Sorry, golf fanatics, but it seems New Orleans and Metairie are far from golf utopia. LawnStarter's recent study titled "2021's Best Cities for Golfers in the U.S." ranked 200 cities on a scale of "golfer-friendliness." We're sure many of you are absolutely cordial while out on the green. In this case, however, golfer-friendly refers to "factors like weather, number of golf courses, and access to equipment." You know, the components that make the outdoor sport of golf playable and accessible. We hate to break it to you, but it turns out neither NOLA nor Metairie are on par with other U.S. cities.
Scroll down, down, down the study's list of city rankings and, eventually, you will find New Orleans at 177th, sandwiched between Madison and Fayetteville. A bit below there, Metairie stands in a pitiful 196th place. If it's any consolation, Metairie, at least y'all are still ahead of Shreveport and Mobile. Not that this is a competition or anything. As for the best cities for golfers, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, and New York City come out on top. We shudder to think of how much rent costs for a Manhattan course, but believe it or not, NYC ranks in the top five cities with the most golf courses. They've got to be counting Yonkers, which feels like cheating, but we'll be good sports about that call.
One of the most noticeable points that drag down our scores in "golfability" is our abundant rainfall. Those sublime showers that overtake our cities aren't ideal when it comes to a game of golf. New Orleans appears side-by-side with Miami, Pembroke Pines, Metairie, and Mobile in a five-way tie for most monthly precipitation in inches. "Climate is one of the most important factors in determining a city's golfability," Ryan Plank, a freelance writer who wrote about the survey for LawnStarter, said. "If the place is too hot, too cold, or too wet too often, playing the game becomes untenable." Ah, yes. There's no infographic showing heat statistics, but we won't deny the scorching power of a Louisiana summer.
In addition to heat and rain, LawnStarter evaluated a total of 13 key metrics. They considered the number of courses, driving ranges, practice facilities, golf tournaments and tours, and the number of golf specialty stores. Even in the age of one-click shopping and next day delivery, Plank explained, "An abundance of golf stores means a strong community of golfers to support them." So maybe Metairie residents prefer passing their weekend afternoons fishing or sailing? Who's to say if golf failed us or if we failed it first. That conversation feels muddy, so let's just go back to blaming the weather.
On the next rainy Louisiana day, may we suggest that golf fans turn to Shakespeare? An article in Golf.com notes that "Shakespeare had an intimate knowledge of the game," and references to the sport appear in Titus Andronicus, Richard III, Henry VI, and The Tempest. If Shakespeare isn't your thing, golf history is full of surprises. In another Golf.com story, Maggie Lagle, a historian at the United States Golf Association, explained what we know of the sport from 16th-century writing. "[The townspeople] would just go play golf and bring their goat with them and let them go mow the grass," Lagle said. Now that's a great mental image.