The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and it oversees the sporting activities of more than 1,200 North American educational institutions, organizing the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
As of 2020, nearly half a million college athletes make up the 20,000 teams that send over 55,000 participants to compete each year in the NCAA’s ninety championships in twenty-four sports across three divisions.
Intercollegiate sports can be traced back to 1852 when crews from Harvard and Yale first engaged in a rowing race challenge. Forty-five years later, the Intercollegiate Golf Association (later named the National Intercollegiate Golf Association) began organizing an annual golf tournament and awarding titles from 1897 through to 1938.
Nearly two thirds of these competitions were held in New York (at the likes of Apawamis, Garden City and Nassau), Pennsylvania (Merion and Oakmont) or at Greenwich Country Club in Connecticut. Yale dominated these events with twenty wins, followed by Princeton with ten.
In 1939, the NCAA assumed governance and began organizing championship titles so Division I for the sport has been running since then, with Division II following in 1963 and Division III in 1975.
Thirty 5-man teams compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship to determine the national champions, five teams from each of six regional tournaments. An individual “wildcard” is also given to the student with the lowest score at each qualifying event who is not on one of the successful teams, allowing these players to take part in the individual national competition.
After 54 holes of stroke play, the field of thirty teams is reduced to fifteen. The nine best scoring players who are not in a Top 15 team then join the other 75 players in a further 18-hole round to determine the individual champion. The top eight teams progress to a seeded match play bracket over two days, playing quarter-finals and semi-finals on day 1 and the final on day 2.
The Houston Cougars team – which has included players like Fuzzy Zoeller, Fred Couples and Bill Rogers – from the University of Houston has won sixteen titles (1956-1985) while the Oklahoma State Cowboys team – featuring golfers like Bob Tway, Rickie Fowler and Scott Verplank – from Oklahoma State University has captured ten titles (1963-2018).
The Individual Champion Honours Board is also rather impressive: Jack Nicklaus (for Ohio State at Purdue University in 1961); Hale Irwin (for Colorado at Shawnee Inn in 1967); Ben Crenshaw (for Texas in 1972, 1973 and 1974); Phil Mickelson (for Arizona State three times between1989 and 1992); and Tiger Woods (for Stanford at The Honors Course in 1996).
In more recent times, top scorers at the annual tournament include Thomas Pieters (Illinois) at Riviera in California in 2012, Bryson DeChambeau (Southern Methodist University) at The Concession in Florida in 2015 and Matthew Wolff (Oklahoma State) at Blessings in Arkansas in 2019.
Over fifty different courses have held the competition since 1939, with Ohio State University staging the event ten times between 1941 and 2002. Broadmoor in Colorado has hosted on five occasions (1953-1969) and the University of New Mexico four times (1950-1998). Ten national championship venues are not featured below, as they either no longer exist, in the case of Cape Coral and Grenelefe's West course in Florida, or are not included in any of our state listings.
NCAA Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy