Aug. 2, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - As part of its second annual College Golf Guide, Golf Digest ranked the NCAA's best colleges for golf in its September issue, due to hit newsstands August 8. The Santa Clara University men's and women's golf teams each found themselves in the Top 40 of their respective polls. The magazine's rankings and College Golf Guide package provides a blueprint for high school students with dreams of playing golf in college and professionally, as well as students focused on education who still desire to play competitive golf.
Coming off of a third-place finish in the West Coast Conference and its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Regionals, the SCU men's team, under head coach Rob Miller, earned a No. 34 ranking, third-best among WCC teams.
The SCU women, guided by head coach Polly Schulze, also finished third in the WCC last season. In Golf Digest's polls they found themselves ranked No. 40 in the nation, and second among all WCC schools.
"Our purpose with the College Golf Guide is to promote the idea of playing golf during the college years," said Jerry Tarde, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest. "Technology today has given students the ability to have complete control over the college search process, and for the 225,000 boys and girls playing high school golf, our guide offers a crash course in getting started."
Five criteria form the basis of the rankings: a college golf team's adjusted scoring average, player growth while on the team, academics, climate and coaches/facilities.
This year's academics numbers come courtesy of U.S. News & World Report's respected "America's Best Colleges" guidebook. The climate numbers were provided by Longitudes Group and measure each school's 30-year average of playable days from September 1 to May 31.
The player-growth category is a refinement to Golf Digest's rankings this year and is based on two measurements: the number of players on the roster during the last four seasons who lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-over-year basis, as well as the team's combined improvement or decline.
UCLA took the top spot in the men's "Golf First" ranking, being the only school to rank in the top-10 percent in three of the five categories-scoring, climate and coaches/facilities. Rounding out the top 10 are: No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 4 Rollins, No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Wake Forest, No. 7 Southern Cal, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Duke and No. 10 North Carolina.
In the women's "Golf First" ranking, Duke, the two-time defending NCAA champ, is No. 1, followed by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Rollins, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Southern Cal, No. 8 Cal-Berkeley, No. 9 Wake Forest and No. 10 Pepperdine.
In the "Academics First" ranking, Princeton is No. 1 for both men and women, providing the best education with an opportunity to play competitive golf. On the men's side, Division III Trinity University is the No. 2 team in "Academics First" and Yale is No. 2 among women.
In Division II, Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) earned the No. 1 "Golf First" ranking for men and women. In Division III, University of Redlands (Calif.) is the No. 1 men's team, and Methodist College (Fayetteville, N.C.) is No. 1 for women.
In establishing the rankings, Golf Digest rated 772 NCAA men's programs and 500 women's programs in the five categories mentioned above, grading each category on a 100-point scale to determine overall scores:
* Team adjusted scoring average: (Golf First: 40%; Academics First: 15%). Spans last four seasons and applies the formula used by NCAA committees to select postseason teams. (Source: golfstat.com).
* Player growth: (Golf First: 19.5%; Academics First: 7%). A new judging category, player growth determines whether players on a program's roster during the last four years lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-to-year basis and the team's combined improvement or decline. (Source: golfstat.com).
* Academics: (Golf First: 14%; Academics First: 58%). Overall score from U.S. News & World Report's 2006 guidebook America's Best Colleges. (Source: usnews.com).
* Climate: (Golf First: 12%; Academics First: 10%). A 30-year average of number of playable days between September 1-May 31. Allows for play in poor weather but not in extreme, dangerous or snow-covered conditions. (Source: Longitudes Group).
* Coaches/facilities: (Golf First: 14.5%; Academics First: 10%). Measures coaches' experience and past performance; quality of campus-affiliated or available courses and practice facilities. (Source: Information provided by colleges and Ping American College Golf Guide.)