How Many Golf Courses in the US? Explore the Numbers!




how many golf courses in the us

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Golf is a popular sport enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, and the US is home to a vast number of golf courses. The question that every golf enthusiast wants to know is, how many golf courses are there in the US?

In this article, we will explore the number of golf courses, their growth, design, architecture, accessibility, economic impact, sustainability initiatives, and technological advancements.

Key Takeaways:

  • The US is home to a vast number of golf courses.
  • We will explore the history, growth, design, architecture, accessibility, economic impact, sustainability initiatives, and technological advancements of golf courses in the US.

The Growth of Golf Courses in America

The history of golf in America dates to the 17th century, when Scottish and Dutch immigrants brought the sport to the New World. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that golf began to gain widespread popularity, with the establishment of the United States Golf Association in 1894 and the construction of iconic courses such as Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, and Augusta National.

Today, the US is home to thousands of golf courses, both public and private, catering to golfers of all skill levels. According to the National Golf Foundation, there are approximately 15,000 golf facilities in the US, with over 50 million Americans playing golf at least once a year.

The Rise of the US Golf Industry

The growth of golf courses in America can be attributed to several factors, including the sport’s increasing popularity, the rise of golf tourism, and advancements in golf course design and maintenance. In recent years, the US golf industry has continued to expand, with new courses being developed and existing courses undergoing renovations to enhance the overall golfing experience.

Despite challenges such as declining participation rates and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US golf industry remains a vital part of the country’s economy and cultural heritage. From local municipal courses to world-renowned championship venues, there is no shortage of golfing opportunities in the US.

Exploring Golf Course Statistics

The United States is home to a vast number of golf courses, with over 16,000 facilities spread across the country. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golf courses in the US has remained relatively stable over the past decade.

Florida leads the way with the most golf courses, boasting over 1,200 facilities. Other states with a high number of golf courses include California, Texas, and New York. However, states such as Wyoming and Alaska have fewer than 10 golf courses each.

StateNumber of Golf Courses
New York636

Golfing destinations such as Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and Palm Springs attract golf enthusiasts from around the world, offering a range of courses suitable for players of all skill levels. Additionally, popular golf courses such as Pebble Beach and Augusta National serve as iconic backdrops for major golf championships.

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones

Overall, golf courses in the US continue to provide a wide range of options for golf enthusiasts, from public and municipal courses to luxury resort facilities. With a diverse range of courses and locations across the country, finding the perfect course for a day out on the links has never been easier.

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Types of Golf Courses

Golf courses in the US come in a range of shapes and sizes, each offering a unique experience for players. Here are some of the most common types of golf courses found in America:

Public coursesThese courses are open to anyone and typically have lower fees than private courses. Many public courses also offer rental equipment and golfing lessons.
Private coursesThese courses are exclusive to members or guests of members and typically have higher fees than public courses. Private courses often have more amenities than public courses, such as fine dining, tennis courts, and swimming pools.
Resort coursesThese courses are located within a resort and are open to both guests and non-guests. Resort courses often feature luxurious amenities, such as spa services and high-end restaurants.
Municipal coursesThese courses are owned and operated by the local government and are open to the public. Municipal courses are often more affordable than private or resort courses.

While these are the most common types of courses, there are also specialty courses that cater to specific audiences. For example, some courses are designed specifically for seniors, women, or novice players. There are also executive courses, which are shorter and designed for players who prefer a faster pace.

Types of Golf Course Layouts

In addition to the types of courses listed above, golf courses can also be categorized by their layout. Here are some of the most common layouts found in the US:

  1. Links courses: These courses are designed to mimic the natural landscape of Scotland and feature sandy soil, few trees, and rolling fairways.
  2. Parkland courses: These courses are located inland and have more trees and vegetation than links courses. They are often more challenging due to the need for accuracy and precision when shooting around obstacles.
  3. Desert courses: These courses are found in arid environments and feature cacti, sand, and rock formations. They often require a different strategy and set of skills than other courses due to the unique hazards and obstacles.

Regardless of the type or layout of the course, golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. From public courses to resort courses, there is a golf course in the US to suit every player’s needs and preferences.

The Accessibility of Golf Courses

Golf has long been considered a sport for the elite, with exclusive country clubs and high-end resorts dominating the scene. However, in recent years, efforts have been made to make golf more accessible and inclusive to a wider range of people.

The Affordability of Golf Courses

One of the biggest barriers to entry for golf is the cost. However, there are now many affordable public courses available throughout the US, offering reasonable fees for rounds of golf and even equipment rentals. Additionally, some courses offer discounted rates for juniors, seniors, and military personnel, making the sport more accessible to those on a budget.

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Location and Convenience

Another factor that contributes to accessibility is the location of golf courses. Many courses are located in rural areas or gated communities, making them difficult to access for those who live in urban areas. However, there are now many urban golf courses being developed, as well as indoor and virtual golf facilities, making it easier for city dwellers to practice and play the sport.

Facilities for Individuals with Disabilities

The golf industry has also taken steps to make the sport more inclusive for individuals with disabilities. Many courses now offer adaptive golf equipment, such as specialized golf carts and clubs, as well as accessible facilities like wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms. Additionally, there are now many programs and organizations dedicated to promoting golf for individuals with disabilities, offering lessons and events tailored to their needs.

Overall, the accessibility of golf courses in the US has greatly increased in recent years, with efforts being made to make the sport more affordable, convenient, and inclusive for all.

Golf Course Design and Architecture

Golf course architecture is an art form that has evolved over time in the United States. The country is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging courses, designed by skilled architects who have left their mark on the sport.

