Ak-Chin Southern Dunes to host 2026 NCAA regional

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Southern Dunes Golf Course [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

Submitted by Troon Golf

The NCAA recently announced Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa will be a host site for the 2026 Men’s Golf NCAA Regionals.

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, named a “Top 100 Golf Course You Can Play” by Golf Magazine, will be one of six regional sites in the United States, with each site hosting 14 collegiate teams. The top five teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships to be held at La Costa Resort and Spa in San Diego.

Exact dates for the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Regional will be announced at a later date, but the tournament is expected to take place in mid-to-late May 2026.

Arizona State University’s Men’s Golf Coach Matt Thurmond was a big advocate for Ak-Chin Southern Dunes as a regional site. With the Phoenix area now slated to host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships in 2021, 2022, and 2023 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, the Sun Devil golf teams are poised for years of home course advantages.

“Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is perfect for Regionals as it is a great test of skill and is always well-conditioned. Plus, Brady Wilson and the team there know how to host big events,” said Thurmond, whose Sun Devil men’s golf team will serve as the host school for the regional. “Hosting is a big competitive advantage, especially at regionals. We feel like Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is very much a home course for us.”

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes 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 Golfweek’s coveted rankings of the “Top 100 Resort Courses” and “Best Courses You Can Play.”

“It has been, and will continue to be, an honor to work with coach Thurmond, Sun Devil Men’s Golf and the ASU Athletic Department to bring the 2026 Regionals to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club,” General Manager Brady Wilson said. “Adding this event on top of the next three years of Nationals being held here in the Valley, Phoenix is clearly becoming the home of college golf.”

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 course for the PING Southwest Section PGA Section Championship and several top collegiate men’s and women’s golf tournaments. The course annually hosts top amateurs in the Tucker Amateur in September 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.

“Part of allure of hosting is the opportunity to build even deeper relationships with Troon, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, The Ak-Chin Indian Community, Maricopa, and ASU.  It takes countless hours and tireless effort to host a great event and doing it together will bring us closer in so many ways.  We can’t wait to work with everyone to build a memorable event,” Thurmond added.