We know that most golfers dream of playing at the Division 1 level. But, if you are looking for a golf scholarship in the United States, the reality is that you may be better off looking at the Division 2 level. The rules for Division 2 golf scholarships are not as strict as at the D1 level – both academically and athletically. Some young golfers may not have a chance of getting a scholarship at a big-name Division 1 school, but find many doors (and scholarships) open to them at the Division 2 level.
NCAA Division 2 golf universities tend to have a more balanced focus on academics and athletics. If you love golf and competing, but don’t necessarily want to go pro, then Division 2 might be the better choice for you. Even for those who want to go pro, the more balanced environment of Division 2 golf schools can often help players reach their full potential faster than at an ultra-competitive Division 1 school.
Remember, even if you are playing golf at a Division 1 school, there is no guarantee that you will make the 5-person travelling team. If you aren’t competing in the travelling squad, then you aren’t going to have the opportunity to compete and improve. It would be better to have opportunities to compete at the Division 2 level than be at the Division 1 level and not compete at all.
Top Division 2 Golf Universities with Scholarships
There are currently 248 schools which offer Division 2 golf (231 men’s teams and 181 women’s teams). There are 3.6 scholarships offered per men’s team (for an average scholarship of $5,770) and 5.4 scholarships offered per women’s team (for an average scholarship of $7,024).
These schools may not have the elitism associated with Division 1, but they still produce great players, have impressive facilities, great coaches, and room for athletic and academic growth.
Here are some of the best Division 2 Golf Universities in the United States which offer scholarships.
The Florida Southern Moccasins, or “Mocs”, have an impressive D2 golf team. Since their first National Championship win in 1981, they have won a total of 12 championships – more than any other D2 school in history. The women’s team can boast 4 wins, including a streak from 2000-2002. Located in sunny Lakeland, Florida, the university has an enrolment of about 2,000 students.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is also located in Florida, in Fort Lauderdale. NSU is currently the Men’s National Championship winner and also can boast a 2012 win. The women’s team had an impressive winning streak from 2009 to 2012. NSU also can boast great facilities. Students will play at the Grande Oaks Golf Course, which is par 71 and 6,680 yards. With over 1000 international students on campus, this is a good choice of school for athletes from abroad who want to study in the US.
Golf is one of Florida’s favourite sports, so it is no surprise that the top-3 D2 schools are all located in The Sunshine State. Barry University is located in Miami Shores and is one of the largest Catholic schools in the region. As an academic institution, it can boast that it was named one of America’s Top Colleges three times in a row. As for golf, the men’s team has taken home 3 National Championships (2007, 2013, and 2014) and the women’s team was runner up 2 times.
University of South Carolina Aiken
University of South Carolina Aiken is one of the most successful D2 golf schools in the United States. The men’s team won National Championships from 2004-2006. The USC Aiken “Pacers” practice at the Palmetto Golf Club, which is par 70 and 6,711 yards. Note that there is no women’s golf team at USC Aiken.
Lynn University is a non-profit university located in Boca Raton, Florida, which is near Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. They have an enrolment of about 2,500 students from 90 countries, which makes for a very diverse student life. As for their golf facilities, Lynn leads women’s golf with National Championship wins in 2013 and 2014. Their men’s team hasn’t won any National Championships but were runner ups in 2011, 2013, and 2015. The head women’s coach is Danny Randolph, and the head men’s coach is Andrew Danna.
Rollins College, located in Winter Park, Florida, has an impressive history when it comes to golf. They entered their first inter-college tournament in 1931 and have consistently ranked in state and national championships. The women’s team can boast National Championships wins from 2003 to 2007, and were runner up 6 times. The men took home Championships in 1970 and 2002. As for academics, Rollins is a strong liberal arts college with a average class size of just 17 and more than 60 programs of study.
Columbus State University
Columbus State University, located in Ohio, offers both men and women’s Division 2 golf. Their men’s team is particularly strong with 6 NCAA National Championship wins. The downside of CSU compared to the other D2 golf schools on this list, is that Ohio does have colder winters which means you can’t play golf year round. However, CSU has a larger campus and is located in a major metropolis, which means for a richer academic and cultural environment.
California State University Monterey Bay
Cal State Monterey Bay is located in the Central Coast area of California, which means sunny, warm weather ideal for playing golf year round, and also great for beach lovers. Note that there are 23 schools in the CSU network and the Monterey Bay has the lowest fees and admissions of them all. As for golf, they don’t have as impressive winning record as the other schools on this list but offer a richer academic life. The CSU Monterey Bay “Otters” play on the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses.