But where are the best cities for golf lovers in America? Places like Augusta, Pebble Beach and Merion seem to be obvious choices, but it takes more than one famous course or a PGA event to be a great golf town in which to live.
The best places to live for golf lovers reach from coast to coast, south to north. Here are the top 10 golf cities in America with populations above 100,000 based on the ratio of courses to the municipal population.
10. Peoria, IL
“Will it play in Peoria?” is a famous idiom, with the city as a metaphor to wonder if a product or show will find success in Middle America. But when it comes to golf, it will certainly play in Peoria. Despite Chicago, just three hours up the road, this Central Illinois town has become a golfer’s paradise in the Land of Lincoln.
In addition to its 11 golf courses, Peoria boasts the famous Peoria Zoo, The Museum Block, which features the Riverfront Museum, Dome Planetarium and Caterpillar World Visitors Center (although the company moved out of the city in 2017) and the Peoria Santa Claus Parade, the oldest holiday parade in America.
With one golf course for every 10,262 Peorians, this heartland college town’s greens can be at your doorstep for just $654 on average for a one-bedroom apartment.
9. Salt Lake City, UT
As the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Salt Lake City region is as known for skiing, snowboarding and sledding as much as it is for the Tabernacle Choir and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters. Despite its proximity to eight winter resorts (including Park City and Alta), it’s the warm weather sport of golf that’s making the SLC a summer hotspot.
With 21 courses throughout the Salt Lake Valley, the Deseret can hold its own as a golf sanctuary despite a links season half as long as its Florida and California counterparts. And if you’re looking for something special, a destination those Sunbelt states can’t compete with is the Mountain Dell Golf Course, a 36-hole vista 6,000 feet above sea level on the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains.
Salt Lake offers a golf course for every 9,550 residents. But this combination of summers on the fairway and winters on the slopes will cost you an average of $1,362 a month for a one-bedroom.
8. Temecula, CA
About halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the Inland Empire city of Temecula is a perfect mountain valley getaway for California coastals. Nestled among the San Bernardino, San Gabriel and San Jacinto Mountains, Temecula has a long history as a tourist and resort destination.
The region features attractions and activities including the Temecula Valley Wine Country growing region, Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, Polo Club, International Film Festival, Old Town downtown district, Pechanga Resort & Casino and a number of public and private golf courses.
But why drive the hour-plus from the Pacific coast when you can live among Temecula’s 39 parks, 22 miles of hiking and biking trail and 12 golf courses, one for every 9,527 inhabitants. It might be a golfer’s paradise, but it will cost you, with a one-bedroom unit running $1,613 on average per month.
7. Saint Paul, MN
Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the capital city of the continental U.S.’s northernmost state. But beyond the 10,000 frozen lakes and high school hockey tournaments is one of America’s golf magnets.
While Saint Paul might sit in the shadow of its more-famous Twin City neighbor to the west, the town formerly known as Pig’s Eye has become its own major league city as home to both the NHL’s Wild and the MLS’ Minnesota United.
But it’s the climate that makes it an excellent golf destination in the warmer months, with an average summer high temperature of just 82 degrees with low humidity, well more tolerable than the scorching heat in the South. This combined with year-round events such as the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and Minnesota State Fair makes Saint Paul attractive to new citizens, especially the patriated Hmong settlers from Southeast Asia, which now make up nearly 10 percent of the population.
Thirty-three golf courses dot Saint Paul, which is one per 9,292 residents. And an average one-bedroom apartment here comes in at $1,321 a month.
6. Orlando, FL
The recipe of why Orlando is one of the top golf cities in America isn’t complicated. Combine ample space, throngs of tourists, 145,000 hotel rooms and warm year-round summer-like temperatures and you’ve got a golf lover’s dream.
Orlando features a whopping 31 golf courses – that’s one for every 9,041 folks who have made the city their happiest place on earth full-time. Disney itself has four courses on their properties, and Universal Resorts offers their guests access to courses at Grand Cypress and Windermere Country Clubs, plus clubs, balls and transportation for foursomes.
In a tourist-heavy market in a tourist-heavy state, a number of available rental units are in use for short-term or seasonal occupancy, keeping demand for permanent space and lease prices high. Whether permanent or periodic, $1,385 a month will snag you an average one-bedroom rental.
5. Springfield, IL
If you thought Peoria was an odd place for a golf haven, wait until you see its capital city neighbor to the south. Springfield is, of course, best known as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln’s political career, a fact which Barack Obama knew well when he announced his candidacy for President on the grounds of the Old State Capital in 2007.
Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield long before golf was widely-known in America, but the town itself, with its flat Plains topography, moderate summer temperatures and state capital infrastructure, has become a popular spot to hit the links.
It features 13 courses, one for every 8,836 Springfieldian, surely including a gaggle of state Representatives and Senators and their lobbyists. And to live near where Lincoln did for a quarter-century, it will run you a monthly average of $680 for a one-bedroom unit.
4. Dayton, OH
Manufacturing, shipping and industrial engineering. Insurance, legal and healthcare. And, of course, aviation and aerospace. As a central location between Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis and sitting within 500 miles of about 60 percent of the nation’s population, it’s no wonder Dayton has so many industries. And that diversity in the workforce has led to a golf explosion in the Miami Valley among CEOs and salespeople alike.
