What do TPC Scottsdale, Bay Hill, Riviera Country Club, and Augusta National all have in common?
Yes, they each play host to a top-tier PGA Tour event (including everyone’s favorite major). But they’re also all located in one of the top 10 Best Cities for Golfers, according to a recent study by LawnStarter.
Between Scottsdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Augusta, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with a map and an understanding of geographical weather patterns.
Where things get surprising on LawnStarter’s annual ranking of the best cities for golf is with Cincinnati, Ohio at No. 3 (do they host a LIV event?). Don’t get us wrong, Ohio has some fantastic golf (looking at you, Miurfield Village), but top three?
Turns out there’s more to being a top city for golf than just warm weather and professional tournament events. And there’s more to Cincinnati than just Bearcats and Bengals.
Quite the forecaddie
The data was compiled by LawnStarter, an online marketplace for yard-maintenance services. LawnStarter initiated the ranking as a means of marketing their love of lawn care, and to celebrate National Golf Lovers Day, which was Oct. 4th.
In fact, LawnStarter did quite a bit of homework to find out which cities are the best for golf.
They looked at the 200 largest cities in the U.S. and gathered publicly available data on 22 key indicators of golfer-friendliness, like the historical monthly average of rain, number of golf courses per 100,000 residents, and facilities offering golf lessons per square mile.
They then grouped those factors into five categories: Public Course Access, Private Course Access, Training Access, Course Quality, and Climate. Next, they calculated weighted scores for each city in each category.
Finally, LawnStarter averaged the scores for each city across all categories and ranked them best to worst.
That’s DeChambeau level science right there.
Par for the course
So, what about the rest of the list?
For the most part, there aren’t a ton of surprises.
The top 25 was mostly dominated by cities from traditional golf states like California (5), Arizona (3), Texas (3), and Georgia (3). These are all mature golf markets with an abundance of golf courses and ideal playing conditions almost year-round.
With only a handful of exceptions, you’d be hard pressed to find a quarter inch of snow among all the top 50 cities combined.
But the list is far from perfect.
Since they only evaluated the 200 largest cities in the country, some of the game’s most beloved golf destinations didn’t make the cut. Pinehurst, Hilton Head, and Myrtle Beach come to mind.
It seems like some of the weather statistics also skewed the list away from some of the country’s more northern golf haunts. Cities in Michigan and Oregon were few and far between on the list due to their relatively colder temps and generally shorter golf seasons.
Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to Bandon Dunes knows that Oregon, despite the harshness of the off-season weather, has quickly become a golf Mecca in the Pacific Northwest.
Many of Florida’s best golf cities also seemed to find the rough, likely due to high rainfall totals. You can almost hear Florida golfers grumbling about how that big black cloud “will blow over in a couple minutes.”
Maybe something for LawnStarter to add to the yardage book for next year.
So, how did your city fair? Did your hometown or favorite golf destination go low? Or did this year’s list leave you searching for your foot wedge?
To see the full list of the top 200 cities for golf in the U.S., visit the LawnStarter study here.
This feature was written by Ryan Plank, a freelance writer and journalist in Orlando, Florida. He studied at Florida State University and is an avid golfer.