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Golf is a sport that requires not only skill but time and patience. Even for the experienced golfers amongst us, an 18-hole course can take upwards of 4 hours, so what are we supposed to do if we simply don’t have the time.
Many of us decide to play a 9-holes. A 9-hole course is a great way to get some time on the links. It gives us an opportunity to hone our skills or simply have some fun, but how long should it take?
It can be hard to calculate exactly how long you should be on the course, with factors such as skill level, and course type playing a major part. This can lead many to wonder just how good their pace of play is.
If you find yourself wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, you will learn everything you need to know regarding how long a 9-hole course should take. By the end, you should have a better understanding of how you perform and how long you should be out on the course.
How Long Does It Take To Play A 9-Hole Round?
How long it takes a golfer to play a 9-hole round of golf depends on a number of factors. However, on average most rounds usually take half the amount of time of an 18-hole course.
Generally, a golfer will take approximately four hours to finish an 18-hole course. Obviously, this could be longer or shorter depending on the skill level of the golfer.
With this in mind, we can expect golfers to complete a 9-hole round of golf in approximately two hours.
Golfers who have little time prefer this style of play. You can expect the time it takes to play a 9-hole round of golf to drop if you are playing on your own or with just one or two partners.
This pace can also be affected if there are more players. For example, two golfers will get around the course quicker than four or five.
If a group of golfers consisted of averagely skilled players, they may finish each hole in less than 15 minutes. This is considered to be the average duration it takes to play a hole across most golf courses.
To get to the total time of two and a half hours, we have to take a lot of things into consideration. This includes preparation of the shots, tee shots, approaching the shot, break times, etc.
It is once all of these factors are added together that we get to a time of about two hours.
In the next part of this blog, we will look at the factors that affect our pace time in more detail, looking at what they are and how much impact they can have on your round of golf.
Factors That Will Determine Your Pace Of Play
Every round of golf you play could be shorter or longer depending on a number of key factors. Here are some of the most common factors that will influence the time it takes you to finish 9-holes.
Golfer’s Skill Level
Arguably the biggest factor that determines how long it takes a golfer to play 9 holes is their overall golfing ability.
Strangely, a lot of golf analysts don’t take the golfer’s ability and experience into account when determining the time it takes them to finish 9 holes.
This is crazy because it plays a huge part in the matter. Golfers with a higher skill level and more experience have the ability to play a lot faster than players with little experience or ability.
You wouldn’t expect a golfer who only picked up the club a week ago to finish a round in the same time as Tiger Woods, so why analysts disregard this is mind-blowing.
Although in practice, many good golfers actually play slower than average players. This paradox is usually explained by the fact that some good players will take more serious and deliberate consideration for each shot.
The Size & Difficulty Of The Course
If you’re a big golf lover you will already know how much golf courses vary. Every course we play is different from the last one. Some are larger with more area to cover, while some are only small.
As a result of this, it is completely natural for a course that is larger to take longer to complete. In fact, the land area of a golf course is a crucial factor in timing any round of golf.
Typically, a par-3 golf course will take just 1-1.5 hours to finish. On the other hand, a regulation 9-hole golf courses with a total range of 3,000 to 3,500 yards will take two hours to finish.
How You Get Around The Course
Most golfers choose to walk across the course as they play instead of using a golf cart service. Other golfers decide to use the cart service so that instead of stretching their legs they can finish the hole as fast as possible.
Studies have shown that golfers who use the cart service for a 9-hole round of golf finish after approximately two hours. Golfers who choose to walk should also be able to finish in the same time.
It is worth noting that on par-3 type courses golf cart services are often not available.
The Golf Clubs You Decide To Use
No matter what level of golfer you are, having a set of golf clubs that matches your ability is vital when it comes to finishing your round of golf with a good pace of play.
Playing with a set of clubs that helps enhance your overall performance can easily cut several minutes off your overall round time.
