How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

Are you thinking about playing 18 holes of golf but want to know how long it will take? Has someone told you that it takes a long time to play 18 holes of golf and you want to know if that is true?

Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever your question is, we have the answer for you! 

How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

Working out how long it can take to play 18 holes of golf can be tricky, especially if you have never played 18 holes before. You head online for some answers but are met with conflicting information that leaves you unsure who to trust or where to turn.

Disappointed and frustrated, you start to wonder if you will ever know how long it takes to play 18 holes of golf. 

Well, no more! Today, we are here with the answers you need! Keep reading to find out how long it takes to play 18 holes of golf and everything else you need to know about playing a full 18 holes! 

How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

Let’s dive straight into it! On average, it takes four and a half hours to play 18 holes of golf. Of course, this number does vary from player to player and course to course, but it’s a good average to use. Any shorter and it is considered a good pace of play, while longer would be seen as a slow day on the course. 

Slow play can ruin a good game of golf, not to mention cause a backlog of people waiting to play the hole you are at. You should aim to play your 18 holes in four hours or less, regardless of the standards.

We know that it can be tempting to drag out the fun you are having, but the game going on for hours is only going to leave you bored and others frustrated! 

The four hours assume you are playing with others and walking from hole to hole. If you are playing alone and using a golf cart to travel between holes, then you can expect to be done within three and a half hours.

Of course, this might be longer if you are using this time to try new techniques or work on your shots. Usually, when we play golf alone, we aren’t too focused on the time, but rather on improving our aim. 

Now that we have looked at how long it generally takes to play 18 holes of golf, let’s move on and look at what can impact our time and how long each hole should take.

How Long Should Each Type Of Hole Take? 

Each type of hole has a different time expectation that you can use to judge how long your 18 holes of golf will take you to play. Check out the times listed below. 

  • Par 3s – 13 minutes 
  • Par 4s – 15 minutes 
  • Par 5s – 17 minutes 

Each standard golf course contains twelve par 4s, four par5s, and four par3s. If we add up how long it typically takes to complete each of these types of holes (multiplied by how many there are on a golf course), you get four and a half hours. 

What Can Impact The Time It Takes To Play 18 Holes?

So what can impact the time it takes a golfer to get around all 18 holes? Well, there are a few things so let’s take a quick look at them now. It’s worth noting that a few of these are beyond your control as a golfer, but it is worth being aware of them and how they can impact your game! 

Who Plays Before You 

How Long Does 18 Holes Of Golf Take?

Unless you are first on the golf course, other players will dictate how long it takes you to complete the 18 holes.

If no one is in front of you, then taking four and a half hours to complete 18 holes is incredibly slow, especially if you have a golf cart! In these cases, you can expect to complete the course in three to three and a half hours. 

However, if you start playing in the afternoon on a weekend, then it’s likely your pace will be much slower. There are likely to be fewer golf carts available and large groups in front of you impacting your pace. You might also feel pressured for time at your holes if there are people behind you waiting to play. 

It can be hard to judge, but usually, weekday mornings are the quietest time to play golf! Be sure to ask your local golf club to see when the quietest time to play is. That is when you want to arrive and get your practice shots in! 

Tee Times 

How much time is allowed between tees will impact how long it takes you to play a round of golf. Quick tee times can cause bottlenecks, especially in difficult holes. Tee times should be spaced out (around 12 minutes) to allow for lost balls, bad shots, and other delays.

This can make the game more enjoyable if you play as a group and also helps to keep the flow of the whole course running smoothly. 

Unfortunately, tee times are decided by management, so it isn’t something you can control, but it is worth being aware of! 

Lost Balls And Bad Shots 

Bad shots and lost balls will add time to your game. It’s best to know what the golf course’s lost ball policy is before you start (see also: What Is A Shotgun Start In Golf?)playing your game. Can you leave some balls behind or do you have to collect them all?

Chasing lost balls or rectifying bad shots can add time to your golf game, especially if you have to fish them out of the lake! 

It’s super easy to say not to lose your ball or make any bad shots, but we know that isn’t how golf goes! The more practice you put in though, the fewer bad shots you make, which will speed your game up over time. 

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it! On average it takes four and a half hours to play 18 holes of golf! There are some factors both in and out of your control that impact this time, but you can expect to spend a whole morning or an afternoon enjoying playing 18 holes of golf. 

Garratt Shmidt
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