Golf is hot. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of players in the U.S. rose to 24.8 million in 2020, representing an increase of 500,000 over 2019. When off-course golfing activities (driving ranges, indoor simulators, etc.) are added in, the number swells to 36.9 million. Golf Digest notes that these numbers show “a remarkable surge in both participation and rounds played despite the shutdowns and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
There are professionally designed golf courses in every state in the union (yes, including Alaska), but some parts of the country are more richly endowed with such facilities than others. Despite the fact that the game was invented in Scotland, hardly known for its temperate climate, golf in America seems to thrive mostly in the Sun Belt, especially in Florida, Arizona, and California. Surprisingly, only one of those states hosts any of what are considered the best cities in which to own a vacation rental.
What are the best U.S. cities for golfers? To find the answer, 24/7 Tempo consulted new ratings released by the lawn care company LawnStarter — appropriately enough, since the single most defining characteristic of golf courses, aside from those who play on them, is grass.
The ratings are based on 14 different metrics having to do with climate, number and ranking of golf courses, and golf-related facilities. Only the 200 largest cities in the country were considered — which accounts for the absence of such notable golf destinations as Naples and Myrtle Beach, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Traverse City, Michigan. (Golf aside, these are the 25 best cities for active people.)
24/7 Tempo took the 35 highest-rated cities for golfers from a ranking computed by LawnStarter, a lawn care startup. The site ranked America’s 200 largest cities on 14 metrics, including climate (both temperature and rainfall), number and ratings of golf courses in or near each city, and number of golf equipment stores, driving ranges, and venues offering golf lessons. LawnStarter drew their information from GolfLink, Golf Tournament Association of America, Golf.com, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, PGA TOUR, and Yelp.