What do 60% of current PGA tour golfers all have in common? Apart from the game obviously, they have all graduated from four years of college golf and a further 18% have played for colleges for less than the full four.
Being in a college golf team come with many advantages. Top-class training facilities, state of the art gyms and trainers, and, of course, highly qualified coaches. Add to this sponsored equipment, free travel and accommodation and the life of a college golfer looks pretty sweet. However, if all this has whetted your appetite to join these hallowed ranks be aware that only the cream of the crop will qualify, and they have had to pass some rigorous criteria before they have even swung a club.
The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is the legislative and general administration authority for male and female intercollegiate athletics. They maintain all records, stats and performances for all team members and are the governing body for all college tournaments.
There are 292 Division 1 NCAA golf colleges in the States so there are plenty of choices for location, but it is probably worth checking their standings when making applications.
There are scholarships available, but this topic will be covered in another post, for now, we can concentrate on the process, of course, if you are a child prodigy playing off scratch at 14 yrs. old, you will be fighting your suitors of with a putter.
College golf teams comprise ten players, but only five of these will be chosen to compete for each individual tournament which are played over 54 or 36 holes. Played over two days only the top four will go through to play the second day.
The season is quite lengthy with weekly tournaments starting in September running through November, there is a break until February, play continues until April after which the best teams compete in the NCAA finals in May.
Clearly, this process is designed to nurture players through the regular competition so only the best can aspire to a future in pro golf.
In 2021 the PGA announced the opening of its PGA Tour University.
Recruiting from leading players from NCAA Div 1, who have completed four years of college golf, this is the pathway for the absolute best to start their pro tour career.
The top fifteen graduates will all have access to compete in various international tournaments with the top five receiving Korn Ferry Tour membership.
So, if it is a career as a top flite golf pro that you see in your future then a golf college could be your route to success but be reminded of the guy in New York who asked, “how do I get to Carnegie Hall”, the answer was “Practice, practice, practice”!