Timeframe for 18 Holes of Golf: Including Par 3 & 9

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Golf is a great pastime that millions of golfers enjoy each year. A warm day and a golf course is something that people look forward to when they think of a round of golf.

However, something that often puts people off is the fact that they don’t know how long a round of golf takes. The thought of spending hours out of their day at a golf course can be enough to put some people off if they have a busy weekend.

If you’ve got a round of golf coming up you may be asking yourself ‘how long does 18 holes of golf take?’ If this is you then you’re in the right place as in this guide we will be exploring how long a full round at a golf course takes and also what contributes to the length of a round of golf as well as several different ways that you can speed up a round of golf.

How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

For a foursome consisting of four average golfers, golfing 18 holes takes about four hours. In terms of measuring the length of an 18 hole round, an average minutes per hole of a par 4 hole will take around 15 minutes for a group of amateurs to complete. There are several things that will affect this such as the golfers skill level, how busy the golf course is, whether you are using a cart or not and how long the course is.

What Key Factors Affect Golf Pace Of Play?

There are several key factors that affect the pace of play at golf courses. These are the size of the group, what type of round is being played, which tee boxes are being used, the playing ability of the golfers, how busy the course is, and also the golf course conditions. These all have an effect on how long both 9 and 18 holes of golf take.

Group Size

The time it will take a foursome to play a round will clearly be longer than it would take you a twosome or threesome going around 18 holes on a golf course. The real problem lies in the poorly managed mix of these various groups throughout the day. 

Scoring Type

Choosing what type of scoring game to play on any given day determines how fast the game will move. The slowest golf game by scoring type is stroke play, in which golfers need to finish every hole to submit a score.

By contrast, foursomes, in which partners alternate shots or other formats such as a golf scramble, are the most expedient as they require less total strokes. 

Tee Times & Tee Boxes

If there is only one tee to tee off from and there are golfers with a difference in skill level then this can affect the length of a round of golf. This is because the distances may be too short or too long depending on who is teeing off.

Additionally, if golfers are playing a tournament where there is a set tee time from the first hole then it will take longer to complete compared to a shotgun start.

Your Golf Handicap

Playing ability and USGA golf handicap is important when it comes to considering how long a golf round takes. Average players and especially beginner golfers will take much longer than professional golfers due to more errors and shots needed during a round as they may still be coming to terms with the fundamentals of the golf swing.

Waiting For Groups

Courses can easily become overcrowded if there has been bad planning in terms of how much distance there is between the tee off times of groups on a golf course. However, a round will be much quicker on an empty golf course.

Rough Length

A long rough can be a cause of slow play since long stretches are spent searching for balls in severe rough. Even if balls are not lost, long grass can hinder chipping as it can make reaching the green difficult, or even require two or three attempts.

Cart Vs Walking

Golf carts allow you to get to your golf ball and find where it has landed much more efficiently than if you are walking. This will have an effect on the time it takes to complete 18 holes of golf compared to if you are walking or even carrying your bag.

How Do I Play Golf Faster?

Below we cover some of our top tips for speeding up the average playing time of your round of golf no matter whether you are playing alone or in a group.

Use A Golf Cart 

So many golfers will carry their bags throughout the 18 holes instead of using a golf cart. This will add time during a round due to walking with heavy equipment oppose to having the luxury that a car can bring. It will not only help to speed up your pace of play but also allow you to play better as you won’t get tired as quickly (TorontoGolfNuts).

Play With Gimmes

You may want everybody in your group to putt out a hole completely but it is something that can suck time out of a round. You can save abit of time on each hole by incorporating gimmes where close range putts are given.

Play Your Ball When You Get To It

Speed golf can be achieved by ensuring that all golfers play their shots when they arrive at the golf ball instead of playing golf the traditional way where the player farthest to the hole will go first. This term is called ready golf and will help to improve average playing times and the time between holes (USGA).

Play Without A Break

Many golfers like to take a break at the clubhouse after 9 holes of a full round to spread out their round and take a break, however skipping a break after 9 holes will cut your total round time. Despite having the ability to recharge your batteries during a round it certainly can add a significant amount of time to round.

Tee Selection

Playing from the right tee box for you is important to save time. Too often we see short hitters try to play a round from the back tee box like they are a PGA Tour professional. In the end you will waste time, make scoring difficult and it will reduce your enjoyment if you play from a tee that isn’t suitable for you.

Shot Accuracy

Shot accuracy can be important. This is because you can spend a significant amount of time looking for lost balls either in the rough or out of bounds in hazards such as water or trees. Accurate golf shots will result in faster rounds. It is worth remembering that you should only spend 3 minutes looking for a ball that has been hit out of bounds (RandA).

In Summary: How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take?

As you can see from the above, there are a range of factors that can affect how long it takes to play 18 holes of golf. Playing partners, weather conditions, and course difficulty all factor into this. Depending on your skill level and the position of the ball, the length of a round can also be affected.

Even though the average time of a round of golf is 4 hours for an average golfer. It will be more if you do things which contribute to a long round and it can be much less if you take on board some best practices which can speed up a round of golf.