The calendar has turned to 2024, which means the golf schedule is fresh, kicking off this week with the PGA Tour’s The Sentry in Hawaii.
However, the professional game is only one aspect of the global sport. Amateur golf takes up a big chunk of the schedule, and there are plenty of signature events to be excited about in the coming year.
Whether it’s the Curtis Cup or a new NCAA Championship venue, players returning from injury or others having one last semester in their college careers, there is plenty to look forward to in the amateur golf realm.
Here are 24 things to look forward to in amateur golf in 2024.
The biennial competition between the best female amateurs in the United States facing off against those from Great Britian and Ireland returns to Sunningdale Golf Club in England from Aug. 30-Sept. 1. The Americans lead the all-time series, 29-8-3.
Michael Thorbjornsen’s return
The senior at Stanford holds the top spot in the PGA Tour University rankings for 2024, but he hasn’t hit a shot for the Cardinal this season because of a stress fracture in his back. He’s one of the best amateurs in the world when he’s healthy, so his return will be welcome.
Ingrid Lindblad’s final hoorah
The top-ranked female amateur in the world has had an incredible college career, but 2024 could be her first time to win NCAAs or a major award before turning professional. She had two wins in the fall and is searching for more this spring.
Gordon Sargent prepping for Tour card
Sargent has some job security after he finishes his junior season at Vanderbilt: he earned a PGA Tour card via PGA Tour University Accelerated in the fall. But first, the 2022 NCAA individual champion is looking to finish his amateur career on a high note.
First look at Omni La Costa
There’s a new NCAA Championship venue the next three years: Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California. Gil Hanse performed an extensive renovation at the course, and as of a month ago at the annual coaches convention in Las Vegas, Texas men’s golf coach John Fields said the course was ahead of schedule and would be ready to go for NCAAs.
Speaking of NCAAs
Speaking of NCAAs, the annual championships should be a thriller on the Pacific Coast of California. A new, renovated course means teams will be tested on the layout. Those who learn and adapt to the new venue quickly could hoist hardware come week’s end.
Neal Shipley at Augusta
The runner-up at the 2023 U.S. Amateur, Neal Shipley became a fan favorite at Cherry Hills Country Club last summer with his spectacular run to the championship. Come April, he’ll be walking amongst the azaleas at Augusta National. Safe to say he’ll still be a fan favorite there, too.
Anna Davis’ college debut
Anna Davis has long been one of the best female golfers throughout her junior career. Many thought she may turn professional and skip playing collegiately. However, she signed with Auburn and will join the Tigers’ lineup this spring, which also features reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Megan Schofill.
Augusta National Women’s Amateur
Entering its fifth year, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur has staked its claim as one of the premier female amateur events on the calendar. After a thrilling finish in 2023, it’s safe to say the anticipation is high for this year’s rendition of the championship.
Growth of Clippd, Scoreboard
Anyone who follows college golf understands the debacle in the fall regarding live scoring and rankings. With things finally stabilized, it’s time to see how Clippd can manage the scoring, how its new website Scoreboard will look hosting scoring and rankings and how Mark Broadie’s rankings will evolve after more data and initial confusion from coaches.
Nick Dunlap’s leap
The sophomore at Alabama became the best amateur in the world last summer after he captured the 2023 U.S. Amateur. He had a strong start in the fall, too, winning one tournament while representing the Americans in the Walker Cup and World Amateur Team Championship. Now how will his trajectory change with the target on his back?
National Golf Invitational
The National Golf Invitational returns for its second year, and it’s going to be bigger and better. In 2022, the NCAA announced it would allow teams to play in one season-ending event, and Golfweek teamed up with Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Arizona, just south of Phoenix, to host the inaugural National Golf Invitational. Think the NIT of college golf. This year, the competition returns to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes with the women teeing off May 9-12 and the men May 16-19.
College golf is going to look (somewhat) different come the fall. Conference realignment has been a major event for college football, but it affects every other sport at moving schools, as well. However, it won’t change much for golf. Sure, USC and UCLA, Oregon and Washington are going to the Big 10, but their schedules are likely to remain the same outside of the conference championship.
Can Wake Forest defend its title?
Wake Forest won three times in five events in the fall, two of those coming via match play. Even with the Demon Deacons losing two of their best players, coach Kim Lewellen has retooled her lineup and remained one of the best teams in the country. Will they be able to defend their title? Only time will tell.
Can Christo Lamprecht continue strong play
Christo Lamprecht made his name well-known last year. He won the Amateur Championship and also low-am honors at The Open Championship, the tournament he co-led after 18 holes. This fall, he won twice for Georgia Tech at two of the biggest events on the slate. Could he be in line for a major award(s) this spring?
Speaking of major awards, the Haskins and Annika Awards are the premier awards handed out to the college golfers of the year. Last year’s winners were Ludvig Aberg and Rose Zhang. Wonder what they have been up to since then? The next winners will have big shoes to fill, but this comes with such a prestigious honor.
U.S. Women’s Amateur
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is the ultimate test of skill and stamina. This year, it heads to Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the best female amateurs in the world will be tested on one of the best championship courses in the United States.
Championship golf returns to Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, for the first time since the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, when the U.S. Amateur comes to town Aug. 12-18. The course also hosted the 2016 Ryder Cup and 2009 PGA Championship. Safe to say, it’s a great championship test for the best amateurs in the world.
T.K. Chantananuwat’s intro to college golf
How good is Stanford 2024 signee T.K. Chantananuwat? He won the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup on the Asian Tour as an amateur in April of 2022. He became the youngest golfer to win on a tour recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking at the age of 15 years and 37 days. He’ll join the Cardinal in the fall.
Stanford women aren’t going anywhere, either
Speaking of strong recruiting classes, you don’t have to look far to find the top women’s class for 2024. It’s Stanford, which signed four top-100 players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, led by Sweden’s Meja Ortengren. Stanford golfers have won the past three Annika Awards, and the Cardinal have won the stroke-play portion at NCAAs for three straight years. The rich get richer.
First D-I men’s event in Canada coming this fall
History will be made next fall in Canada.
Golf Canada announced this week the creation of the Canadian Collegiate Invitational, the first Division I men’s college golf event in the country. It will take place at Oviinbyrd Golf Club in MacTier, Ontario, from Sept. 15-17, 2024.
The winner also gets an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2025 RBC Canadian Open.
Is it UNC men’s time to shine?
The top-ranked Tar Heels have won three of their five tournaments this season, including the Fighting Illini Invitational and East Lake Cup. The two tournaments North Carolina didn’t finish first? It placed second to Vanderbilt at the Ben Hogan Collegiate and the St. Andrews Links Collegiate. After losing in the semis at NCAAs last year, the Tar Heels are one of the favorites to win it all in California this year,
Arnold Palmer Cup
The Arnold Palmer Cup heads across the pond this year. The Ryder Cup-style competition, which features men’s and women’s collegiate golfers from the United States against their International counterparts, will be played July 5-7 at Lahinch in Ireland. The Americans lead the all-time series 14-12-1. The coaches for each side were announced last month.
How many more tournaments will Christy Chen win?
Boston University’s Christy Chen has been the best college golfer you haven’t heard of this season. In four starts, she has three victories, coming at the Bucknell Invitational, Princeton Invitational and the Yale Invitational. Only time will tell how may more victories she’ll rack up.