Where The Courses Are

December 27, 2004

With 15,827 golf courses in the U.S. there are plenty of places to play, most notably in Florida and California. Surprisingly, Michigan has the third-most courses (854) and the second most (109) to earn Golf Magazine's four-star rating

Public Courses by County

Oregonians love golf, especially around Portland and Eugene, and the public has access to most of the state's great courses. But while those dark green sections are home to Pumpkin Ridge and Sunriver, Oregon's crown jewels are found farther down the coast in Bandon, home to Pacific Dunes (No. 2 in Golf Magazine's public-course ratings) and Bandon Dunes (No. 7). The top-rated course? Pebble Beach(Calif.).

Courses per Square Mile

Ohio may appear to be chock-full of courses, but 166 of the Buckeye State's 762 facilities are nine-hole courses. That's 22%, or roughly double the percentage of short courses in Florida. The country's Northeast megalopolis is where you'll find the greatest density of courses, but California is catching up with 30 new courses under construction, the most of any state.

Private Courses by County

Counties in western states tend to be larger than those in the East, which is why Las Vegas turns the southern tip of Nevada into one dark-green splotch, and Phoenix and Tucson have the same effect on southern Arizona. They are the country's population growth centers; venerable sites like Winged Foot, Oakmont, Oak Hill and The Country Club, on the other hand, are found in the small dark blocks in the Northeast.

Golf Courses per Capita

Florida and California have the most courses, but they also have large populations--teeming with golfers. The counties with the most courses per capita, located from the Texas panhandle north through the Dakotas, are low in head count. With two 18-hole layouts and a population of 783, Hooker County in Nebraska is No. 1 in courses per capita.

SOURCE: UNITED STATES GOLF FEDERATION

Golf and Money

In some places the dark purple shows up in globs: Connecticut is the only state entirely in that color, though Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland have plenty. More curious are the anachronistic flickers of purple, like the spot in the northwest corner of Arkansas. That's Benton County, where you'll find the WalMart corporate headquarters and plenty of affiliated businesses. That dark-purple patch in New Mexico is Los Alamos County, home of the government's nuclear science lab.

The few light-purple counties (high play, low income) may call to mind images of unemployed men playing at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. But that's not usually the case. The residents of those counties may well have time for golf because they're university students: Brazos County is home to Texas A&M, and Lincoln Parish is home to Louisiana Tech.

FIVE COLOR MAPSInternational Mapping COLOR PHOTOJOHN BURGESS (PEBBLE BEACH) ¬† PEBBLE BEACH (CALIF.) COLOR PHOTOFRED VUICH/GOLF MAGAZINE (THE COUNTRY CLUB) THE COUNTRY CLUBBROOKLINE, MASS. COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (NICKLAUS) ¬† JACK NICKLAUS OHIO COLOR PHOTOJACQUELINE DUVOISIN (TREVINO) ¬† LEE TREVINO TEXAS COLOR CHART ¬† KEY The colors register the number of golf courses per square mile; the intensity of those colors factors in the median household income. Pale green means low income and a low density of courses. Dark green means a lot of money but not many courses. At the other extreme, light purple identifies low-income and a high number of courses per square mile. Dark purple means there's plenty of money and plenty of places to play. •High income, few golf courses •High income, average number of courses •Highincome, high number of courses INCOME DENSITY ¬†

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)