Quick quiz: which American state has the most avid golfers?
It's not any of the usual-suspect golf hotbeds of Florida, California, Texas or the Carolinas.
If you go by frequency of Google searches related to golf (a pretty good indicator of how often people are thinking about the game), it's Minnesota, which kind of makes perfect sense.
With long, cold winters and a relatively short but mostly glorious golf season - balmy weather and long daylight hours abound - Minnesota is the type of place where golfers are especially eager to play tons of golf.
And you could argue no one has taken better advantage than 74-year old Dick Montroy. KARE, an NBC affiliate in the Twin Cities, reports Montroy recently completed his lifelong quest to play all 582 golf courses in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Montroy plays all 582 golf courses in Minnesota
Montroy is in good company. Fellow Minnesotan Art Hennington completed a similar quest of his own in 2014.
There's a bit of a discrepancy here: Montroy's course number is 582 while Hennington's is 526. Hennington was going off of the Minnesota Golf Association's directory, and such lists can count 27-hole facilities differently or leave out executive or pitch-and-putt-courses. Also, both men would have played (or not made it in time to) a number of courses that no longer exist. Nevertheless, theirs is a shared accomplishment that puts them in rarefied air, even among the most passionate players.
Minnesota is not the only state with golf course completists. Just next door, Wisconsin's own H. John Krueger earned recognition last year for playing all of the Badger state's 547 courses. Vic Nunan, of Kennebunk, Maine, completed his 137-course quest in 2013. In 2016, Tennessee's Colin Brathwaite rounded out his own pursuit of the Volunteer State's 235 18-hole courses, which represent just a fraction of the more than 1,600 courses he's played worldwide.
I recently started backfilling a list of courses I've played in my life, and I've just surpassed the 400-course mark. I know of 64 courses I've played in Connecticut where I grew up, leaving me still more than 100 courses short of completion. My current home state of Florida is home to more than 1,000 courses; I'm not optimistic that I'll play them all, but I do anticipate building substantially on the 86 Sunshine State courses I've played in the coming years.
My colleague Jason Deegan has an impressive resume in his own right. A native of Michigan, he's played more than 200 courses in the state where he grew up, "which probably puts me in the top 5-10 for Michiganders," he says.