Where do the best golfers live? Have any guesses?
Last month, we broached the relationship between a golfer’s handicap and actual score.
This time, we’re investigating which state (or region) has the best golfers based on TheGrint’s user database.
QUICK HANDICAP RECAP
A player’s handicap is NOT simply their average score. In reality, a handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. In fact, a golfer should only beat his/her handicap index once every four or five rounds.
More specifically, the current index formula uses the average differential (adjusted gross score minus the USGA Course Rating) of the golfer’s best eight differentials from the most recent 20 rounds played. Once you start digging into the math a bit, it’s easy to see why golfers might prefer to think of a handicap as an average score.
DATA FROM THEGRINT
Quick refresher: TheGrint is an app-based handicap tracker with a multitude of on-course and community features. In addition, TheGrint’s platform interfaces directly with the USGA handicap system.
The following graphs leverage performance metrics from TheGrint’s database.
- Pennsylvania had the lowest handicap.
- New Hampshire had the highest handicap.
- The handicap range for this region is 1.63.
- Arkansas had the lowest handicap.
- Delaware had the highest handicap.
- The handicap range for this region is 5.61.
- The “best” state in the Northeast would rank third from last in the Southwest, sitting between Florida and Washington DC.
- Iowa had the lowest handicap.
- South Dakota had the highest handicap.
- The handicap range for this region is 2.96.
- The Midwest is the only region with more than four states, none of which has an average handicap higher than 15.
- Oklahoma had the lowest handicap.
- New Mexico had the highest handicap.
- The handicap range for this region is 3.25.
- Oklahoma has the lowest handicap of any state.
- Utah had the lowest handicap.
- Washington had the highest handicap.
- The handicap range for this region is 3.24.
- Only four states have a higher average handicap than the least-populated state (Wyoming).
LEFT TO PONDER
“There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Mark Twain (and a bunch of other people)
The point is that numbers always tell us something while never telling us absolutely everything.
With that, here are some questions to chew on:
- Is there a correlation between the number of rounds played in each state/region and handicap?
- How do you think the data might change if looked at a breakdown by age?
- What might happen to the rankings if we were to include professional and amateur golfers?
All answers, theories and comments welcome!
9 months ago
This explains John Daly… All kidding aside, there has to be a little correlation related to access to public golf (or lack thereof) and how much golf can be played year round. vs. seasonally. The lowest Handicap states predominantly have private clubs and folks can play 10+ months/year.