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State-by-State Golf Data: A Casual Guide to Greens Across the US (2023 Edition)

Good news!

Golf continues to grow in its popularity across the United States, breaking pre-pandemic records in a variety of categories.

This growth is fueled in part by the resurgence of par 3 and executive golf courses which serve as the most accessible gateway to the sport. Entertainment golf venues like TopGolf and Drive Shack play a vital role as well.

We’re currently tracking 17 new par 3 courses that will open sometime in 2024, which is a healthy indicator that the demand for golf continues to grow.

According to National Golf Foundation data, over 531,000,000 rounds of golf were played in the U.S. in 2023. That exceeds the previous record of 529,000,000 which was set in 2021.

Par 3 at Miakka Golf Club
The Par 3 at Miakka Golf Club in Florida

Which State has the Most Golf Courses?

Florida is the state with the most golf courses (1,262 to be exact). We currently have 141 par 3 or executive golf courses in our Florida database, with a significant number of courses yet to be added (mostly The Village courses).

Golf is alive and well in Florida. A few highlights include:

  • Most rounds played: Florida undeniably rules the leaderboard in this category.
  • Fresh fairways: The state opened the most new golf courses in 2023.
  • Sunsetting courses: Florida also saw the most golf course close in 2023.
  • Future grounds: Florida is leading with plenty of courses under construction or in the planning stages.

Other states would be hard-pressed to edge out Florida, but the second-closest state in terms of course inventory is California. We currently have 151 par 3 or executive courses in our California database.

Most U.S. states (Alaska being the exception) have over 40 golf courses; a substantial two-thirds boast at least 175 golf options.

U.S. Golf Course Supply

Which states have the most public golf courses?

Minnesota gets well-deserved bragging rights for making golf more accessible to the general public. 90% of the 477 golf facilities in Minnesota fall under the category of public golf.

The national average for public golf courses is about 73% of a state’s inventory.

Wisconsin is hot on Minnesota’s heels, with a notable 88 percent of its 528 courses welcoming the public.

Which states have the fewest number of public golf courses?

New Jersey has the lowest proportion of public golf courses. Close to half of the state’s golf options are private, with a concentration near New York City. Furthermore, New Jersey has the densest concentration of golfers per public course, a kind of exclusivity that’s hard to find elsewhere.

See our list of par 3 courses in New Jersey.

Which state has the most golfers?

California boasts the greatest number of golfers (2.8 million participants).

Behind California, only six other states have more than a million golfers:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Illinois
  • Ohio

It should come as no surprise that these are the 7 most populated states in America.

The East River 9 Par 3 in Houston
The East River 9 Par 3 in Houston

Which state has the fewest golfers?

As you could probably guess, Wyoming has the fewest golfers (about 50,000). It is also the least populated state in America.

Golf Data Source(s)

I pulled this golf data from the NGF website.

NGF members get access to state-by-state golf overviews and a variety of other resources, so if you like golf and numbers, you should treat yourself to a membership.

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