Playing college golf is a goal for any young junior girl golfer, and opportunities are plentiful! There are currently 961 women’s varsity golf teams throughout the U.S. and of those, 267 are NCAA Division I, 194 NCAA DII, 228 NCAA DIII, 164 NAIA & 66 NJCAA. Let’s take a look at some of the top programs in each division level.
NCAA Division I: University of Texas, University of Southern California, and Duke University are currently ranked as the best collegiate women’s NCAA Division 1 golf programs in the entire country. Other top programs rounding out the top 10 include the University of Arizona, Stanford University and University of Florida. Do keep in mind these are the strongest golf programs in the entire country, so knowing how to contact coaches is crucial.
NCAA Division II: Warm climate schools are readily present near the top of the rankings for NCAA DII. Barry University, Dallas Baptist University, Nova Southeastern, Cal State San Marcos and Florida Tech round out the top five ranked programs. Smaller class sizes and better opportunities to compete on the team right away make the Division II level attractive to many. A student-athlete is still able to receive an academic and athletic scholarship at the DII level.
NCAA Division III: NCAA DIII programs are very academic-focused schools with higher admission standards than many Division I or II programs. Top-ranked teams at the DIII level include Williams College, New York University, Claremont Mudd Scripps, Methodist University and Carleton College. NCAA DIII programs cannot offer an athletic or golf scholarship, but they are still able to offer academic or merit-based scholarships. All of these programs do a fantastic job recruiting great student-athletes, and attending will give you a first-class education and a chance at a championship every year.
NAIA: The NAIA stands for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Programs at the NAIA level are typically on the smaller side (less than 5,000 students) and are of religious background. Top programs at the NAIA level: British Columbia, Keiser University, SCAD-Savanah, Dalton State and the University of the Cumberlands. Competing at the NAIA level gives you the ability to receive both an athletic and academic scholarship while not sacrificing a lesser competitive competition level that you’d find in the NCAA.
NJCAA: The National Junior College Athletic Association are colleges which are two-year programs and can act as great stepping stones for those looking to transfer into a four-year school. Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona are plentiful with NJCAA colleges and have some of the top programs throughout the country.
NCCGA: The National Collegiate Club Golf Association has teams at over 350 schools nationwide with varying levels of skill. Club golfers shoot anywhere from 65-105, but there are a few teams that could easily play as a DII or even DI team if they chose to do so. Grand Canyon University and the University of Georgia have consistently been the best club golf teams over the past handful of years. They have each won at least one National Championship and have a handful of players that regularly shoot under par.
Keep in mind that there are over 1,300 varsity college golf programs throughout the country, not to mention the additional 400 NCCGA club golf programs as well. Be sure to do your homework on a school and program before reaching out to a college coach. Have additional questions on college golf? Contact NHSGA manager Chris Noble: firstname.lastname@example.org