There are over 1,300 varsity college golf programs throughout the United States. Within all those schools, there are 448 colleges at the NCAA Division III level. The NCAA DIII level is the largest within all of the NCAA. For those golfers who are looking to receive a quality education while maintaining a high level of competitive golf, an NCAA Division III school could be a great option.
Academic & merit-based scholarships
Where an NCAA Division III program cannot offer athletic or golf scholarships, they are able to offer academic or merit-based scholarships. In fact, 75% of Division III student-athletes receive some form of merit or need-based financial aid. The higher your GPA and test scores, the more academic scholarship money you will typically receive.
Not only will Division III programs offer scholarship money for what you do in the classroom, but involvement in extra-curricular or within your community can also result in scholarship dollars as well. Leadership roles, volunteering and being active with various clubs and activities could help boost a scholarship package at a DIII program.
A common misconception about the NCAA Division III is that the level of competition is not as high as NCAA Division I or II. According to Golfstat, the scoring average of the top 25 teams in Division III varies from 72.2-76.5 – comparable to the top 25 teams in Division II varying from 71.12-73.83.
Any golfer at the NCAA DIII level is still able to compete for a national championship and represent their school at the highest level.
Specialized majors and programs
If you are a student that is looking to specialize in an uncommon or very narrowed field of study, DIII schools could be a great option for you. Unlike Division I or II programs where coaches will typically shy their golfers away from looking at specialized majors which ultimately take time away from practice and the team, DIII coaches encourage students to focus on their specialized path and intended major.
Similar to college golfers involved with collegiate club golf, DIII programs can offer an aspiring golfer the opportunity to get competitive play under their belt and potentially transfer to a higher division level. Playing on a DIII team or program for a year or two can give you an opportunity to showcase your game at the college level and accrue college credit.
Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea about what NCAA DIII golf programs are all about. Have further questions on NCAA Division III golf? Feel free to email NHSGA Manager Chris Noble Chris@highschoolgolf.org