Despite much of the world being shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, some industries managed to not just survive but thrive. One of those that benefited the most was golf, as 2020 gave the sport a much-needed jolt to life.
Though universal shutdowns initially cratered business' bottom lines (March 2021 showed golf rounds up a staggering 45% from March 2020), golfers across the U.S. logged 14%—or 60 million—more rounds in 2020 than 2019, according to a National Golf Foundation study tracking the effects of the coronavirus on the industry. Weekday play in particular, and late-afternoon course use specifically, saw a massive jump in 2020, due in part to schedule flexibility as more people worked remotely, avoided daily commutes, and sought outdoor activities close to home. Nine-hole games also saw a marked increase, as casual golf saw a swell in popularity.
Curated used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile a list of 10 golf destinations with the most courses per capita. The metros are ranked by how many golf courses and country club establishments are located in the metro per 100,000 people. To be included in this list, an establishment must primarily be in the business of running a golf course (except for miniature golf) or running a golf course in addition to dining and recreational facilities (country clubs).
Keep reading to discover where you can find the best access in the country for your pick of courses, the unique terrain that lends itself to world-class golf, and what makes select clubs noteworthy.