how.long does it take to play 18 holes of golf
- How long should each type of hole take?
- Things outside the control of golfers
- Things I can do that affect pace of play (speed things up)
- Being the group causing slow play
- Things you might not have considered
What is the most common method to sabotage your golfing experience? Slow down. Well maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s definitely near the top of the list. Golf courses hate slow play, we hate slow play.
The answer to how long a round of golf takes varies from course to course, day to day. There are other things to consider, but an average round lasts 4 hours and 30 minutes. A longer round of golf is considered slow day. A shorter round of golf indicates a faster tempo of play.
A game of golf is ruined by slow play. Aim to play in four hours or less, no matter what standards are.
A rule of thumb is that nine holes will take half the time of eighteen holes. Who would have guessed?
How long should each type of hole take?
The USGA tells us there are specifictime expectations based on par for the holeYou’re having fun. Par 3’s should take about 13 minutes, par 4’s 15 minutes, and par 5’s 17 minutes.
A standard course has four par 3’s, four par 5’s, and twelve par 4’s (an average of 15 minutes per hole). Add them together and you get 270 minutes, or four and a half hours.
Things outside the control of golfers
What makes a round shorter or longer?
People will fight about skill level, how long it takes to shoot a single shot, and, of course, difficulty. These factors are important, but not as much as how busy a course is.
No matter your playing partner or where you’re playing, groups ahead and behind you reigns supreme. Playing in four and a half hours on an empty golf course is very sluggish.
With a cart and no groups sandwiching you in, there’s no reason an average golfer can’t play a round in three and a half hours. Five-hour rounds are automatic if you have numerous groups walking ahead of you.
When you tee off is quite important in terms of tempo of play. You set the pace if you’re the first one off on the day. If you get the course going at a three and a half hour pace, it’s going to keep things moving for the day.
If you tee off around 1 pm, especially on the weekends when courses are most busy, pace will have slowed significantly from the morning. A tee time in the late afternoon implies a significantly longer round.
How much time do golf courses leave between tee times?
Tee times on most golf courses are between eight and twelve minutes apart. Contrary to what it might seem, pace of play tends to be quicker when you tee off twelve minutes apart compared to eight minute intervals.
Teeing off eight minutes behind the foursome ahead of you means you’ll be waiting on shots all day. Quick tee times also lead to bottlenecks, typically on a short stretch of a few difficult holes.
Tee times that are more evenly spaced allow for greater leniency on errant shots, misplaced balls, and other delays. You won’t wait as long for those ahead and those behind you won’t put as much pressure on you because there’s fewer golfers on the course.
The issue for golf course management is more golfers get on the course when tee time intervals are closer together. They may earn more money despite the slower pace of play.
How long does 18 holes take when you’re playing alone?
If you are walking alone, without any groups holding you back, anything over four hours is slow. Over three and a half minutes on a golf cart is excessive. Three hours is excellent.
When you’re golfing alone, you’re more inclined to hit more strokes and practice different techniques. This is when the tempo of play is less important. However, if you’re playing in front of a group and 18 holes of golf is taking as long as it would as part of a full group, you won’t make any friends.
How long does 18 holes take when you’re playing in a group?
When playing golf as a group, the average time is not multiplied by four times the time it takes to play alone. As someone plays their shot, you measure distance, pick out a club, and will be ready to hit your ball by the time the other lands.
If everyone does this, it’ll be about 20 seconds between shots and an extra two minutes or so per hole. Another instance of this is on the greens. You can still look from a couple of angles, but you can also get a read on your putt from someone else’s. A greater understanding of what your ball will do results in fewer putts and less time on the green.
Another advantage of playing in a foursome when you’re having a terrible day on the golf course is having four sets of eyes looking for your errant drives.
Things I can do that affect pace of play (speed things up)
How should I pick the tees I play?
Choosing the proper set of tees reduces the overall length of time required to play 18 holes of golf and will help you decrease your scores.
Multiply the distance you hit your 5-iron by 36 to help you choose a set of tees. If you hit your 5-iron 175 yards, the set of tees you are most likely to succeed with will play around 6300 yards.
This formula may be deceptive since it believes skill and distance are directly connected. Longer hitters may be a 25 handicapper even if they hit the ball 300 yards off the tee. If that’s the case, move yourself up a set of tees and ignore anyone telling you to move back. It may also be advisable to keep the driver in the bag. You’re already hitting the ball far, so choose a more precise club and watch your scores fall.
Golfers should cease referring to the tees with the lowest total yardage as the women tee. It comes with it the mistaken assumption that only inexperienced female golfers should use them. They are the forward tees, and they are designated for the players with the greatest scores—which have nothing to do with gender.
There are simply too many individuals who take satisfaction in playing the middle and back tees when they would do considerably better on the front tees. Also, don’t be scared to play from a different tee box than your group.
