Changes to Nationals Qualifying Starting Fall 2017

Learn more about the new process and why the changes were neccesary

Why Change?

paiute golf resort vegas

Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, site of the Fall 2017 NCCGA National Championship and Invitational.

The NCCGA has seen incredible growth over the past 10 years with more and more club teams and students getting involved in club golf each semester. The growth has resulted in the NCCGA increasing the size of its end of the season National Championship over the years from 96 players to 256 at the Spring 2017 National Championship.

As the number of club teams and national championship caliber teams increase, the NCCGA Student Leaders and Nextgengolf staff have spent time exploring how to revamp the qualifying procedures for Nationals. After all, with 29 regions projected for the Fall 2017 season, it would be impossible to provide each region an automatic bid to the National Championship (in addition to the defending champion and top 8 individuals) and still have a wildcard system.

Similar to how the USGA is revamping their rules book and has been soliciting feedback from golfers across the country, we collected feedback from NCCGA players over several months to iron out all details for qualifying starting in the fall of 2017.  Here are the three main takeaways to consider while reviewing these changes:

  1. Since the NCCGA Regional Tournaments take place in shoulder seasons often resulting in poorer weather in specific regions, we have divided the regions into zones based on typical weather seen over the years
  2. In an effort to create a better experience at the NCCGA National Championship with faster pace of play and better ranked teams, we have reduced the field size from 256 to 224 players
  3. The growth and footprint of club golf nationally has been outstanding and since the number of deserving and eager teams to qualify and compete on a national scale has increased significantly even in the past year, we will be hosting our first National Invitational of 120 additional qualified teams and individuals at the same site as the National Championship.  Starting in the fall of 2017, over 300 club golfers will be able to compete on a national scale at the end of each semester.

Please scroll down to learn more about the proposal and consider the effect it would have on your team, region, and the National Championship. If you have any feedback or questions, please don't hesitate to share them with us! We are extremely excited about these changes and the championships in Las Vegas this fall!


Matt Weinberger
NCCGA Commissioner

New Qualifying Process

Proposed new qualifying process to go into effect beginning with the Fall 2017 NCCGA season.

nccga national championship infographic

Additional Benefits

  • The National Championship will have 2 less groups per nine meaning faster pace of play and a better experience for the full field.
  • Awarding bids based on zones, rather than regionals, will improve the quality of the field resulting in higher ranked qualifying teams.
  • More Wild Card bids will be awarded than any previous championship.

Announcing the National Invitational Tournament

New national tournament to take place at similar time and place as the NCCGA National Championship for teams that didn't make the cut.

nccga national invitational infographic

The National Invitational will launch in the Fall of 2017 and occur every semester, taking place at a similar location and time as the NCCGA National Championship. The invitational will be for teams that didn't make the cut for the championship, as well as provide more teams an opportunity to compete in a national tournament. Teams that only play one tournament, or who win a region that is a non-qualifying region, will all be eligible to qualify.

Additional Benefits

  • Provides teams that didn't qualify for the NCCGA National Championship the chance to participate in a national tournament.
  • Competing teams will be of a more similar skill level, meaning participating teams will have the chance to compete and win.
    • At the NCCGA National Championship there tends to be a large discrepancy in scores from the 1st place team to the last. The goal is for the bottom half teams to compete in a tournament with similarly skilled teams to improve the experience and provide a more competitive atmosphere.
  • Teams that only play one tournament, or who win a non-qualifying region (less than 4 teams), will be eligible to qualify for the invitational.
  • Top team at the National Invitational will receive an automatic invite to the following season's NCCGA National Championship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Teams Still Compete in their Region?

Yes, teams will still compete in their local NCCGA Region. Once both regional tournaments are complete, a team's scores will be compared to the scores of all other teams in their zone. The top 4 teams in the zone by average differential will earn an invite to the NCCGA National Championship.

Why Not Keep the Same Qualifying Process?

The incredible growth of the NCCGA, and the limitations in field size of the NCCGA National Championship, means we can no longer provide an automatic bid to the winner of each region.

To further illustrate: In the Fall of 2017, there will be 30 regions. This means under the existing system, there would be 30 bids given to regional champions, 1 to the defending champs, and eight individual spots. This leaves room for no wildcards, as well as leaves no room for expansion.

How Can You Compare Teams Across Zones?

The NCCGA compares team's across different regions using the USGA's Handicap Differential formula. The formula takes into account the team's score, in addition to the course's slope and rating. This allows us to compare a Texas Region team against a North Florida Region team, even though they played different courses of differing difficulty.

The differential formula has been used to decide wildcard teams at the NCCGA National Championship since 2014.

The formula is: (Gross Team Score By Day-Rating*5)*113/Slope.

What Happens if I Win my Region?

Teams that win their regions will receive an automatic bid to the National Invitational.  Region winners will have the opportunity to qualify for the National Championship based on merit by scoring well enough in their Zone or as a Wild CardThe differential formula has been used to decide wildcard teams at the NCCGA National Championship since 2014.

What is the 2 Bid Cap Per Region?

Each zone will receive 4 invitations to the NCCGA National Championship, which are awarded to the teams with the 4 best average differentials. However, to prevent one region from receiving the majority of bids, a single region is only able to receive two of the four automatic bids.

This cap does NOT apply to wildcard bids, only to automatic bids per zone.

Example) At the end of the season in Zone 5, the top four teams by average differential are:

  1. Florida (N. Florida Region)
  2. Florida State (N. Florida Region)
  3. Stetson (N. Florida Region)
  4. UCF (S. Florida Region)
  5. Keiser (S. Florida Region)

In this example, Florida, Florida State, UCF, and Keiser would receive Zone #1's four automatic bids to the NCCGA National Championship. Stetson would not, as two teams from the North Florida Region have already receive automatic invites. Stetson, however, would be eligible for a wildcard bid.

Provide Your Feedback

We value your opinion, and want to know what you think about the proposed changes! Let us know your feedback by completing the form, or contacting us directly. Please let us know your opinions by June 30th.

Matt Weinberger

Matt Weinberger
NCCGA Commissioner