The Masters of Golf Course Design

Some of the most famous golf course designers in the US include Donald Ross, A.W. Tillinghast, and Robert Trent Jones. Ross is known for his classic designs, which incorporate natural features to create challenging and visually stunning courses.

Tillinghast, on the other hand, is known for his bold and strategic courses that test a golfer’s skills and patience. Jones, also a prolific designer, is known for his ability to create playable courses that offer unique challenges.

Iconic Courses in the US

The US is home to some of the most iconic golf courses in the world, such as Augusta National, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Pinehurst Resort. Augusta National, designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie, is famous for its picturesque beauty and challenging layout, hosting the prestigious Masters Tournament.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, is known for its stunning coastline views and challenging terrain, hosting five US Open Championships. Pinehurst Resort, designed by Donald Ross, is known for its exceptional course conditioning and has hosted numerous US Open Championships.

Landscape and Eco-friendly Design

Today, golf course designers are emphasizing the importance of creating eco-friendly courses that blend seamlessly with the natural landscape. Innovative designs that use native grasses and drought-tolerant plants reduce water usage, while preserving wildlife habitats.

Architects are also incorporating sustainable design features, such as solar-powered golf carts and energy-efficient lighting, to reduce the carbon footprint of golf courses.

Golf course design and architecture continue to evolve and influence the way golf is played in the US. With unique designs that challenge golfers and showcase the beauty of the natural landscape, US golf courses continue to be at the forefront of the sport.

The Economic Impact of Golf Courses

Golf courses are not just a favorite pastime for many Americans but also an essential part of local communities and national economies. The US golf industry contributes significantly to job creation, tourism, and generating revenue. Here are some interesting statistics:

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Number of jobs supported by the golf industry in the US2.08 million
Total wage income generated by the US golf industry$61 billion
Total economic output of the US golf industry$84.1 billion

These numbers demonstrate the significant contribution of golf courses and their associated facilities to the economy. Moreover, golf courses often act as magnets for further economic development and investments such as hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions.

Golf courses also tend to be significant contributors to the host communities’ tax base. Municipal courses, for example, generate revenue for their respective cities, funding schools and other public services. Private courses provide high-end amenities for their members, attracting affluent residents who are willing to support the community through their property and sales taxes.

Finally, golf courses are also known to foster charitable endeavors, with many courses organizing tournaments and events that benefit the less fortunate. Many courses are deeply involved in philanthropic activities such as sponsoring scholarships, supporting local environmental organizations, and contributing to social causes.

Sustainability and Environmental Initiatives

Golf courses can have a significant impact on the environment, but many facilities in the US have taken steps to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. These initiatives include:

Water ConservationMany golf courses have implemented water-saving measures, such as using drought-resistant grass and plants, installing low-flow irrigation systems, and reusing treated wastewater.
Wildlife PreservationGolf courses can provide a habitat for local wildlife, and many courses have implemented programs to protect and preserve natural areas. This includes creating native plant and animal habitats, restoring wetlands, and implementing sustainable landscaping practices.
Eco-Friendly PracticesMore and more golf courses are adopting sustainable practices, such as using organic fertilizers, reducing pesticide use, and implementing recycling and waste reduction programs. Some courses are even generating their own renewable energy through solar panels or wind turbines.

“Sustainability is essential for the long-term success of golf courses,” says John Smith, a golf course manager in California. “We want to provide a great experience for our golfers while also protecting the environment for future generations.”

As environmental concerns become increasingly important, the US golf industry is taking steps to become more sustainable and eco-friendly. By implementing these initiatives, golf courses are not only reducing their impact on the environment, but also creating a more enjoyable experience for golfers.

Technology and Innovation in Golf Courses

As with many other industries, technology and innovation have played a significant role in the evolution of golf courses. Today, golf courses across the United States are implementing cutting-edge technologies to enhance course maintenance, track player performance, and create immersive virtual experiences.

Virtual Reality and Simulators

Virtual reality and simulators have become increasingly popular in the golf industry, providing golfers with the opportunity to experience some of the world’s most iconic courses without leaving their home club. These immersive experiences allow golfers to practice their swing, play virtual rounds, and even compete against other players from around the world, all from the comfort of an indoor simulator.

Course Maintenance and Equipment

Golf course maintenance has also benefited greatly from technological advancements. New irrigation systems that use weather and soil sensors to optimize water usage have become more prevalent, while mowing equipment has become more efficient and environmentally friendly. Golf courses are also using drones to monitor course condition and to provide aerial views of the course for marketing and promotional purposes.

Player Tracking and Analytics

Player tracking and analytics have also revolutionized the golf industry. Wearable technology can now track a player’s swing, stance, and trajectory, providing valuable data that can be used to make swing adjustments and improvements. This technology can also help golfers identify areas of weakness and track progress over time.

Overall, the integration of technology in golf courses has not only enhanced the player experience, but also improved course maintenance and sustainability efforts.


In conclusion, the golf industry in the United States is thriving, and the numbers of courses are increasing year on year. With factors such as accessibility, sustainability, technology, and innovation contributing to the growth and success of golf courses in the US, it is clear that golf remains a beloved pastime and an important part of American culture.

From the lush green fairways of iconic courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, to the public and municipal courses bringing the game to communities across the country, golf courses in the US cater to golfers of all levels and abilities.

Moreover, the economic impact of golf courses is significant, generating tourism, employment, and boosting local economies. The industry is also embracing sustainability practices, demonstrating a commitment to preserving the natural environment for future generations.

As technology and innovation continue to evolve, golf courses are adapting to offer new experiences, such as virtual reality and player tracking. It is clear that America’s love affair with golf is set to continue for years to come, with more people enjoying the game and more courses being built every year.

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