College Golf Scholarships & Recruiting Information

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we explore the world of golf scholarships and the possibility of getting one. We also discuss some handy tips for the recruiting process.


Golf is one of those rare sports where amateurs can play on the exact same courses and with the same equipment as the professionals do. The difference of course, is where a professional might shoot a 69 on a good day, most amateurs could only dream of matching that score.

Of course, if you do shoot that low, and you are trying to decide how to pay for college, you may want to consider pursuing a golf scholarship. An athletic scholarship can help defray, or even eliminate, the cost of going to school, with the added benefit of representing your school in competition.

This lesson will detail the scholarship landscape in golf, while also providing some helpful tips for the recruiting process.


Collegiate golf is a non-revenue sport, meaning it does not draw enough fans, sponsorships, or other revenue to pay for itself. Nonetheless, it is a relatively easy sport for a school to support - most golfers prefer their own clubs to anything a school could or might supply, and golf teams tend to be small, with 10 players at most, keeping travel costs lower than with other team sports.

That said, the number of schools that support a golf team is still rather astonishing: over 1,300 schools across the country have a golf team. That gives the high school golfer a myriad choices and chances to play at the next level.

But not all of these schools offer scholarships. Even if they do, the number of golf scholarships a school can offer varies depending on the division in which they play. The breakdown, by division, is as follows:

  • NCAA Division I: 4.5 scholarships for men, 6 scholarships for women
  • NCAA Division II: 3.6 scholarships for men, 5.4 scholarships for women
  • NCAA Division III: 0 scholarships offered
  • NAIA: 5 scholarships for men, 5 scholarships for women
  • NJCAA: 8 scholarships for men, 8 scholarships for women

You might be wondering how there can be fractional scholarships, but that is because golf is an equivalency sport, according to the NCAA. That means coaches can divide scholarships, allowing them to offer partial scholarships in any way they like.

For example, a men's coach at a NCAA Division I school with a team of 9 does not have to offer each player a half scholarship. He could give three full scholarships, three half scholarships, and have three players without scholarships, or any other combination he likes, so long as it comes in under the scholarship cap.

From the look at the list you might think your best route to go is through the NJCAA, but there is a catch: the NJCAA stands for National Junior College Athletic Association, and most junior colleges are only two-year programs. They often provide a stepping stone for students who had difficulty in high school to prepare for a more fulsome education at a larger, four-year institution.

So be careful where you apply, and be sure you know in which division your school of choice competes.

Recruiting Tips

Contact the Coach

Golfing coaches might have a few more resources than some lower profile collegiate sports, but as a non-revenue sport their ability to travel is still rather limited. Additionally, with over 140,000 men and more than 75,000 women competing in golf at the high school level, even just going out and shooting low scores will probably not be enough to catch the attention of collegiate coaches. This places some of the onus for recruitment on the prospective student-athlete.

So, if you want to play golf at the next level, and you have identified where you think a scholarship is possible for you, find a way to contact the coach. It may be as easy as cold-calling the school's athletic department and getting their number.

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