Click here!

Are There Golf Opportunities in the NAIA?

Over 165 NAIA institutions offer college golf programs.

We are all familiar with Division I universities, and most are aware of the opportunities that exist in DII and DIII athletics. Additionally, and not to be overlooked, is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NAIA offers opportunities for junior golfers to play college golf and further their experience as college student-athletes.

The NAIA is a separate governing body from the NCAA (DI, DII, and DIII) and is comprised of smaller athletic programs committed to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. The NAIA was established in 1937, and its mission, with respect to athletics, is to utilize sports to build character. To this end, the NAIA created the Champions of Character philosophy, which consists of the following core values: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, and Servant Leadership. The NAIA currently has approximately 176 men’s programs and 166 women’s programs that offer collegiate golf. These are all four-year schools that host their championship season each spring. NAIA schools are typically smaller in enrollment size, with the vast majority between 500 to 3,500 students. The level of competition will certainly range from the most competitive programs to the least competitive, which provides a myriad of potential opportunities.

Many of the Going To College articles on Junior Golf Scoreboard articulate a consistent theme, emphasizing the importance of keeping an open mind in the college process and understanding all of the college options available. From my experience as a college player and coach, the most fun aspect of college golf is the opportunity to play on the five-person travel squad. The truest means to improve is to participate in competition. To this end, the NAIA, for some, may offer a potential “best fit” to pursue their golf and academic ambitions and is worth further exploration.

There are a few additional points of note regarding NAIA colleges. First, NAIA colleges are allowed to award athletic scholarships, specifically up to five athletic scholarships for both men’s and women’s programs, respectively. Also, NAIA coaches are allowed to host tryouts for prospective student-athletes as long as they take place on the institution’s campus or home facility. In addition, NAIA recruiting rules do not restrict when or how often a coach communicates with a prospective student-athlete via phone, email, text, or in person, and there are no recruiting calendars, dead periods, or contact restrictions. Finally, the NAIA also has its own Eligibility Center that certifies all prospective NAIA student-athletes prior to competing at each NAIA college/university.

Certainly, many of you aim to play at the highest level of college golf available based on your golf and academic abilities. Most important is identifying what best fits your academics, golf ability, and development as a person. Understanding all of the possibilities will allow you to best navigate your college process. I encourage you to explore all opportunities college golf has to offer.

Happy Holidays and keep swinging!

Ted Gleason
Road to College Golf


Parents and Junior Golfers New to Going to College? Start Here!

Are You Prepared to Pursue College Golf?

Coaches Finding & Evaluating Players

    What Should I Say When Calling a Coach to Decline a College Offer?
    How Do Coaches View Junior Golf Recruits Who Play Other Sports?
    When is the Best Time to Communicate with Coaches?
    When Should Junior Golf Prospects Expect to Receive Offers from College Coaches?
    Should I Communicate a Poor Performance to a College Coach?
    Are You Waiting for Tournament Success Before Contacting College Golf Coaches?
    Who Should Speak When Meeting with Coaches – Parents or the Student-Athlete?
    Do College Coaches Use Swing Videos To Evaluate Recruits?
    Do Coaches Really Care About Academics?
    Do You Have the Game to Play College Golf?
    How Do College Coaches Work Junior Tournaments?
    How Do College Golf Coaches Discover Talent?

Finding the Right School - Your "Best Fit"

    Are There Golf Opportunities in the NAIA?
    What Can You Learn from College Golf’s Post-Season Championships?
    How Do College Golf Scores Compare to Junior Golf Scores?
    How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?
    How Do I Remain Proactive in Identifying My “Best Fit”?
    Is a Walk-On Opportunity the “Best Fit” for Me?
    What Are the Real Keys to a Successful College Golf Recruiting Experience?
    What Useful Information Can I Research on a Golf Team's Website?
    When Should Junior Golfers Begin Visiting and Researching Colleges?
    What’s the Story on Division II and Division III Golf Programs?
    Are Unofficial Visits to College Campuses Necessary?
    Should Junior Golfers Attend Collegiate Tournaments?
    Just How Big is College Golf?
    What questions should I ask a college coach during a campus visit?
    Where Should I Attend College to Study and Play Golf?

Playing in College

    How Do College Coaches Determine Who Makes the Traveling Squad: Qualifying Rounds, Coach’s Selection, or a Combination of Both?
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part Two
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One
    Are College Golfers Expected to Take Part in a Conditioning Program?
    What’s the Story on Club Golf?
    What Is Your Ideal Time Commitment for Playing Golf in College?
    What Can You Expect From a College Golf Tournament?
    Are You Practicing to Play the Odds?
    Am I good enough to play Division I golf?
    What does it mean to Redshirt?
    How Do I Prepare for my Freshman Year in College?
    How Important Is Time Management for Student-Athletes at the Collegiate Level?
    What Is a Typical Week Like in the Life of a College Golfer?
    Is College Golf an Individual Sport?
    What are the main differences between junior golf and college golf?
    What Commitment Level is Necessary for Junior Golfers to Become Successful Collegiate Student-Athletes?

Playing Junior Golf

    Do You Know the Rules of Amateur Status?
    What Academic Habits Are Essential for a High School Student-Athlete?
    Are There Benefits to Playing on a High School Golf Team?
    Is playing a practice round important?
    Is There More to Golf Than a Score?
    You Have Completed the College Placement Process—Now What?
    Is It a Good Idea To Withdraw After a Poor Round?
    How Can a Junior Golfer Improve Practice Sessions?

Promoting Yourself – Being Visible

    Are You Being an Effective Self-Advocate?
    With spring around the corner, am I staying active in the college recruiting process?
    What Should Junior Golfers Do Before Their High School Years To Start Pursuing College Golf?
    How Can Golf Recruits Maximize Visibility Among College Coaches?
    When and How Should I Initiate a Phone Call to a College Coach?
    Is Your Written Communication to Coaches Sending the Right Message?
    What Information Should Prospects Send to College Golf Coaches?
    Will Playing AJGA Events Increase My Chances of Earning a College Scholarship?
    What Should Recruits Say When Coaches Call Them?
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 2
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 1

Recruiting & Scholarships

    Can My Social Media Activity Affect How I am Recruited? UPDATED June 30, 2017
    Are You Prepared to Pursue College Golf?
    How Should I Respond When a Coach Makes an Offer?
    How Do the NCAA’s Recent Rules Changes Affect You?
    Is the College Recruiting Process Putting Too Much Pressure on You?
    When Should I Apply to Colleges?
    What is the Purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center?
    What Is a Parent’s Role During a Campus Visit?
    What Should I Do if I Didn’t Sign a National Letter of Intent in the Early Signing Period?
    What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
    What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Scholarships?
    How do I know if a School is Really Interested in Recruiting Me?
    How do Players Verbally Commit to Schools so Early in the Process?
    As a Rising Senior Is It Too Late To Be Recruited?
    What is a Parent's Role in the Recruiting Process?
    When Should Junior Golfers Sign the NLI?
    What is a Full Scholarship?