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How Does Golf in Your State Stack Up?

(🔉 Click to listen to the audio version)

Florida has had a specialty license plate (a source of funding for FL junior golf programs) that identifies NGF’s home state as the “Golf Capital of the World.”

It’s hard to argue; Florida is home to the most U.S. golf courses by a long shot – 1,262 in total. That’s 31% more than California, the second-best supplied state. Outside the U.S., only three countries in the world have more: Japan, the U.K. and Canada, meaning Florida boasts a greater supply of golf from ‘Panhandle’ to ‘Keys’ than nations such as Australia, Germany, South Korea, France and China.

There are 94 golf courses within a 20-mile radius of the NGF office in Jupiter, Florida. One of them, the 18-hole Jupiter Dunes Par 3 course (aka “The Little Monster”), is across the street from NGF HQ.

When it comes to golf course activity, Florida leads the way in several categories:

  • Most rounds played
  • Most new courses opened in 2023
  • Most courses closed in 2023
  • Most courses under construction or in-planning

Beyond Florida, however, there are plenty of other compelling state stats.

While every U.S. state aside from Alaska has more than 40 golf courses, consider that almost two-thirds have at least 175.

The state with the highest proportion of public golf is Minnesota. A whopping 90% of Minnesota’s 477 golf courses are open to public play, higher than the 73% national average. Neighboring Wisconsin is close behind with 88% of its 528 courses being public – whether daily fee, municipal or resort.  There is plenty of accessible golf when our midwestern friends aren’t playing hockey or ice fishing!


As for the state with the lowest proportion of public golf? That would be the nation’s most densely populated state, New Jersey, where 47% of courses are private, many concentrated in proximity to New York City.  No state has more golfers per public course than New Jersey, creating competition for coveted weekend tee times.

California has far and away the most golfers, almost 2.8 million in the nation’s most populous state. The next six most populous states are also the only others with more than 1 million golfers each: Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio. As for the state with the fewest golfers? That would be the one with the smallest U.S. population: Wyoming, which counts approximately 50,000 golfers, fewer than Washington D.C. and less than 2% of California’s total.

Looking for more information about golf in your state? NGF’s state reports detail supply and demand for all 50 (plus the aforementioned District of Columbia), from youth golfer participation totals to the number of Par 3 courses or a count of public facilities with a premium ($80+) price point. NGF members can click here to access the 2024 state one-pagers.

NGF maintains the definitive database of every course in America and the world. Please reach out if access to that database would be helpful to you or your business.

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