How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newbie golfer who’s only just picked up the club, you’ve probably at some point wondered how long it should take you to get around an 18-hole course.

How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take

Working out how long it should take a golfer to finish a round of golf is actually quite hard to do. There are many things to consider that can play a big part in making your round take longer or shorter.

To make things even more interesting new rules were introduced in 2019 to improve the overall pace of play across all levels of the sport.

If you want to know how your pace of play matches up, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about average round times. We will look at what your pace of play depends on and how you can improve.

If this sounds intriguing to you, be sure to stick around.

How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take?

How long a full round of golf takes depends on a number of key factors, which we will discuss further down in this article.

Despite these factors playing a big part in our overall pace of play, there are some general averages we can discuss that give a general idea as to how long you could be on the course.

Generally, a group of golfers could expect to finish an 18-hole round of golf in approximately 4 hours. This will depend on the player’s skill level, the difficulty of the course, and the size of the course.

This figure could quite easily be more or less, with some courses even demanding that you finish your game within 3 hours 30 minutes.

To finish a round in 4 hours, it is assumed that players will take on average 12 to 13 minutes to complete a hole. Par-3’s should take roughly 10 minutes, par-4’s 13 minutes, and par-5’s 15 minutes.

Obviously, if you’re playing with three others the round will take longer, which is why we recommend playing on your own or with a skilled partner if you want to be quicker. A skilled twosome could finish an 18-hole course in almost 2 hours.

Factors That Will Affect Your Pace Of Play

Now we know how long it will roughly take you to complete an 18-hole round of golf, let’s take a look at the different factors that our pace of play is dependent on.

Number Of Players

As we mentioned it above, let’s start with how many people you have in your group. To put it simply a group of 4 players will take more time to play 18 holes than a single golfer. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be by much.

If the group of golfers is organized well and plays efficiently, long delays can be easily avoided. If you’re playing in an efficient group you can expect the round to still last 4 hours or so.

Skill Level

It will take golfers with less skill and ability longer to make their way around a golf course than it will a more experienced or professional golfer. Golfer’s with a higher skill level can even get around a full course in just 2 hours if they get everything right.

A less skilled golfer can still easily get around a course in 4 hours, but there’s no shame in taking 15 to 30 minutes longer.

Golf Course Size

One major factor that can play a part in how long it takes to golf 18 holes is the size of the course. Golf courses vary massively. Some are extremely long with severe roughs, whilst others are short and flat.

It is this difference in size that will determine how long it takes you to complete the course.

Typically, a par-3 will take 3 hours to complete. A course 6,000 yards in length could take 3.5 hours. Finally, a 7,000-yard course might take the full 4 hours. It may even take you slightly longer.

Organization Of Golf Clubs

If you don’t organize your golf bag you could waste valuable time at the first tee.

The last thing you want to do when you go to play a shot is start looking through your bag for the correct club. This makes each shot take longer, therefore giving you a longer pace of play.

If you organize your clubs in the correct order, you can swiftly select the right club and get on with your shot.

Distance Between The Greens And The Tees

Long cart drives or walks from the tees quickly add to the time it takes a golfer to complete the course. Golfer’s who want to finish a round of 18 the quickest should look for a course with the shortest walks.

The shorter distances are better when it comes to improving the pace of play.

If you choose to walk from hole to hole instead of driving, you could expect to see approximately 30 minutes added to your overall time.

Weather

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there, after booking our tee time the heavens have opened and things just aren’t pretty, and we don’t perform the way we know we can. Golf is already a difficult sport to play. Add some strong winds or rain into the mix and things get even harder.

A bad weather day can result in much poorer performance, which in turn results in it taking longer for us to complete the 18 holes.

Improving Your Pace Of Play

playing golf

Improving your pace of play isn’t as difficult as you may think. For starters, you don’t even need to improve your overall golfing ability. Below you will find the most common things you can do to finish a round of golf quicker.

Play On Your Own

By far the simplest way to reduce the length of time you spend on the course is to play on your own or in a twosome. This will massively reduce the waiting time between each shot.

Play Ready Golf

Ready golf simply means that as long as a player doesn’t disturb another golfer’s shot or compromise safety, they can go whenever they are ready instead of finding themselves waiting for the other golfers. This reduces the waiting time between shots and ensures every golfer follows a similar pace.

Get Yourself Organized

If you’re going to get around 18 holes in record time, you need to be super organized and ready to go as soon as you approach the first tee. Having all of your gear ready and organized in the correct place, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and deal with any unexpected problems easily.

Help Your Fellow Golfers

When playing in a group, it is always a good idea to watch your friend’s shots too. By doing so you can help the rest of your group find their balls quicker on the fairway. You could also help fill divots if needed.

These two things will help the game run smoother, saving valuable minutes across the course.

Play Gimmes

Playing gimmes will help save plenty of time in your round of 18. By not asking everyone in the group to putt every hole, you could quite easily save 2 or 3 minutes for every hole you play.

Use Your Golf Cart Effectively

Using a golf cart will save you 15 to 20 minutes when playing a full round of golf. A cart will save you even more time if you use it effectively.

Instead of driving to one player’s ball and waiting, why not drop them off and then continue to the next player’s ball.

By doing this there will be little waiting time between each shot and your round of Ready Golf will be able to continue.

Quick Stops

It isn’t uncommon to stop for a quick bite to eat or drink in the clubhouse after nine holes. If you want to complete your full 18 quicker though you will want to keep the time you spend here to a minimum.

If you need to visit the clubhouse try to spend no longer than 5 minutes. If you can go without then great, simply stay out on the course and finish your 18 holes first.

How Will New Rules Improve Pace of Play?

The new rules brought into golf will help reduce the pace of play massively. Below is how things will change and how it helps.

  • Search Time – The time by which a player can search for their ball has been cut by 40% to 3 minutes, saving valuable time when a group member loses their ball.
  • Putting With The Flagstick In The Hole – You can now putt with the flag still in the hole. This will eliminate the delays caused by removing and placing the flag back in the hole.
  • Pace Recommendations – The rules now recommend that players take their shot in at most 40 seconds. This will help the game move a lot quicker and ensure other players are ready to play.

Final Thoughts

Increasing your pace of play is a great way to develop your game and see how well you perform in comparison to others.

While a full 18 may take 4 hours to finish, with the introduction of new rules and by making positive changes to the way you play, you could be finishing your next round of golf in record time.

Now you have a greater understanding of how long it takes to finish 18 holes of golf, why not analyze your game and see what you could do to get even quicker.

By taking our points into consideration, you should see many positive changes in your game.

David Shelly
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