How Long Does a Round of Golf Take?
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How Long Does a Round of Golf Take?

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How Long Does a Round of Golf Take?

How long does it take to play 18 holes?

A number of factors impact how long a round of golf lasts. These include weather conditions, course setup, the number of people in your group and more. In general, though, here are some average times.

Group SizeTime
Two people3 – 3.5 hours
Three people3.5 – 4 hours
Four people4 – 4.5 hours

Especially during a busy time (like on the weekend), four hours is a good average for how long to expect to be on a golf course. We’ll break down how this time is calculated as well as how you might be able to save a few minutes here and there.

What factors affect how long it takes to play a round of golf?

How long to play a round of golf?

The first set of factors are within your control: your skill level, the size of your group, whether you are walking or driving a cart, and your playing style, which we will discuss below. The factors you can’t control include the weather, the course setup, how busy it is and course rules like tee-time intervals.

How long does it take to play one hole in golf?

A typical par-72 golf course has four par-3 holes, 10 par-4s and four par-5s. Here are the pace of play guidelines from the United States Golf Association.





Number of Players




Par 3




Par 4 




Par 5
Groups of Four15 minutes17 minutes19 minutes
Groups of Three13 minutes15 minutes17 minutes
Groups of Two11 minutes13 minutes15 minutes

With this chart in mind, you can calculate how long it will take if you have a larger group or if you play alone. However, this is only one part of the equation.

Why does it take beginner golfers longer to finish a round of golf?

Skill level makes a big difference in how long a round of golf will take. Obviously, more accomplished golfers play faster because they take fewer strokes. Players consistently taking bogeys, double bogeys or worse need a few extra minutes and that adds up. 

Lost balls are a drag on pace of play. Pay attention to where your ball lands and rolls until it has fully stopped. This way, you will not have to waste time looking for it. The Rules of Golf allow a maximum of three minutes to look for a ball that may be lost.

Can I change my playing style to make a round of golf take less time?

How long is a round of golf?

There are a few common practices that make a round of golf go a little quicker. These include ready golf, Tee It Forward and minimizing practice swings.

What is ready golf?

“Ready golf” simply means being ready to take your next shot at any time and also not necessarily waiting for the player who’s “away” (furthest from the green) to hit first. 

Make sure you discuss this with your group before you begin. For example, typically, the player with the best score on the last hole will be the one to tee off first on the next hole. Also, once everyone is on the fairway, the player with the ball furthest away will be the first to go. However, if the player who is away isn’t ready for whatever reason, ready golf allows that someone else can go before them. Putting continuously rather than putting and marking your ball if you miss also saves time.

What is Tee It Forward?

Tee It Forward provides a chart that tells you, based on how far you hit your driver on average, which tees you should be using. Playing the right overall yardage based on your skill level is a great way to make the round faster and more enjoyable.

Driver Distance Recommended Yardages

275 yards 6,700 – 6,900 yards

250 yards 6,200 – 6,400 yards

225 yards 5,800 – 6,000 yards

200 yards 5,200 – 5,400 yards

175 yards 4,400 – 4,600 yards

150 yards 3,500 – 3,700 yards

125 yards 2,800 – 3,000 yards

100 yards 2,100 – 2,300 yards

How long can I spend taking practice swings?

Practice swings are a common sight. But how many is too many? Get your practice swings in while someone else is getting ready to tee off (but not right when they are hitting). Then, when it’s your turn, take one last practice swing. You won’t need any more than that.

How do tee times affect the length of an 18-hole round of golf?

A cart may speed up a round of golf

Tee-time intervals differ from course to course. Some have seven or eight minutes between groups while others allow 10, 12 or even 15. It has been proven that shorter tee-time intervals have a negative impact on the pace of play.

If every group that starts within an hour is a foursome, a seven-minute interval would allow up to 32 players on the fairway per hour. In comparison, a golf course with tee times every 15 minutes would only have four groups, up to 16 players, on the course at once.

More people on a golf course means you might be waiting a few minutes for the next hole and this will obviously mean the round takes longer overall.

Will bad weather make a round of golf take longer?

One thing to consider is the wind. Strong winds can be hard for beginner golfers to navigate so be aware that adverse weather conditions will lead to more unpredictable shots and more strokes per hole.

Another consideration is rain. Even if you are not playing while it is actively raining, a wet course will affect your game. The ball will not be able to roll as far on wet grass and it will not bounce as high (if at all) depending on how wet it is.

How does a course’s setup affect how long 18 holes of golf takes?

Using a golf cart could make your round of golf shorter.

The final consideration for figuring out how long a round of golf will take is the course itself. As you know, all golf courses are different, varying in difficulty and size. Take a look at the overall design of the course. Are there lots of bunkers? Many water hazards? Are the fairways lined with trees? You may be able to get a sense of how you will perform on the course and which obstacles will require a little extra time and attention from you. If you’re just taking up the game, don’t choose a very difficult course or it will be a long and frustrating outing.

When should a player forfeit a hole?

If you are spending too long on the fairway and the group behind you is getting impatient, you may consider forfeiting the hole (“picking up”). This is a common practice to save time and ego when you’ve particularly goofed up a hole. It’s best for a group to set a rule for forfeiting before starting the round.

The easiest way to decide when to forfeit a hole is to have a maximum score per hole.

Rather, setting a maximum of double bogey or triple bogey will be easy to follow for every hole. The count that you set can be based on a lot of things. You might want to consider your group’s skill levels or you might base this rule on how busy the fairway is. If you have the next group on your heels, a double- or triple-bogey rule will help you keep the proper pace of play.

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