Industry News

Men's field set for inaugural National Golf Invitational at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

New collegiate event similar to college basketball’s NIT

Maricopa, Ariz. (May 9, 2023) – The men’s field is now set for the inaugural National Golf Invitational, a new men’s and women’s collegiate event to be played at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Ariz.. Presented in partnership with Golfweek, the 2023 Men’s National Golf Invitational will feature 13 college teams competing in a 54-hole stroke-play tournament May 18-21 with the winner receiving an exemption into the 2023 Maui Jim Intercollegiate at Mirabel Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. this September. Teams competing in the Men’s National Golf Invitational will include:

  • Stetson
  • Arkansas State
  • Santa Clara
  • Wyoming
  • Washington State
  • Troy
  • Oral Roberts
  • Texas State
  • Penn State
  • Ball State
  • Valparaiso
  • Utah Valley
  • George Washington

The 10-team field for the 2023 Women’s National Golf Invitational, to be played May 11-14, was announced last week and will include:

  • Penn State
  • Mercer
  • Western Carolina
  • Iowa
  • Texas State
  • Santa Clara
  • UC Riverside
  • Middle Tennessee
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Seattle
Golf Landscape - Southern Dunes Golf Club
Golf Landscape: Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, AZ. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry /

In May 2022, the NCAA announced it would allow schools to play in one season-ending event, similar to college basketball’s NIT. By July 2022, the inaugural National Golf Invitational was created in a partnership between Golfweek and Ak-Chin Southern Dunes with Golfweek’s Lance Ringler serving as the Invitational’s tournament director. A committee determined the invitation-only field using both the Golfweek/Sagarin and Golfstat rankings, while also considering teams who had strong regular seasons.

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

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

About Troon 

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon is the world’s largest golf and golf-related hospitality management company providing services at 765-plus locations, including 760-plus 18-hole equivalent golf courses around the globe. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s award-winning food and beverage division operates and manages 600-plus food and beverage operations located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 45-plus states and 30-plus countries, Troon’s family of brands includes Troon Golf, Troon Privé, Troon International, Indigo Sports, CADDIEMASTER, ClubUp, Cliff Drysdale Tennis, Peter Burwash International, True Club Solutions, RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design, Casa Verde Golf and ICON Management. For additional news and information, visit

Media Contact:
Rob Myers