Aug. 7, 2006
NEW YORK - Gonzaga University's men's and women's golf teams rank high on the academic ledger as Golf Digest released its second annual College Golf Guide.
The rankings and College Golf Guide package provides a blueprint for high school students with dreams of playing golf in college and professionally ("Golf First" ranking), as well as students focused on education who still desire to play competitive golf ("Academics First" ranking).
Gonzaga's women's program ranked 12th overall with a ranking of 71.823, the highest-ranked school in the West Coast Conference on the Academic First list. The Bulldog men checked in at No. 28 with a ranking of 69.736, second among WCC schools.
Princeton was atop both the men's and women's Top 50 lists, the Tigers women at 84.967 and the men at 85.290.
"Once again I think this shows the value we place on both athletics and academics at Gonzaga," Bulldog athletic director Mike Roth said. "We have student-athletes excelling in the competitive arena and in the academic arena as well. I think golf coach Robert Gray, and all of our coaches, should be commended for achieving this fine balance between athletic and academic excellence."
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 coaches/facilities.
This year's academics numbers come courtesy of U.S. News & World Report's respected "America's Best Colleges" guidebook. The climate numbers were provided by Longitudes Group and measure each school's 30-year average of playable days from September 1 to May 31.
The player-growth category is a refinement to Golf Digest's rankings this year and is based on two measurements: the number of players on the roster during the last four seasons who lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-over-year basis, as well as the team's combined improvement or decline.
In establishing the rankings, Golf Digest rated 772 NCAA men's programs and 500 women's programs in the five categories mentioned above, grading each category on a 100-point scale to determine overall scores:
Team adjusted scoring average: (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: (Golf First: 19.5%; Academics First: 7%). A new judging category, player growth determines whether players on a program's roster during the last four years lowered their adjusted scoring average on a year-to-year basis and the team's combined improvement or decline. (Source: golfstat.com).
Academics: (Golf First: 14%; Academics First: 58%). Overall score from U.S. News & World Report's 2006 guidebook America's Best Colleges. (Source: usnews.com).
Climate: (Golf First: 12%; Academics First: 10%). A 30-year average of number of playable days between Sept. 1-May 31. Allows for play in poor weather but not in extreme, dangerous or snow-covered conditions. (Source: Longitudes Group).
Coaches/facilities: (Golf First: 14.5%; Academics First: 10%). Measures coaches' experience and past performance; quality of campus-affiliated or available courses and practice facilities. (Source:
Information provided by colleges and Ping American College Golf Guide.)
The complete college rankings for NCAA Division I, II and IIII can be viewed at www.golfdigest.com/collegeguide.