and Ferris State.
Top teams in NAIA are - British Columbia, Oklahoma City, William Woods, and Lubbock Christian.
Top teams in the NJCAA are - Daytona State College, Redlands Community College and Midland College.
As well as the athletic scholarships that are available at colleges/universities if the student-athlete has good academic grades it may also be possible to receive an academic scholarship as well to help with the families financial commitment. Please contact one of our Play Atlantic recruitment coordinators if you would like further support on this area or anything from the above.