NEW YORK -- As part of its third annual College Golf Guide, Golf Digest ranks the country’s best colleges with NCAA men’s and women’s golf teams. Because of the new formulas that were used in determining this year’s rankings, a college’s placement in the rankings cannot be compared to its placement in previous years. The College Golf Guide package is featured in Golf Digest’s September issue (on newsstands August 7).
The College Golf Guide has been designed to help high school students find the right school for their needs. There are three separate rankings that comprise the Guide: Balanced ranking, for students who place equal emphasis on school and sports; Golf First ranking, for students with dreams of playing golf professionally; Academics First ranking (available exclusively online), for students who are focused on education but still desire to play competitive golf.
The “Balanced” ranking is the best indicator for the majority of young men and women heading off to college.
Complete information for the Balanced ranking can now be viewed online for every Division I, II and III school in the U.S. with a golf program (www.golfdigest.com/rankings/2007/collegeguide).
The extensive College Golf Guide package, which also features a survey of 200 Division I and II golf coaches focusing on the topic of athletic scholarships, can also be viewed online.
“There are more than 230,000 boys and girls playing high school golf and our College Golf Guide provides the blueprint for them to navigate through the extensive options available,” said Jerry Tarde, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest. “We encourage the idea of playing golf during the college years and the College Golf Guide will help high-school students with such aspirations jumpstart the decision-making process.”
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 facilities/coaches. These rankings differ from playing polls in four distinct ways:
1) The Golf Digest rankings examine the entire school and the opportunity it affords a student-athlete;
2) They measure beyond an individual season;
3) They are designed to make student-athletes better aware of the choices available when researching schools;
4) They place all three NCAA divisions on equal footing because most students research colleges in multiple divisions.
Stanford took the top spot in all three of the men’s rankings. It ranked in the top-10 percent in four out of the five categories—scoring, academics, climate and facilities/coaches. Rounding out the top-10 in the Balanced ranking are: No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Southern California, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Pepperdine, No. 6 Northwestern (Ill.), No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 10 Davidson. The top-10 schools in the Golf First ranking are: No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Southern California, No. 4 Pepperdine, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 9 Clemson, No. 10 Georgia. The top-10 in the Academics First ranking are: No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Southern California, No. 4 Northwestern (Ill.), No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Claremont McKenna, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 8 Davidson, No. 9 Vanderbilt, No. 10 Princeton.
Duke is the No. 1 school in all three of the women’s rankings. In the Balanced ranking they are followed by: No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Southern California, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 Wake Forest, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 9 Princeton, No. 10 Yale. In the Golf First ranking the top-10 consists of: No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Southern California, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 9 Georgia, No. 10 Rollins. The top-10 in the Academics First ranking are: No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Princeton, No. 4 Yale, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Southern California, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 10 Notre Dame.
Golf Digest also ranks the top Balanced Division II and III colleges. In Division II, UC-San Diego earned the No. 1 ranking for men and Rollins (Winter Park, Fla.) took the top spot for women. In Division III, Claremont McKenna (Claremont, Calif.) is the No. 1 men’s team, and DePauw (Greencastle, Ind.) is No. 1 for women.
In establishing the rankings, Golf Digest rated almost 800 NCAA men’s colleges and more than 500 women’s colleges in the five categories mentioned above, grading each category on a 100-point scale to determine overall scores:
• Team Adjusted Scoring Average: (Balanced: 24.5%; 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: (Balanced: 12.5%; Golf First: 19.5%; Academics First: 7%). Determines the percentage of players on the roster during the last four seasons who improved their adjusted scoring averages over the previous season, as well as the combined improvement or decline of players who met a minimum number of rounds. (Source: golfstat.com).
• Academics: (Balanced: 36.5%; Golf First: 14%; Academics First: 58%). Utilizes statistics from U.S. News & World Report’s 2007 guidebook America’s Best Colleges. In order to equally evaluate schools in the NCAA’s three divisions, the metric does not include peer assessment, alumni giving rank or other calculations made by U.S. News & World Report within its ten college groupings.
• Climate: (Balanced: 12%; 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).
• Facilities/Coaches: (Balanced: 14.5%; Golf First: 14.5%; Academics First: 10%). Measures quality, difficulty and proximity of campus-affiliated courses used for non-tournament practice rounds; quality of up to seven additional courses used by a team; practice facilities at home courses and stand-alone facilities on or near campus; other resources; coaches’ experience and past performance. (Sources: Golf Digest’s Coaches’ Survey; collegegolf.com; individual colleges; America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, as ranked by Golf Digest).