NCAA Research shows major growth in number of women's college golf teams since 2009

Walt Beazley, Razorbacks Athletics Communications

NCAA Research shows major growth in number of women's college golf teams since 2009

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NCAA Research shows major growth in number of women's college golf teams since 2009

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As the decade ends, NCAA research shows that women’s golf is in a much better place than when the 2010s began. According to year-end research from the athletic organization, women’s golf shows one of the highest net gains across all sports when it comes to number of teams participating.

Women’s lacrosse leads the way with a net gain of 200 squads from 2009 to 2019. Outdoor (170) and indoor (165) track and field represent the next two spots, but women’s golf checks in after that with a net gain of 157 teams.

Those numbers are significant considering that women’s soccer comes in fifth with a gain of only 79 teams.

The additional 157 teams come from all three divisions, according to NCAA research. In a chart included in the 2018-19 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report, the total number of women’s golf teams is broken down by season. According to NCAA.org, this kind of participation information from NCAA member schools is self-reported retroactively and on an annual basis.

In the 2008-09 season, NCAA research showed a total of 543 participating teams across all three divisions of women’s college golf. By the 2018-19 season, the increased participation brought that number to an all-time high of 700 teams. New teams competing on the Division III level accounted for the biggest chunk of that growth, with the number of teams up from 164 teams in 2008-09 to 235 teams in 2018-19.

Division I women’s golf grew by 24 teams, up to a total of 267 participating teams in 2018-19.

The NCAA also tracks total athletes and average squad size. Last season, 5,436 women played NCAA college golf, up from 4,308 in the 2008-09 season. An average women’s college golf team numbered 7.8 players last season.

Women’s college golf grew at more than triple the rate that men’s golf did, though men’s numbers are also up in the last decade. The NCAA reports a net gain of 46 men’s golf teams across all divisions.

NCAA Research also released on Twitter a chart comparing changes in women’s sports participation at both the high school and NCAA level. Women’s golf grew in both areas.

In comparison, men’s golf participation grew slightly on the NCAA level, but dropped 9 percent at the high school level, a decline exceeded only by football, rifle and gymnastics.

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