The National Golf Foundation just announced the “golfiest” state in America. And naturally it’s…Iowa? What in the name of Ray Kinsella is going on here? Or there?
The NGF used nine criteria to arrive at this eyebrow-raising claim, among them Rounds per Golfer (RPG), Playable Months, Affordable Golf, Ranges and Crowdedness. Iowa's population of just over 3 million helps with that RPG. Affordable? Tough to beat deals like the one offered by the Dougusta Par 3 Golf Course in Webster City, where two-for-one Monday golf costs $9 for you and a buddy to take on the 1,276-yard layout.
But the NGF also factored in High Interest and High Passion (Arizona and South Carolina led the way in the latter category). Sure, major wins by natives Jack Fleck (1955 U.S. Open) and Zach Johnson (2007 Masters) must have generated a lot of interest for Iowa golf fans, but do the long, cold winters make Iowans more passionate about their shorter season? The NGF must think so. But doesn't that hurt the state in the Playable Months category? Ah, never mind.
The rest of the top 10? North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Sounds like a new college football conference.
Nothing against the wonderful world of Hawkeye golf, but if I were North Carolina, South Carolina or Florida, I might just go balata over not earning the title.