Green Acres Galore: Unveiling America's Golf Wonderland
Calling all golf fanatics and trivia buffs! If you've ever wondered how many golf courses are scattered across the US, you're in for a real treat. In this comprehensive guide, we'll uncover the truth about the American golf landscape, from the number of courses by state to the most exclusive greens in the nation.
In this captivating post, we'll not only tally up the impressive number of golf courses that call the US home, but we'll globetrot across the planet and delve into the astonishing count of golf courses that stretch from continent to continent. We'll take an inside look at the countries that show the game the most love uncovering crazy statistics and must-play gems across the world.
As we navigate the fascinating world of golf courses, expect to learn surprising facts and awe-inspiring anecdotes that will leave you eager to book your next tee time. So let's swing into action and uncover the hidden jewels and iconic landmarks that make up this beautiful game.
The Great American Golf Count: Courses Coast to Coast
According to the majority of sources, there are approximately 16,700 golf courses in the US. This will never be an accurate number due to a myriad of factors. There are always new courses under development, course renovations as well as courses shutting down either permanently or temporarily. In addition, there are super private clubs and country clubs that just don't want to be listed.
Over the last 15 years, the number of total golf courses has been on a gradual decline as a result of rising costs and declining profits. Despite this trend, there's good news on the horizon. The popularity of the game is on the rise as it has been for almost the last decade. In 2021, there were over 25 Million people playing golf. This can be attributed in part to the youth movement and more favorable demographics.
Let's take a look at some more encouraging stats from the National Golf Foundation.
- Golf closures are down over 50% from their peak prior to Covid.
- In 2021 around 130 golf courses closed - less than 1% of the total number.
- The total number of rounds played in 2021 increased by almost 6% compared to 2020.
- Muni Delight - The number of municipal public golf courses increased by 4% since 2020.
- Private Practice - The number of private courses increased in 2021. There were only 12 but this was the first increase since 2007.
Fore-score and Fifty States: Golf Course Numbers by State
Here are the top 5 states.
- Florida - Over 1200 courses
- California - Approximately 940 courses
- Texas - Over 900 courses
- New York - Over 830 courses
- Michigan - Over 820 Courses
Rounding out the top 10 in order: Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The Bottom 3 states:
- Alaska - 23
- Delaware - 45
- Rhode Island - 56
Golf Mecca: Highest Course Concentration For Golfing Bliss
Now that we know the numbers by state let's take a look at the ultimate golf destination list. Here it's all about convenience and access. These are dream destinations for avid golfers and anybody who appreciates the game.
- Palm Springs (Coachella Valley, CA) - Rumor has it this is the largest concentration of desert golf courses on the planet. 120 plus beauties designed by the likes of Palmer, Nicklaus, Dye, and Norman - all within 20-30 miles.
- Naples, FL - It may not be Jupiter Island and the home to Tiger Woods but Naples boasts almost 18 courses per 100,000 people. With perfect year-round weather and almost 70 courses, this is a true golfing paradise.
- Hilton Head, South Carolina - If you're an avid golfer you've probably heard of Harbour Town Golf Links home to the RBC Heritage PGA Tournament.
- Myrtle Beach, FL - Robert Trent Jones and Tom Fazio are just a couple of the legendary architects amongst 69 courses - 13.9 per 100,000 people.
- Fort Myers, FL - The metro area of Fort Meyers boasts an impressive number of courses. There are 83 in total including an old-school gem from Donald Ross - Fort Myers Country Club.
Around the Golfing Globe: Unearthing Worldwide Course Stats
As we expand our horizons beyond the US, it's time to explore the world of golf on a global scale. From the historical links nestled in the Scottish Highlands to the sun-soaked fairways of Australia's Gold Coast, golf is truly a global game. So, let the countdown begin! As we explore the world's fairways, prepare to be both entertained and amazed by the staggering scope and scale of golf's global footprint.
Ready for some serious golf globetrotting? Various sources confirm that there are over 39,000 golf courses in the world. This number is represented by 82% of the countries in the world - that's 206 countries out of a total of 251. Pretty impressive if you ask us!
The Golf Course Global Tour: Discover the Top 10 Countries (USA has 16,700 courses for 43% of the Global Total)
- Japan - 3,100 + Golf Courses
- Canada - Around 2,600 golf Courses
- England - 2,200 + Golf Courses
- Australia - 1,600 + Golf Courses
- Germany - 1,050 Golf Courses
- France - 800 + Golf Courses
- South Korea - Approximately 800 Golf Courses
- Sweden - 650 + Golf Courses
- Scotland - 614 Golf Courses
- China - Around 600 Golf Courses
The Top 3 Countries ( Most Courses/Capita)
- The Home of Golf, Scotland - 9,300 people per golf course
- Kiwi Surprise, New Zealand - 10,300 people per golf course
- Down Under Delight, Australia - 11,000 people per golf course
- The US comes in at #8 - 18,500 people per golf course
Golf Course Hall of Fame: The Unbeatable Top 10
Gather 'round, golf enthusiasts, and join us as we unveil the US Golf Course Hall of Fame! From the most prestigious public greens to the ultra-exclusive private clubs, we'll showcase the best of the best in American golf. In this special tribute, we'll count down the unbeatable Top 10 American golf courses that have earned their stripes and captivated golfers with their breathtaking beauty, timeless layouts, and rich history.
