Sunday rain

Volunteer Ben Pfeffer removes water from the bunker on the 1st hole during the rain delay on the last round of BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club, in Lake Forest, Ill., on Sunday. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune / September 15, 2013)

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In golf terms, 2013 may go down as a “whiff.”

Interest in golf began to surge in 2011 and 2012, after a drop during the Great Recession.

Golf is closely tied to the highs and lows of the economy because it is the most popular pastime of business travelers, according to surveys.

But a series of storms that battered the Midwest and the East Coast in 2013 was largely to blame for keeping many golfers off the greens last year.

On average, golf courses nationwide were open 268 days in 2013, down an average of 10 days from 2012, according to a report by the PGA of America. That resulted in a 5% drop in the number of golf rounds played last year, the report said.

“When you compare apples to apples, it all has to do with the weather,” said Paul Metzler, senior director of research and industrial relations for the PGA.

Only California and Washington reported an increase in the average number of days golf courses were open and rounds were played last year, compared to 2012, the report said.

“In the Pacific and the Northwest, you guys have not gotten much, if any, precipitation,” he said.

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