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NGF Research Update: State Golf Standouts

Published on 3/28/2023

It makes sense that California and Florida lead the nation in golf supply.

California, after all, is the most populous state, by a long shot. Florida, meanwhile, is the East Coast’s sunshine escape for vacationers, retirees and second-home owners, with the most miles of coastline in the continental U.S. And both have (mostly) year-round golf weather.

But which state is home to more public golf than any other?

As detailed in NGF’s latest one-page state golf reports — that would be Michigan, which ranks third to the aforementioned leaders in total supply.

While Florida has 677 public golf courses and California has 633 (daily fee and municipal), Michigan has 738 in total. Approximately 86% of Michigan’s golf courses are open to public play.



When it comes to the number of golfers per public course, Michigan (1,172) is well under the national average of 2,127. Part of that is because the state’s almost 70 resort-oriented golf properties, the nation’s third-highest total, are a destination draw for out-of-state golfers.

So, which states have the most golfers per public course and, thus, generally see stronger demand and tee time competition?

The leader in that category with 4,919 golfers/public course is the most densely populated state in the country, New Jersey, which in addition to almost 1,300 residents per square mile, also has the highest proportion of private clubs in the country. Maryland and California are not far behind, both having more than 4,000 golfers per public course, and almost twice the national average. While the supply/demand dynamic is typically very local when it comes to public golf, chances are a public tee time will be harder to come by in one of those states as compared to one of the Dakotas.


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