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STUDY SAYS: Gaylord Golf Mecca, Michigan, Top Summer Destination

By Greg Johnson

A new study by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) reveals that Michigan’s golf industry has an annual economic impact of $6.1 billion, which is a seriously big news number.

The new study also tells us something the Gaylord Golf Mecca has been telling us in its cooperative marketing for 37 years. The Mecca and northern Michigan make up America’s favorite summer golf destination.

Note, the study commissioned by the Michigan Golf Alliance reported more than 1.85 million golfers travel to Michigan for golf and spend more than $1 billion annually. These non-resident golfers account for about three of every 10 rounds in the state each year.

Only a handful of states have a larger proportion of annual rounds played by visitors, and they are the sunbelt states of Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and, the world-wide tourism destination, Hawaii. Those states, of course, have golf without a winter interruption instead of the five to six months when golf is enjoyed in Michigan.

The study also said only Florida, California and Texas (with golf facilities open year-round) have a higher volume of annual rounds played than Michigan, which had approximately 16.42 million rounds played in 2023.

And the NGF said outside of the coastal, warm weather states of Florida and California, it can be argued that no U.S. state has a more substantial footprint in the world of recreational golf. Michigan is 10th in the U.S. in size and 11th in population but ranks third in the total number of golf courses.

Of course, the Mecca has 16 courses and 20 lodging partners in the heart of the state surrounding the cozy community of Gaylord, which fits the state profile perfectly. The Mecca courses are also part of 859 courses overall in Michigan, and part of the most open-to-the-public golf courses of any state.

The numbers fit with our long, beautiful summer days on the edge of the Eastern Time Zone making us a better option than over-heated southern states. The Mecca and northern Michigan are clearly the place to be in the summer.

It’s also easier than ever to get to northern Michigan with the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City connecting directly to Texas, the East Coast and more.

The results of the NGF study are not a shocking surprise to those who welcome golfers each summer in the Mecca. The numbers the study produced are verification. The best place to golf during the summer months is northern Michigan, and specifically the Gaylord Golf Mecca because it offers the best quality and quantity among golf destinations at affordable prices.

Go to to learn more about us and book a trip to the country’s favorite summer golf destination.

We’ll see you this summer.

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