The National Golf Foundation reports a 5.7% increase in golf rounds played in the United States in 2012. “The resulting increase of 26 million rounds takes the national total to about 490 million. Since rounds declined approximately 11% or 55 million during the past 10 years, 2012 alone recovers half of that dip.”

NGF further states, “Nearly every state experienced a gain versus 2011. The geographic engine for the improvement has been a huge section of the northern half of the country where average year-over-year growth was 9.5%, compared to 3.8% for the rest of the country. This area from the Dakotas to Vermont (technically, the North Central, North East Central and Mid-Atlantic regions) drove up the national numbers… mainly because 44% of all U.S. golf courses and 47% of America’s public golf courses are located there.

“Improved weather was the biggest influence on rounds played. PGA PerformanceTrak has reported a healthy 6.5% increase in playable days nationwide in 2012. Weather in the northern region of the country that drove up the national rounds played numbers was particularly favorable compared to 2011. Playable days in these states increased 13.6%, compared to 5.5% in the rest of the country.”

The complete news release, including an interactive map showing rounds played by state and area, can be found here.