NCCGA breeds future pros one tournament at a time
By Brian Cox
During the fall of 2008, I was entering my sophomore year at N.C. State. Like so many students, I was still trying to find my place and how I fit into the larger picture that was college. One evening, I found myself in a room at Carmichael Gym for a North Carolina State club golf team interest meeting. I played one year of high school golf and always figured that’d be the end of my competitive “career.” As far as a club team was concerned, I assumed it’d be more of an enthusiasts club and might deliver me an opportunity to meet people who were as passionate about the game as I was.
The National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCCGA) is the governing body over collegiate club golf programs. More than that, the NCCGA gives college students across the country a chance to play golf at the next level. Each semester, club golf teams face off in two regional tournaments for the chance to earn a bid to the national championship. In the beginning, the NCCGA was primarily focused in the southeast where golf is year-round. Only a couple of conferences existed and the operation itself was small. The courses weren’t top-tier, but the potential was infinite.
Fast forward to 2013 and the NCCGA has grown to more than 165 teams across the U.S. and is quickly gaining respect and notoriety. Premier resorts and country clubs reach out to the NCCGA every semester in hopes of bringing this great collection of college golfers to their tee boxes. In recent years, the national championship has been contested at The Homestead Resort in Virginia as well as Sea Island Golf Club, home to the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic.
In 2012, the NCCGA paired up with the Boston-based CollegeGolfPass, as a number of club teams they were supporting by making golf more affordable had also joined the NCCGA. The partnerships has worked out tremendously as NCCGA teams are now able to not only compete in premier events across the country, but CGP is making the game more affordable for them as well by partnering with nearly 500 courses across the country that offer students exclusive collegiate rates.
Each collegiate club golf team is founded and operated by students for students. With guidance from campus recreation departments, students are learning life as well as professional lessons with each passing round. Serving as the vice president for N.C. State and also as a regional coordinator for the NCCGA provided me with several opportunities I might not have had otherwise. Budget management, marketing, event planning and fundraising are just a few skills that I, like so many other collegiate club golfers, have been fortunate to learn and utilize in my professional career.
Always looking for the next opportunity and ways to improve, the leaders of the NCCGA gladly welcome input and suggestions from its member base. It is that kind of investment and initiative that has allowed for such exponential growth. From a handful of teams in 2003 to the current 165-plus team network, the NCCGA shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Club-golf teams across the country are giving students the opportunity to continue competitive golf into college while also preparing them for their futures beyond the classroom. Not only does the NCCGA and CollegeGolfPass provide students affordable, world-class golf experiences, but it also completes the college experience at the same time.
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Brian Cox is a 2012 graduate of North Carolina State and was also the Regional Coordinator for the North Carolina Region.