Cold weather residents closer to golf course options than Floridians and Carolinians are

      I came across a Golf Channel survey published earlier this year that calculated the number of golf courses per square mile state by state.  And the winner on the golf course density scale is….Rhode Island?  It seems that if you slam a drive and seven iron from one end of Rhode Island to the other, chances are you might land on a golf course.  The nation’s smallest state at just 1,545 square miles offers access to the most closely packed golf courses, all 56 of them.  And who’s number two?  Neighboring Massachusetts gets the nod, with an impressive 376 golf courses in its 10,555 square miles.

        Of the top 13 ranked states, only Florida at #7 could be considered to offer true year-round golf.  (Delaware and Maryland are on the list, but try playing them in 28-degree weather in January.)  With its 1,044 golf courses, Florida leads all other states in sheer numbers of layouts. (#2 California, with 940 golf courses, is ranked 25th in density owing to its sheer size; #3 New York boasts 833, virtually every one of them closed for the winter.)

        The knee-jerk reaction to the density of golf courses skewing to the northern states, where clubs are closed from November to March, is that this is part of golf’s problem –- an over-abundance of layouts in part-time climates.  But through August, according to Golf Business magazine, total rounds played were up in 15 states, 14 of them northern (the 15th, Kentucky, we consider a “border” state).  Rounds played in golf rich Rhode Island and Massachusetts were up 6.6% and 5.5% respectively, but nothing like the 31.1% for North Dakota (121 courses) and 17.2% for Vermont (69).

         For a small state, Rhode Island offers variety as well as quantity per square mile.  From the classic Donald Ross designed Triggs Memorial inside the city limits of Providence to the modern and windswept Newport National, laid out by Arthur Hills, Rhode Island gets a lot of variety out of its few golf courses.  As a resident of neighboring Connecticut -- 179 golf clubs and #4 in density –- I am pulling for Rhode Island to stay the course.

        You will find the Golf Channel rankings by clicking here.


Like a Rock:  Foxborough CC is one of the 376 golf courses in Massachusetts, the second-ranked state in terms of golf course density.


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