Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Ariz. will be the host site for the inaugural National Golf Invitational in May 2023. Presented in partnership with Golfweek, the National Golf Invitational will feature a men’s and women’s competition, each with a maximum of 18 teams playing 54 holes of stroke play. Women will play May 11-14, with the men playing May 18-21. The exciting new collegiate event comes after the NCAA announced in May that it would allow schools to play in one season-ending event, similar to college basketball’s NIT.
Golfweek’s Lance Ringler will serve as the National Golf Invitational’s tournament director and the field will be invitation-only as decided by a committee using both the Golfweek/Sagarin and Golfstat rankings along with a committee decision on teams that have a strong regular season.
“This is something I have talked about for many years and am extremely excited to make this a reality. Many coaches over that time have expressed a want and a need for a second postseason event like we see in other sports and the sport is ready to support another postseason tournament,” said Ringler. “With the NCAA now allowing teams to play in one postseason event, teams that don’t find a path to the NCAA regional play can now look at what we are doing as an option.”
“Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is excited to carry on our proud tradition of hosting high level championship events as the host site for the men’s and women’s National Golf Invitational,” said Ak-Chin Southern Dunes General Manager Brady Wilson. “Certainly, the popularity of golf in the Valley of Sun and the growing exposure of college golf make for perfect timing to have a second National Championship event so that more college programs and student athletes are able to play into the post-season.”
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes has played host to numerous major tournaments and events since opening in 2002, serving as an annual U.S. Open qualifying site, host site for the first stage of the PGA TOUR’s Korn Ferry Tour Q-School, and several top collegiate men’s and women’s golf tournaments, including the Copper Cup, a two-day Ryder Cup-style event featuring in-state rivals the University of Arizona and Arizona State University men’s golf teams. In addition, the course annually hosts top amateurs in the Desert Amateur in December and the Saguaro Amateur held in early January. Both events are part of the Troon Saguaro Amateur Series, a multi-tournament series providing high-level amateurs a chance to compete throughout the year.
In 2026, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club will be a host site for the Men’s Golf NCAA Regionals. The “Top 100 You Can Play” golf course will be one of six Regional sites in the U.S. with each site hosting 14 collegiate teams. The top five teams from each Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships to be held in 2026 at La Costa Resort and Spa in San Diego, Calif. Exact dates for the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Regionals will be announced at a later date, but the tournament is expected to take place in mid-to-late May 2026.
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club was designed by Brian Curley and PGA TOUR veteran Fred Couples in 2002. Originally developed as a private club by private investors, the championship Australian Sandbelt-style golf course sits on 320 acres of land that was once a part of the Ak-Chin’s May 1912 reservation before it was removed by Presidential Executive Order in late 1912. Nearly 100 years later, in 2010, the Ak-Chin Community recovered its sacred land when it purchased the golf facility and opened the course to public play. The course currently boasts several coveted accolades, including being included on Golfweek’s coveted rankings of the “Top 100 Resort Courses” and “Best Courses You Can Play.”
For more information on Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, visit www.akchinsoutherndunes.com.
About The Ak-Chin Indian Community
The Ak-Chin Indian Community is nestled into the Santa Cruz Valley of Southern Arizona. The Community lies 35 miles south of Phoenix in the northwestern part of Pinal County. Ak-Chin is an O’odham word translated to mean “mouth of the wash” or “place where the wash loses itself in the sand or ground.” Ak-Chin has an enrollment of more than 1,100 tribal members and a land base of just over 22,000 acres. The Ak-Chin Indian Community has a variety of business enterprises including Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, The Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle and Santa Cruz Commerce Center. For more information, visit www.ak-chin.nsn.us.
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