The widely accepted ballpark figure for how many golf courses are in the United States, is around 15,500. The inevitable is that there will always be a golf course closing or a new one opening. Often many are temporarily closed for renovations. That is why there is no one definitive answer.
Throughout the fifty U.S. states, golf is a sport which is played in abundance. The sport of golf made its way across the Atlantic Ocean to America in the late eighteenth century, whilst throughout the twentieth century, the construction of golf courses went through the roof. There is now no state in the U.S. without a golf course.
To stress, this number includes private courses and public courses, but does not include mini-golf courses or disc golf.
Which state has the most golf courses?
The state in the U.S. with the most golf courses is the Sunshine State of Florida, with approximately 1,250 golf courses.
With golf now played in every single state, the actual number of golf courses ranges considerably. As a general rule of thumb, where the temperature is coldest and where the population size is smallest, is where you will find the least golf courses.
In contrast, the warmer the climate and the larger the population is you will find more golf courses. Hence why Florida has the most golf courses in the country.
Golf is prevalent all across the state of Florida, with some of the major hubs including Jacksonville, Palm Beach Country, Miami, Naples, Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa. But regardless of where you are you will find a course to play.
Following Florida, the next U.S. state with the most golf courses is New York, followed closely by California in third place. Here is a list of the top five states with an approximate number of golf courses (click on each name for their respective list);
- Florida (1,250 golf courses)
- New York (1,000 golf courses)
- California (930 golf courses)
- Texas (900 golf courses)
- Ohio (800 golf courses)
Which state has the best golf?
Based on the number of Top 100 golf courses, there are three states all considered to having the best golf courses in America. These are New York, California and New Jersey. There are many different Top 100 rankings, but these three states generally come out on top.
As mentioned, the above was determined by looking at the number of Top 100 golf courses. But there are so many ways to possibly interpret this question. We could also be looking at which state has the best value golf courses? Or which state has the most courses per capita.
We could even look at which state has the best ranked public golf courses? If this was the case, based on a recent ranking by Golf.com, California followed by Oregon were the two states which came out on top.
What is the golf capital of the U.S.?
There is no ‘official’ golf capital of the United States, yet most golfers would agree both Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and Naples in Florida would claim that title. Both destinations have a vast range of golf courses concentrated into a small area, making them strong contenders.
There is however one point of difference.
Yes, both the Grand Strand area of Myrtle Beach and the Paradise Coast of Naples have around 90 golf courses, but a far greater percentage of those courses in Myrtle Beach are open to the public. Whereas only around 30 of the 90 golf courses in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades area are accessible to the public.
Naturally there are many other golf destinations which either self-proclaim this title or get nominated by the golfing public. Other notable inclusions would be the sandhills area of Pinehurst, a modest village in North Carolina which is filled with golf courses. Dominating the village is the Pinehurst Resort, of which the No.2 course is one of the best golf courses in the United States.
What city has the best golf?
Accordingly to a number of respected and authoritative golf sources, the best city for golf in the United States is Scottsdale in Arizona. The climate, the quality of golf courses and the wealth of practice facilities make this the top choice.
Lawnstarter did a major study looking at over 200 cities in the U.S., comparing a number of key metrics to define the best city to play golf in. Scottsdale in Arizona came out first, closely followed by Los Angeles and then New York.
Golf Pass also ran a study looking at the population per golf course within 30 miles of each city’s downtown, and surprisingly Hartford in Connecticut took first place, with Cincinnati in Ohio and Tucson in Arizona in second and third place respectively.
The popular blog, The A Position, ran a similar study with New York coming out first, followed by San Francisco and Orlando.
And finally GolfWRX published a study which looked at 10 factors across 100 of the largest cities in the U.S. These factors included things like the cost of living, the quality of life etc. In this comprehensive study, Scottsdale again came out on top, with both Glendale and Gilbert, two more cities based in Arizona, completing the top 3.
The question of how many golf courses are in the United States is always a tricky one to answer based on the fact the number is always changing. But hopefully the above gives you a better indication of the ball park figure.
It is fair to say, regardless of where you are in America, there is going to be a wealth of choice of golf courses to play. The only thing to consider is whether those golf courses are private or public. Some of the best states for golf aren’t always the most accessible in terms of getting tee times.