As the NCAA Championship prepares to spend three years in the desert, the NCAA is changing its rule regarding access to the host venue.
Beginning with the 2020-21 season, the NCAA will allow all programs access to Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., which will host the NCAA Championship for three straight years starting this spring. Teams will be able to play the Raptor Course from July 1 to April 30 in 2020-22.
Grayhawk will still remain off limits after April 30 until June 30, with the exception of official practice and competition days for the NCAA Championships.
The rule change appears to diminish the home-course advantage for the host teams. Last season, several teams played Grayhawk around area tournaments, on school breaks, etc. However, not all non-host schools will likely have the time or resources to fully take advantage of this new opportunity.
“It’s not realistic to think that we’d be able to fly the whole team there and go play during the season,” said one Power 5 coach.
The NCAA’s previous open-course-access policy applied only to the host school. This year, only Arizona State’s men’s and women’s teams are allowed on Grayhawk during the allotted period, which ends 10 days before the men’s championship, a perk that all host schools have enjoyed in years past. Other schools’ student-athletes and coaches will be prohibited from walking, playing or practicing at the championship finals course and practice facilities.
The 2019 NCAA Championships will take place May 22-27 (women) and May 29-June 3 (men). The 2020 dates are May 21-26 and May 28-June 2, and 2021 dates are May 20-25 and May 27-June 1.