Ranking of the 50 states based on handicap

The USGA recently released its annual rankings based on the average handicap of golfers in each of the 50 U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico and the Federal District of Washington, D.C. This ranking offers some interesting surprises

by Andrea Gussoni
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Ranking of the 50 states based on handicap
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Mulholland / Stringer

The USGA recently released its annual rankings based on the average handicap of golfers in each of the 50 U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico and the Federal District of Washington, D.C. This ranking offers some interesting surprises.

Golf handicap

Let's start at the bottom of the ranking, where one of the biggest surprises lies. In last place, with an average handicap of 20.0, is Florida. Yes, you read that correctly. The state with the most golf courses in the entire Union, with more than 1,150 courses as of the latest update (out of a total of about 17,000 nationwide), has such a low average level of play.

Florida, which hosts some of the PGA Tour's biggest tournaments, including The Players Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is the fourth most populated state in the United States but appears to have many players who are in the downturn of their game.

In contrast, Georgia, which has 423 golf courses, including the famous Augusta National Golf Club, is only 10th in the rankings with an average handicap of 14.3. Despite having one of the most iconic courses in the world, Georgia's average level of play is significantly surpassed by some other states.

At the top of the ranking we find Mississippi, which despite only having 161 active courses, has the best players in the nation, with an average handicap of 11.16. Interestingly, although Mississippi has proven to have top-level players, the PGA Tour will not make a stop in this state this year, forgoing the birthplace of amateur golf in the United States.

The Rules of Golf are a set of standard rules and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played. They are jointly written and administered by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the governing body of golf throughout the world, outside of the United States and Mexico, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Golf Association.

An expert commission made up of members of the R&A and USGA oversees and refines the rules every four years. The latest revision is effective January 1, 2016. Changes to the rules of golf generally fall into two main categories: those that improve understanding and those that in certain cases reduce penalties to ensure balance.

The rule book, entitled "Rules of Golf", is published on a regular basis and also includes rules governing amateur status. In Italy it is up to Federgolf to supervise the competitions by enforcing the rules issued by the R & A, checking that these rules are observed by the Clubs, Associations and their members and managing the resulting sporting justice, protecting their interests abroad.

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