Whether you're seeking an unforgettable round or simply daydreaming about golfing paradise, these courses will surely leave you begging for more! Thanks to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and all the experts, here we go.
The Public's Picks: Top 10 US Public Courses
- Pebble Beach Golf Links, CA - Does it get much better than this?
- Pacific Dunes, OR - American Links Brilliance, 1 of 4 true links courses in the US.
- Whistling Straits, WI - This is Brilliant Links Golf man-made style. It can't be true links golf because Mother Nature wasn't involved.
- The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, SC - A truly amazing links lagoon-style course designed for the 1991 Ryder Cup.
- Bandon Dunes, OR - Yet another Bandon Dunes Golf Resort course that is 1 of 4 true links courses (3 are at Bandon Dunes Resort).
- Shadow Creek, LV - Las Vegas at its best. Another newcomer (1990) but true brilliance and perhaps Tom Fazio's greatest masterpiece.
- Pinehurst #2, NC - Donald Ross golfing glory from 1902 that just can't seem to get enough US Opens.
- Bethpage Black, NY - The site of US Open drama and sleeping parking lot legends. The First Tee says it all - "WARNING,” “The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers.”
- Bandon Trails, OR - Another Bandon Resort masterpiece.
- TPC Sawgrass, FL - Pet Dye defining Spectacular Target Golf in 1981 featuring the iconic 17th Island Green. Home to the PGA.
Golf's Inner Circle: The Top 10 Private Courses You Wish You Could Play
- Pine Valley, Nj - It's always #1. Need we say more?
- Cypress Point, CA (Pebble Beach) - An Alister Mackenzie masterpiece on some of Northern California's most dramatic coastal real estate.
- Shinnecock Hills, NY - 5 US Opens sums it up best.
- National Golf Links of America, NY - Inspired by the best of the UK with an attitude to boot.
- Oakmont, PA - Nasty bunkers and lightening greens make this spectacular course as difficult as they come. Good Luck!
- Sand Hills, NE - It's been called the "most natural course in the US." An ode to links style gold in a landlocked location. Exclusivity has its privileges.
- Augusta National Golf Club, GA - To play golf at the home of The Masters is every golfer's dream!
- Merion East, PA - % US Opens, variety, history - It has everything.
- Fishers Island, NY - The Atlantic Ocean meets Long Island Sound in this superbly designed course from 1926.
- Los Angeles Country Club, CA - Old LA Love and The 2023 US Open equate to private urban golf at its very best.
A World of Greens: The 5 Most Stunning Golf Courses Abroad
- The Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland - Golf's Oldest Home!
- Royal County Down, Northern Ireland - Blind tee shots, the Irish Sea, 130 years of brilliance, and debatably the best opening 9 holes.
- The West Course at Royal Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Another Alister Mackenzie Masterwork.
- Murfield, Scotland -16 Opens hosted, enough said.
- Royal Dornoch, Scotland - Old Tom Morris genius dating back to 1886.
Teed-up Tidbits: Fun Golf Industry Statistics
Now that we've covered the golf course essentials, it's time for some fascinating industry stats that will intrigue even the most knowledgeable golf enthusiasts. Here are some surprising facts perfect for Golf Trivia night.
- Golf versus McDonalds: There are three times as many golf courses as Big Mac locations.
- The Golf Staticians Bible (The National Golf Foundation) states that over the last 10 years, the average number of new golf courses is around 13.
- Desert Madness - Although the population of Coachella Valley is less than 1% of Southern California's population, it has around 28 percent of the golf courses in the region.
- Desert Water Extravagance - Coachella Valley Golf Courses loves its water using 24 of the region's total water. Meanwhile, the entire golf industry doesn't even consume 1 % of California's water.
- Running a golf course in the US will cost between $500,000 and $1.5 Million.
- What 5 countries in Europe have the fewest number of golf courses? Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the Faroe Islands, and Belarus have a grand total of 2 courses. Malta has only one golf course.
- Sitting at Number 2 in the World of total golf courses is Japan. But much more fascinating is the fact that this is the only non-English-speaking country in the top 5.
The 18th Hole: Concluding Our Golf Course Expedition
As we wrap up our golf course escapade, it's time to reflect on the vast and vibrant world of golf in the US and beyond. From the sheer number of courses to the breathtaking coastal landscapes and lush greens that top the charts, we've covered it all. So the next time you step onto the tee box, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of golf courses that make up this remarkable pastime. And with each swing, you'll not only be connecting with the ball but also with the storied past and vibrant future of the game.
Thanks for visiting. We can't wait to see you again!
"Hit 'em long and straight."