A Closer Look into College Golf
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  04/15/2011


Scott Lieberwirth

Men’s Golf Head Coach


This past weekend marked the unofficial beginning to the golf season. For most, the Masters gets golfers excited about the upcoming season. This year was no exception.


Golf is mainly a summertime sport, but college golf is played during the fall, winter and spring. Unlike most college sports we have two distinct in-seasons, fall and spring. Our conference and NCAA Championships are played in the spring, but it’s also important to play well in the fall for improving your national ranking.


The NCAA National Championship is the primary goal for the 301 NCAA Division I men’s golf programs. Thirty teams compete for three rounds of stroke play, and the best eight teams after stroke play have a match play tournament to determine the national champion. The Aggies last appearance in the NCAA Championship was in 1995.


To get to the national championship, you must finish in the top 5 at one of the six NCAA regional sites. We have been very close to advancing to the national championship in recent years. We have narrowly missed out of the big dance in 2006, 2008 and 2010.


There are two ways to punch a ticket to the NCAA Regionals: being an automatic qualifier (AQ) by winning your conference championship or by earning an at-large selection based on your national ranking. Just think of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, it’s very similar. In golf, 81 teams and 45 individuals (from non-advancing teams) compete in the NCAA Regional. Three regional sites have 13 teams and 10 individuals and the other three sites have 14 teams and 5 individuals, totaling 75 players at each regional site.


There are 28 teams that will earn a spot into the NCAA Regional by winning their conference championship. This leaves the remaining 53 highest ranked teams according to Golfstat (not already in as an AQ) to round out the 81-team field. In recent years, the bubble lies around the 70th-ranked team. Currently, your Aggies are ranked No. 58 in Golfstat. We’re not a lock just yet, but a good showing this weekend at San Jose State will put us in great shape for an at-large selection with only the WAC Championship remaining on our schedule.


Are you still with me?


How teams get ranked is the confusing part. Basically, we need to beat as many teams as possible at each tournament we play. Like other sports, golf has an actual win-loss record for each team over the season. For example in a 15-team tournament, if we finish in third place we would have wins on 12 teams and losses to 2 teams. Our win-loss record would be 12-2. Currently, our win-loss record for this season is 101-38-2.


The key to moving up the rankings is by beating higher ranked teams. We have done a decent job of that this season. However, golfers by nature are never satisfied, and neither are we.


This year’s squad will only be satisfied with our season ending at the NCAA Championship.


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