If you’re starting out in the game of golf, knowing the best golf season in the United States will help you in a number of ways.
Whether it is organizing a golf vacation? Whether it is knowing when to start practicing and hitting the range? Or even which months to avoid playing? Having this knowledge is key to increasing your enjoyment of playing the game.
I’ve worked most my life in the golf industry and have traveled extensively. So rest assured I talk from experience.
Yet it’s also important to know, the United States is a huge country where the season effectively changes from one area to another. We will explore some of these differences later in the post.
But for now, particularly those who are new to the game of golf, or those just looking to do some research on the best seasons, read on and hopefully learn something new.
When is the golf season in the United States?
The golf season in the United States will of course completely depend on where you are located, or where you are traveling to. But generally speaking, I tend to group the country into 3 different areas; northern states; central states (including midwestern states); and finally southern states.
Northern states: Here I’m taking a west to east horizontal line across the country, running from southern Oregon which includes Washington to the north. Running eastwards we can group in Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. Throw in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and all the states north of Boston.
The golf season in these northern states is clearly shorter than everything south of our made up line. The winters are more harsh and the weather turns cold far sooner. Therefore it is generally accepted that April to October is the golf season.
Yet there are times, albeit rarely, where getting a round of golf in as early as March, or even as late as November, happens. Just make sure you wrap up warm!
See also: What are the best golf courses in Wisconsin?
Central states: The band that runs through the center of the country. This includes northern California, Nevada, Utah all the way east to the Virginias, New Jersey, New York etc.
Clearly in these states, the weather is getting milder. Therefore although the season is largely the same, i.e. April to October, it is extremely likely you’ll be able to dust off the clubs in early March.
You’ll also very likely be able to keep playing later into November. Although I stress, these aren’t necessarily the best months to play, but possible.
I’ve written a number of blog posts exploring the best golf courses in these states. A couple of the more popular ones are golf courses in California and golf courses in New Jersey.
Southern states: And finally to our warmer climes. States whose climate is more conducive to a longer golf season, specifically as the weather is far more mild in the winter months.
The states encompassed here include amongst others southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. All the way to the east coast where we have the likes of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Most of these states are categorized as ‘year-round’ golf destinations. In layman’s terms, regardless of the month you visit, you’re going to be able to play golf.
Again, just a few of the more popular blog posts exploring the best golf courses in these states are;
- Golf Courses in Arizona
- Golf Courses in Texas
- Golf Courses in Florida
- Golf Courses in South Carolina
- Golf Courses in Georgia
Is Fall the best season to play golf in?
Fall, or Autumn, tends to be the season most people prefer to play golf in. This is because of a variety of reasons. But before we answer this question, let’s look at the three main golf seasons.
Spring golf season: For golfers who live outside of the southern states, this is when the golf season starts.
They have been patiently waiting all winter and finally, the days are getting longer and the temperature is rising. You can sense the golf clubs, hidden away in the garage, willing you to pick them up.
Inevitably, those first sunny days, especially on a weekend, most golf courses will be a hive of excited golfers. Morning tee times will be jam packed, whilst the early afternoon ones will also be snapped up quickly.
But most people haven’t swung a club in a while. There will be stray shots, shouts of fore, and frustration with the inability to read a putt. Or the fact your short-game has left you.
It is also worth considering many of the golf courses will have come out of a long winter and may be wet from rain-fall, or hard from an overnight’s frost.
For these reasons, spring is my least favorite month to play golf in the United States.
Summer golf season: Now this really does depend where you are in the country.
For northern and central states, the summer golf season can be great as the temperature is just right. This is in contrast to many southern states where it is just too hot to play golf, particularly throughout the middle of the day.
But the summer season is great. Daylight hours are long, you can get great twilight rates and courses are less busy purely because of the number of tee times available.
One of my personal favorites is making the most of twilight rates (cheaper green fees in the afternoon) and playing a round after work.
However, in complete contrast to the twilight rates, green fees can be steep during peak hours. Flexibility will be key in ensuring you find the right time and price for you.
Fall/Autumn golf season: And so finally we move onto the fall. Spoiler alert, this is my favorite time of the year to play golf.
Why? For a number of reasons. But primarily it boils down to availability, course condition, price and weather.
Availability is probably the least pressing, but I tend to find there are less and less golfers out on the course. It feels like people are winding down for the season. So there is far more availability of good tee times.
During this period I tend to find many courses in peak condition. There isn’t the same heat endemic to the summer months and the courses just seem to run well and not be so stressed.
They are rich and verdant whilst particularly as autumn kicks in, you have a wonderful array of colors in the foliage.
This is also a time when the green fees have dropped. No longer considered peak season across many states (the exception here is some southern states), you will find green fees have dropped considerably in price.
And lastly the weather. No longer do you have to bear the humidity or blistering heat of the summer. It is just right.
What is the shoulder season in golf?
The shoulder seasons in golf are the two seasons which sit alongside the peak season. This is why they are called ‘shoulder seasons’.
For many states, the peak season is the summer months and the shoulder seasons are the spring and autumn (fall) seasons.
The shoulder season is a term which is now part of the golfing nomenclature. It is during the shoulder seasons you can often find great deals on tee times.
What time of the year are golf courses in best condition?
This answer will very much depend upon the climatic conditions of that year. But generally, golf courses tend to be in better condition towards late spring as well as early autumn.
Late Spring: Golf courses will have bedded in well from early spring. There are no longer overnight frosts and incessant rainfall. Once boggy fairways will firm up. The temperature will have risen and flowers will be in bloom.
This is a fantastic period to get out on the golf course.
Early Autumn: A lot of stress can be placed on a course throughout the summer. Even more so if it has been a hot summer. Baked fairways and parched grass aren’t the most attractive features.
Granted, many courses have modern irrigation systems. But this causes a stark difference between the areas which have been watered and those which haven’t been quite so lucky.
But as autumn creeps in, so do the early rainfalls which provide much needed hydration to the course. An omnipresent hue of brown gives way to a more verdant looking landscape, one which is far more pleasing on the eye.
The above is definitely a generalization, as depending upon where you are in the country, this may differ. But generally speaking, having done lots of traveling around the world playing golf, I find these two periods the most conducive to golfing.
Are golf courses cheaper in winter?
100% yes, golf courses are cheaper in the winter. Depending upon where you are in the country, will depend upon whether the course is even playable.
For example, in northern states like Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts, you’re more likely to find snow on the ground.
But in more central and southern states, despite the temperature having dropped, the green fees will tend to be lower. This is also because a lot less people are playing golf and a lot less people are going away on holidays.
You will often find there are some real bargains to be found. Hotels and golf resorts will tend to do special offers – more often than not golf is free as part of the package.
The golf season in the United States is long, especially the further south you go.