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How Long Does It Take To Play 18 Holes Of Golf?

If you love to play golf and either have some spare time or planning ahead for a game of golf, it’s important to know how long playing a round of golf can take. 

With so many variables involved, the time it takes to play 18 holes of golf can be different from person to person and day to day. 

Things like how many people are playing, weather conditions, experience level, and other factors play a role. 

How Long Does It Take To Play 18 Holes Of Golf? man in white shirt swinging golf club

How long does it take to play 18 holes of golf?

On average, it will take around 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. This time can vary based on a few variables. The biggest factors regarding the length of time to play are the number of players in the group and experience level. A new golf player will take much longer to complete 18 holes of golf compared to an experienced player. If there are multiple players in the group, it will take longer to complete the course than a single player.

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How long does it take to play 18 holes of golf by yourself?

If you are playing a round of golf by yourself, it won’t take as long as it would when playing in a group. 

Most people playing alone can finish 18 holes in around 3.5-4 hours.

If you are an experienced golfer, you could play 18 holes in less than 3 hours. 

How long does it take to play 18 holes of golf with 2 players?

As you start to add more players into the group, the time it takes to play 18 holes of golf will increase. 

Expect the time to go up by around 30 minutes for each additional player.

It will most likely take around 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf as a pair. 

How long does it take to play 18 holes of golf with 4 players?

Again by adding more players to the group, the time it takes to play 18 holes of golf will increase by about 30 minutes for each player added to the group. 

So if you are playing as a foursome, expect it to take close to 5 hours to complete 18 holes. 

family of 4 with a golf cart

Factors that affect how long a round of golf takes

The following is a list of factors that can either speed up or slow down the time it takes to play a round of 18 holes of golf.

Number of players

As mentioned, as the number of players in your group increases, so will the time it takes to play a round of golf. 

But not only is the amount of players in your group a concern, but the overall number of golfers playing on the course can slow you down.

There are times when you will have to wait for players ahead of you to finish playing the hole or take the next shot before you can proceed. 

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If it’s not a busy day on the course, you will get through the round much faster.

Experience level

The experience level of the players is also a big factor with respect to the length of time it will take to play 18 holes. 

A new golfer will take considerably longer to play each hole compared to a golfer with plenty of experience. 

Beginners need extra time to learn the game and practice for quite a while to get comfortable and increase their playing speed. 

As everyone’s experience level can be different, it’s difficult to say how much slower a new golfer will take to play but it’s possible for someone who is an excellent golfer to finish 18 holes in half of the time. 

Weather

Poor weather conditions will most certainly affect the length of time it will take to play a round of golf. 

Rain and wind can cause all sorts of problems for golfers and it will take longer to complete 18 holes in poor weather when compared to a nice sunny and calm day. 

man putting in the rain

Cart or walking

As you set out to play a round of golf, you might have the option of using a golf cart to navigate around the course instead of walking.

Of course, when driving a cart in between shots and from hole to hole, you will save time when compared to walking.

Your walking speed and distance in between shots and the length of holes being played will all be a factor. 

If you are walking with a heavy golf bag and other equipment, this can slow you down.

You could save 30 minutes to 1 hour by using a cart versus walking the course. 

Hole distance

The length of the course being played is also a huge factor to consider. 

If you are playing a par 3 course instead of par 5’s, you will be able to complete 18 holes much faster.

A shorter distance between the holes and an overall shorter course distance will allow you to finish much quicker.

Here is a breakdown of the average time it takes to play different holes. 

For example, let’s assume that you are an average skilled golfer and it takes you 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf. 

60 minutes x 4 hours = 240 minutes.

240 /18 holes = 13.33 minutes per hole played. Let’s round up to 15 minutes.

On average, it will take you 15 minutes to play each hole.

The par 3 holes can take less time and the par 5 holes could take longer. 

Par 3 – 12-13 minutes

Par 4 – 13-15 minutes

Par 5 – 15-17 minutes

There are so many variables involved here, but this is an average time to play each hole. 

tee location for par 3 hole

Intervals between tee time

Tee times are the different time slots available for each player or group to start playing.

There is normally a time interval in between the tee times to allow for a break before the next group starts playing. 

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Depending on the course you are playing, the time interval between tee times can vary from 7-12 minutes and even up to 15 minutes at some places.

If the interval between tee times is longer, it will take you longer to play as there will be more time spread out in between golfers.

Most golf courses want to have a steady flow of players without much time in between tee off as financially it makes sense and doesn’t cause interruptions in play.

This is more important for experienced players as a long wait in between tee times can really hold you back and be frustrating. 

Hole/course difficulty

The overall difficulty of each hole and the overall course plays a role in determining how long it will take you to complete the round. 

Some holes are pretty easy with flat fairways and no water hazards or sand bunkers to consider. 

Other holes can be quite difficult with many obstacles, trees, rough fairways, and flag placement to consider. 

As the course difficulty increases, so does your overall playing time. 

man swinging golf club from the rough fairway

Tips for reducing round of golf time

Here are a few tips that can be helpful to reduce the playing time of a round of golf.

  • Play at courses with a reduced tee interval time.
  • Be considerate with driving a golf cart in between shots. Drive to the next shot and limit driving around for fun.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time in the clubhouse after 9 holes. Most golfers like to take a break halfway through playing, so limiting this time will reduce the overall time it takes to finish the round.
  • Don’t play during peak times if possible. There are usually times throughout the day when the course is not so busy. Try to pick tee times that are not so busy. 
  • Don’t spend a lot of time searching for a lost ball. Set a time limit so not only are you slowing yourself down, but also the group you are with and players behind you.
  • Use the ready golf rule. This is where a player can take the next shot when ready instead of waiting for the player that is furthest away from the hole to take the next shot. 

Golf rules for reducing playing time 

There are certain rules to follow that will help in reducing the length of time to play golf.

According to usga.org, states that if a ball is lost, it is normally found within 3 minutes. 

Rule 18.2 reduces the amount of time to search for a ball from 5 minutes to 3 minutes. 

Another rule is the 40-second rule where each player should be ready to make a stroke in no longer than 40 seconds. 

You can read more about the rules of golf for reducing playing time here.

white sign on golf course with rule for carts

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