Florida: The State of Golf
In 2015, veteran GOLF magazine editor Joe Passov created a unique “gol;ness” ranking of all 50 U.S. states based on objective statistical evidence and his own subjective experiences
of having played in each one. His conclusion?
Florida is the “No. 1 Gol;est State in America.”
Beyond personal opinions, the numbers certainly
support Passov’s bottom line:
• Florida has more golf courses than any other
state—just over 1, 100.
• Florida is home to more than 500 golf communities where members have access to at least one
18-hole course, with many o;ering multiple home
courses or playing privileges at other nearby clubs.
• Nearly 43 million rounds of golf are played in
Florida every year, about a third by out-of-state
visitors, but the overwhelming majority by Florida
• Florida golf is a $16.5 billion industry that employs
nearly 170,000 workers and contributes upward of
$764 million of annual tax revenues to state and
(Important note: ;at last dollar ;gure does NOT
include state income taxes paid by resident golf-
ers because Florida has no state income tax, which
explains in part why there are so many hun-
dreds of Florida golf communities full of happy
residents who play so many millions of rounds.)
Another signi;cant factor in ;e Sunshine State’s golf
preeminence is, well, the sunshine. Aside from Hawaii,
Florida is America’s most southerly and tropical state.
Average annual temperatures range from the low 80s in
summer across the state to between 53 and 68 degrees in
winter from north to south. Of course, there are warmer
a;ernoons in July/August and cooler nights in January/
February, but the surrounding ocean waters and on-shore
breezes moderate big temperature swings, while the
weather in the spring and fall months is the de;nition of
golf-perfect. And, yes, like any tropical climate, Florida
gets more than its fair share of rain, but most of it comes
from passing showers that may brie;y delay a round, but
certainly provides the natural irrigation that makes all of
the state’s golf courses playable year-round.
;is is a big reason why the U.S.G.A., the World Golf
Hall of Fame, the Golf Channel, and all of the professional
golf tours have their headquarters in Florida. And why
the state hosts hundreds of annual professional, collegiate,
and amateur tournaments. And why more golf pros live
there than anywhere else.
;at’s the overview, but a sharper focus is found at a
pair of Florida’s leading golf communities.
ON THE GREEN