Number of Players With a Handicap Index® Tops 3 Million: Stats and Trends From 2022JANUARY 24, 2023 | LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.By Danny Vohden
Florida topped the list of states where the most rounds were posted. (USGA/Robert Beck)
Golfers with a Handicap Index®: 3,026,528
The number of golfers in the U.S. with a Handicap Index eclipsed the 3 million mark for the first time in 2022 as the year-over-year trajectory pointed upward for the third consecutive year. The growth represents a 16 percent increase since 2020 when the total surpassed 2.5 million.
The average Handicap Index for golfers remained steady year-over-year at 14.1 for men and 28.0 for women.
Rounds Posted: 75,560,694
For the third straight year, more than 74 million rounds were posted in the U.S. in 2022. The total represents a slight downtick from the 77 million total posted in 2021, fueled by the “COVID-era” surge but marks an increase of nearly 1.5 million from 2020.
The number of 9-hole scores eclipsed the 11 million mark for the second straight year and set a three-year high at 11,913,158, making up 15 percent of all rounds posted for the year. There were 11,534,865 9-hole rounds posted in 2021.
The frequency of 9-hole play has also increased for male and female players for the third straight year. In 2020, 25.1% of all rounds posted by women were 9-hole rounds compared with 27.6% in 2022. For men, 11.5% of scores posted were for 9 holes in 2020 compared with 13.5% in 2022.
Date with most rounds played: June 18
Golfers across the country must have been inspired by Will Zalatoris and eventual champion Matt Fitzpatrick’s climb to the top of the leader board at The Country Club on U.S. Open Saturday as the day saw the most rounds posted in 2022.
The dates with the most rounds posted in 2021 and 2020 were May 15 and July 3, respectively.
Most 18-hole rounds by individual golfer: 541 male, 414 female
The 541 rounds played by an individual male surpassed the mark of 528 set in 2021, as did the number set by a female, up from 325.
State with the most rounds played: Florida, 10,022,137
No other state besides Florida had 10 million rounds posted, though California was a close second at 9,027,345. No other state was even in the neighborhood; Texas and Arizona unsurprisingly rounded out the top four while New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were the only “cold-weather states” in the top 10.
In 2020, 25.1% of all rounds posted by women were 9-hole rounds compared with 27.6% in 2022. (USGA/Robert Beck)
Number of golfers who established a Handicap Index: 419,941 (Male: 349,564; Female: 70,377)
More than 400,000 new golfers signed up for a Handicap Index for the third straight year. The average Index for those new golfers was 15.6 for males and 31.7 for females (both higher than the average Handicap Index for all golfers of 14.1 for men and 28.0 for women).
Total number of rounds posted by golfers who established a Handicap Index: 6,313,477
First-time Handicap Index users accounted for 8 percent of all rounds posted.
Frequency of 9-hole rounds played by golfers who established a Handicap Index: 24.6%
First-time Handicap Index users are playing 9 holes at a higher rate than existing ones. Specifically, males who signed up for a Handicap Index for the first time played 9 holes 21.7% of the time (compared with the overall average of 13.5%), while female golfers played 9 holes 45.7% of the time (compared with the overall average of 27.6%).
*Data is based on golfers in the United States with a Handicap Index
For the third straight year, more than 400,000 new golfers signed up for a Handicap Index in 2022. (USGA/Robert Beck)