Dayton contains 17 golf courses, one per each of 8,257 residents. And they aren’t your average public courses, as the city’s greens have hosted a bevy of big-time events, including the 1945 PGA Championship at Moraine Country Club, the 1957 PGA at Miami Valley Golf Club and the 1969 PGA at NCR Country Club, which also hosted the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2005 Senior Open.
From dignitaries visiting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to business titans out with a foursome, golf is pervasive in Dayton. And an average one-bedroom in the Gem City leases for $808 a month.
3. Lakeland, FL
The largest city between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland is known for its — well — lakes. In fact, within its 75 square miles, there are 38 named lakes and many more unnamed. That’s not great news for golfers who tend to spend a lot of time in water hazards.
While beaches and high-rises fill the peninsulas and harbors of Tampa and St. Petersburg, Lakeland’s open spaces make it an ideal getaway community for Tampa Bay and Central Florida fairway hackers.
But unlike many of its Florida neighbors, Lakeland is not a resort town. Instead, it’s had a history in the citrus, cattle and phosphate mining industries, and as a shipping and transportation hub.
The town offers Florida weather, an abundance of water sports and Detroit Tigers’ spring training to go along with its 16 golf courses, one for every 6,753 citizens. Whether you’re a FedEx logistics worker or a Detroit Tigers’ rookie, you’ll still be paying $876 a month for an average one-bedroom.
2. Scottsdale, AZ
Forty-two. That’s how many golf courses exist within the city limits of Scottsdale. That’s a lot of links. But Scottsdale isn’t just golf, nor is it a sleepy retirement community.
“Downtown Scottsdale is turning into a desert version of Miami’s South Beach. No ocean, of course, but plenty of late-night partying and a buzzing hotel scene,” boasts the New York Times. As well, the city’s Airpark district contains 2,600 businesses and more than 55,000 employees surrounding one of the busiest single-runway airports in America.
Upon its founding a mere 65 years ago, a time when many of its current residents were already alive, Scottsdale had a mere 2,000 residents. Flash forward to today, and that figure has risen to nearly a quarter-million. And in the evening after a long workday or the morning after a long night out, those residents need a respite, which they can find at all those golf courses, one for every 5,951 people.
A fast-growing hub for tech workers, active seniors and golf enthusiasts, a one-bedroom unit in Scottsdale isn’t cheap, going for a monthly average of $1,487.
1. West Palm Beach, FL
While its namesake beach sits along the Atlantic Ocean barrier island across the Intracoastal Waterway, the proper inland of West Palm Beach is a Florida resort town of the highest degree.
The city of 100,000 is a hub of culture, recreation and relaxation. The vibrant arts community includes the Norton Museum of Art, the largest art museum in Florida, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the historic Carefree Theatre.
The annual SunFest music festival has been held in West Palm for more than 35 years, featuring acts from The Beach Boys to James Brown to Ed Sheeran. The east coast version of the famed Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction attracts more than 50,000 attendees to bid on nearly 500 classic cars.
Both the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals hold spring training here, and WPB’s Antique Row was named one of Condé Nast Traveler‘s best shopping destinations in the U.S.
And then there’s golf. West Palm Beach bills itself as “Florida’s Golf Capital.” The city features 23 golf courses, one for every 4,792 residents, including several designed by Jack Nicklaus and the private 27-hole Trump International Golf Club.
Additionally, the PGA National Resort & Spa, just north of town in Palm Beach Gardens, offers five 18-hole courses, including “The Champion,” which has hosted the Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship, 19 Senior Championships and the annual Honda Classic. Overall, the entire Palm Beach region contains more than 160 courses to choose from.
From the high-rises overlooking the ocean to complexes across the lakes, West Palm Beach isn’t a cheap place to live. An average one-bedroom apartment here runs an average of $1,636 a month.
The back 40
There are many other great golf cities in America, from posh New England hamlets to California coastal towns. Searching for more cities where you can get your foursome on? You’ll find a number of surprising rankings up and down our list of the 50 best cities for golf lovers.
|Rank||City||State||Golf Courses||Population||Per Capita|
|1||West Palm Beach||FL||23||110,222||4,792|
|9||Salt Lake City||UT||21||200,544||9,550|
|38||Port Saint Lucie||FL||11||189,344||17,213|
Cities with the most overall golf courses (Population over 100,000)
Need to play a different course every week? If you’re looking for the cities with the most overall public and private golf courses, here are the top 10 for sheer volume.
Cities that missed the cut (Population under 100,000)
There are a handful of notable golf cities not included in our analysis because of their population. Here are the top 10 cities with less than 100,000 people ranked by the total number of golf courses.
|9||Hilton Head Island||SC||23|
We took cities with populations more than 100,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau July 2018 estimates and used more than 8 million commercially available business listings to add up the number of golf courses with a mailing address in each city. We then divided each city’s population by this total to determine a ratio of the number of golf courses for each resident to come up with a quantitative ranking. These listings may not reflect recent course openings or closings.
The rent information included in this article is based on June 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.