Mark Twain once wrote: "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are pliable." The message here is that numbers can be bent and twisted to mean just about anything.
Take golf for example.
Rounds played in July were up 1 percent compared with the same month in 2013, according to Golf Datatech's monthly rounds played report. The reason for the slight uptick primarily is weather, which often is cited as a barrier or bridge to the game.
Golf playable hours, Pellucid Corporation's measure of the daylight hours in which one could play golf factored against climatological influences, such as wind, rain, snow and severe cold, also were up by 1 percent. So, despite the good news about a marginal bump in rounds played, golfer demand really was just keeping up with the weather.
According to Pellucid's Jim Koppenhaver, July was the fifth consecutive month of overall favorable weather nationwide. Still, July was only the second time in that period where there was a positive year-over-year increase in rounds played. The result: all that favorable weather aside, rounds played are down by about 1.5 percent for the year.
Those darned statistics.
As a matter of fact, rounds played were up in 28 states and down in 21 others, according to Datatech. The study, which does not include Alaska, is based on self-reported statistics from 3,600 private and daily fee facilities.
The greatest gains were made throughout the South. Mississippi had the highest year-over-year increase at 19 percent, followed by Kentucky (15 percent), Tennessee (13 percent) and Georgia (10 percent).
The most significant drops in rounds played occurred in Arkansas (down 13 percent) and Nebraska (down 11 percent).
Twain also penned another quote that though it was surely never meant to refer to golf, lends itself nicely to the game's inexorable link to the weather: "The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it."