Another thing that will impact the time it takes to play is the order of your chosen clubs. If your bag isn’t organized and your clubs are just thrown in the bag, you will be delayed when it takes longer to find the club you want to use.
The Size Of Your Group
To put it simply, the more players there are in a group of golfers, the longer it will take to finish a 9-hole round of golf.
If speed is important to you or if you’re in a rush, playing a single round or in a twosome is the best thing to do. This will give you the best chance of finishing 9-holes in an appropriate amount of time.
How To Speed Up Your Golf Pace Of Play
If you want to speed up your pace of play, you don’t want to miss the next part of this article. There are a wide variety of different things you can do to speed up your 9-hole round of golf.
Luckily, for us most of them are very straightforward, helping us to keep things moving quickly on the course.
Here are some of the most common things you can do to speed up your play and maybe finish 9 holes in less than two and a half hours.
Starting the round well is key to completing the round quickly. For starters, you should always be punctual.
Arriving at the first tee with an organized bag with the correct equipment is also a big must. By doing this you won’t waste any time trying to find the club you need, an extra ball, or a tee.
Play Ready Golf
If you’re playing in a group but still want to finish your 9 holes quickly you could always play a round of ready golf.
Ready golf works on the assumption that golfers play their shot as soon as they are ready, instead of who is further from the hole like in the traditional playing order golf format.
Over the course of 9 holes, this could potentially save you 15-minutes.
Use Cart Service
As we touched upon earlier in this article, using a cart service can save you a considerable amount of time on larger courses. Having said that, you still need to use the cart service effectively.
If you are playing in a group, drive up to your friend’s ball, drop them off, and then carry on to the next rider’s ball.
This will speed up play and ensure every golfer is ready to take their shot sooner, in turn reducing the waiting time between each shot.
It is possible to save a fair amount of time on the course by playing gimmes. Putts of 18 inches or less can be given and picked up right away. By not making the players in your group hole every putt, you could save 2 minutes on every hole easily.
20 Second Shot Limit
This may suit more skilled golfers more but if you can do it, you can save yourself a lot of time during your round. Always try to set yourself up and be ready to hit the ball within 20 seconds. This will keep things moving quicker.
It is important to not let your quality drop when playing like this. If you see a drop in your shot quality, trying another method from this list is a better idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Score Should I Be Hitting In 9 Holes?
A good score to hit on a 9-hole round depends on your skill level and personal targets, as well as the difficulty of the track. If you are a beginner, a score you are happy with will most likely be one a professional golfer would be devastated with.
Generally speaking though, a golf score on a 9-hole course is in the 40s is good. Good golfers will score in the 30s and beginners are likely to score in the 50s or even 60s.
How Long Is A 9-Hole Round Of Golf?
Usually, a round of golf that lasts 9 holes has a length of approximately three miles.
Who Should Play 9 Holes?
Absolutely anybody can play a 9-hole round of golf. There are perks to playing this style of golf that suit almost every type of golfer. For more experienced golfers it is the perfect way to hone your skills and work on a certain style of play.
For beginners, it is a far less daunting way to get yourself onto the course. This shorter format gives you the opportunity to become accustomed to how you play on a course without overwhelming you all at once.
For some of us, playing on a 9-hole course is great because it simply gives us the chance to get out on the course. Not all of us have the time to play a full 18, so being able to play 9 is awesome.
There you have it. If you didn’t know already, now you should definitely know how long it normally takes to complete a 9-hole round of golf.
While there are many factors such as skill level and course size that affect how long it takes to play a round of 9 holes, you can expect it to take approximately two hours for you to finish your round.
Now you have a better understanding of how long it takes, you no longer need to stay on the course too long when honing your skills.
Golfing a round of 9 holes takes a lot less time than an 18-hole course, which is ideal for players who are too busy or simply aren’t confident enough to take on the full course yet.
In the words of the USGA, “if you don’t have the time, play 9!”