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Can Golf Pay for College?

Teeing It Up for a Scholarship

When you think of athletic scholarships, the first sports that come to mind are football and basketball. But intercollegiate athletics boast 25 different sports that offer scholarships and golf is on that list.

Golf can help pay your son or daughter’s college bills, but the odds are long and it takes an extremely talented player to earn a scholarship. To give an idea of the talent level, players at top NCAA Division I programs have a scratch handicap (shoot 72) or better.

For starters, here is some general information on athletic scholarships.

  • Athletic scholarships are funded by NCAA Division I and Division II institutions as well as NAIA schools.

  • NCAA Division III colleges (and Ivy League schools) do not offer athletic scholarships.

  • There are two types of athletic scholarships – full and partial. Only 2% of student-athletes receive fully paid rides, while the other 98 percent earn partial scholarships.

  • Full scholarships pay for tuition, room and board, text books, and school materials. Partial scholarships cover a portion of tuition.

  • The College Athletic Association (CAA) sets the limit on how many scholarships each men’s and women’s sport can offer. For example, Division I women’s soccer has a limit of 14 scholarships per roster and the limit for men’s soccer is 9.9.

  • Each institution determines how many scholarships it will actually offer for each sport. For example, the scholarship limit for NCAA Division I baseball is 11.7, but a school can opt to fund only 6.8 scholarships for its baseball program. Most institutions do not fund the full limit for each sport.

Note: Most women’s programs receive higher scholarship limits than men’s. This is due to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Because football has no “sister” sport, athletic programs need to make up for large gap in scholarships (65-85) offered to football players.

Golf Scholarship Limits

Football and basketball are revenue generating sports and classified as “head count sports.” This means every scholarship player on the roster receives a full one. The majority of college sports are “equivalency sports,” meaning they are partially funded.

Golf is an equivalency sport and most student-athletes on golf rosters earn partial scholarships. The NCAA Division I scholarship limit for women’s golf is six, 4.5 for men’s. For NCAA Division II programs, women’s golf can receive 5.4 scholarships, while the men’s programs cap at 3.6. Both men’s and women’s golf programs at NAIA institutions have a limit of five scholarships.

Golf rosters are relatively small, averaging 10 players per team. The positive component to that is most rostered players are receiving some amount of scholarship money. The downside is that roster spots are limited and it’s difficult to make a team.

Also, keep in mind that the scholarship numbers listed above are limits set by the CAA. The individual institution determines how many scholarships it will fund. For example, the NCAA Division I limit for women’s golf is six. One college might decide to fund four full scholarships, while another may fund just 3.2.

NCAA Division I and II Golf Programs in New Jersey

Northeastern weather can be blustery in the late fall and early spring, limiting the number of New Jersey colleges that offer golf programs. However, there are seven NCAA Division I men’s programs and one Division II, along with five Division I women’s programs that compete in the Garden State.

Division I Men’s Golf

Fairleigh Dickinson Teaneck
Monmouth University
*Princeton University
Rider University
Rutgers University
Saint Peter’s University
Seton Hall University

Division II – Men’s Golf

Felician College

Division I Women’s Golf

Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaneck
Monmouth University
*Princeton University
Rutgers University
Seton Hall University

Another type of scholarship through golf is a caddie scholarship. The NJSGA has been providing financial assistance to club caddies for over 70 years. Caddie scholars are selected based on their academic performance, financial need, and quality of service as a caddie. Here’s how to apply.

*Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships

NJM, a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region, is proud to partner with the golf community. Contact your agent or broker, visit njm.com/njsga, or call 833-859-1920.