MARICOPA, Ariz. – The University of Iowa women’s golf team has accepted an invite to play in the inaugural Golfweek National Golf Invitational, a new collegiate postseason event to be played May 12-14 at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.
The 10-team field will consist of Penn State, Mercer, Western Carolina, Iowa, Texas State, Santa Clara, UC Riverside, Middle Tennessee, Grand Canyon and Seattle.
“We are thrilled to accept this opportunity for our team to “play in May,” said Iowa head coach Megan Menzel. “It is great for us to extend our season and we appreciate all Lance Ringler and Golfweek are doing to continue to grow the game on the women’s side by providing competitive opportunities for our teams.
“I am proud of our team for their continued hard work and growth to receive this opportunity.”
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.
“I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for this and how long I have been dreaming of hosting this event. To have a host in Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club and a staff that shares that same energy is going to take this event to the next level,” said Ringler. “Growing up a big basketball fan, combined with my passion for college golf, helped bring to life the NIT of college golf in the NGI (National Golf Invitational). It is going to be something I look forward to each May. Most importantly, college golf is more than ready for this type of postseason event. So many schools put so many resources into their college golf programs and having this opportunity to play in a postseason event is something a lot more teams can realistically aim for.”
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.
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.”