Balls are dropped. Professionals are not immune. If you’re a weekend golfer, it probably occurs a few of times each round. When this occurs, the game grinds to a halt. Knowing the rules for when this happens means keeping up with the group in front of you and not slowing your group or the course down.
If there are stakes in the area, the regulations are quite obvious. If it’s out of bounds or you just can’t find the ball, things are different.
After you get to the area you expect your ball to be, you have three minutes to search for it. You’ve misplaced your golf ball if it isn’t discovered within three minutes.
When you don’t hit a provisional ball there’s a different option many golfers don’t know about. An example of a good regulation adopted in recent years is analternative for stroke and distancewhen a ball is lost.
Determine if your ball was lost or went out of bounds.
- Find a direct line at the hole from this spot.
- Walk to the fairway’s edge, no closer to the hole, and locate the line straight to the hole again.
- Drop the ball anywhere between these two points, or within two club lengths closer to the fairway, and play on.
The fine is two strokes. For example, if you lose your drive, the next shot you hit will be your fourth.
This regulation does not apply when a ball is struck into a penalty area, which is a key difference. If your ball lands anyplace indicated by stakes, you must follow the rules for that sort of hazard. You cannot also utilize this rule if you hit a provisional ball.
Being the group causing slow play
Golf takes less time when you realize you’re not the only group playing a round of golf that day. The whole course benefits when you bear in mind that everyone wants to play quicker rounds.
Keeping things moving for everyone else is part of being a responsible golfer. When one group plays at a five-hour pace, the whole course grinds to a crawl. But, if the obscenely slow group happens to be thinking of others, they can maintain their pace without ruining everyone else’s round of golf.
Play ready golf when you are falling behind from the group ahead of you and the group behind you is waiting for you on every stroke.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: ready golf. Whoever is ready to take their shot goes first. Throwing away the typical traditions of golf, it does not matter who is closest or farthest away. If you are at your ball and ready before anyone else, it is your turn to hit.
Playing ready golf speeds up pace of play and closes the gap between you and the group ahead of you. Consider this whenever a group gets more than a full hole ahead of you.
Par 3’s might be the most difficult to move, but they also provide an excellent chance to keep things going if other groups join in.
After everyone in your group hits their ball onto the green on a par 3, mark them and move to the side. “Wave” the folks behind you up at this moment. They’ll hit their tee shots, and you’ll putt as they walk to the green.
This keeps any one group from having to wait too long on the tee box and, hopefully, avoids a delay on the following hole.
When do I write my groups scores?
It’s pointless to argue about the importance of the scorekeeper’s work. A competent scorekeeper, on the other hand, may significantly slow down the speed of play. They may also easily slow down the speed of play for the group behind them.
While on the green, do not write down your group’s scores. Don’t even bother asking anyone and leave them standing there, counting one-by-one their shots on the hole just completed.
Instead, ask your playing partners on the next tee and write the scores down while the rest of your group tees off. This permits the group behind you to reach the green, and you’ll maintain a respectable pace of play for both your group and theirs.
Things you might not have considered
Why a round of golf gets quicker as you improve?
A round of golf takes less time when you shoot fewer shots. It’s practically impossible for time to increase if you used to take 110 photos and now take 90. As long as you keep your practice swings to one or maybe two and don’t stand over putts for more than a few seconds, you’re sure to have faster rounds.
Why better golfers can take longer?
Skilled players do not move from one location to another. Every shot builds up the next and requires a great deal of preparation. To be a scratch golfer takes careful consideration of many factors on every shot, and to bring everything in requires time. Skilled golfers take fewer shots but spend more time on each one. The USGA provides us with40 seconds per golf shot, and some players take every moment of it.
Every golfer is well within their rights to use a full 40 seconds, but it does lead to a long 18 holes. There’s no purpose for this in a casual round. We understand the importance of a serious round.
The tempo of play is not affected by how long each player spends on their shot as long as they are prepared while others hit their shot.
Does a cart really matter?
When the course is empty, a cart is essential. You set the pace and can go as quickly as the cart will take you.
When the course is busy, a golf cart is only good for keeping your legs fresh. It won’t help you play faster, but it will help you preserve energy and relax on a hot day.
Calling your order in for the turn
Anyone want to get some food or beverages on the way? You’re not the only one. If you want anything from the restaurant or bar on the turn, don’t wait until you’ve arrived or are on the 9th tee. Inform the bar when you have a few of holes to play and where you are on the course.
This avoids any delays on the turn as well as any annoyance from a group behind you who did not order anything. If you have a well-run grill room, picking something up on the way from the 9th green to 10th tee causes a minimal disruption in your round.
Writers ofIndependent Golf Reviews
Over the last ten years, Independent Golf Reviews has tested and evaluated over 1000 golf goods. We use our experience and expertise to give golfers an unbiased insight on the market.
Subscribe to Independent Golf Reviews👇
Receive the finest golf savings accessible only to our members, as well as automatic entry into our monthly golf sweepstakes!
No spam, ever. 🔒