Many people think of golf as a leisure sport. In reality, the deeper you get into the world of golf and move past amateur circles, the more rigid the timing of rounds will be.
To have a successful, enjoyable trip around the golf course, you and the other golfers must share an understanding of pacing. Keeping a decent pace of play affects enjoyment on the course and is also a sign of respect to other groups on the golf course.
Here, we’ll go over the average length of play for a round of golf and provide some tips to speed up your play.
How Long Does a Round of 18 Holes Golf Take?
The standard 18 holes equal a round of golf. While this is known as the standard, there is not much standardization in the pace of play for 18 holes. That’s because no two golfers are alike, and many factors can affect how long it takes to move across the golf course, including how many people are in your group. The more golf balls to hit and swings to take will affect the round speed.
In a very average game, say, four players of average skill playing 18 holes, you can expect to last around 4 to 4 and a half hours total.
How Long Does a Round of 9 Holes Golf Take?
Like playing 18 holes, playing 9 holes leaves a lot up in the air, influencing the amount of time you spend on the golf course. For each player to get their shot in a four-person group, you can expect to play for around 2 hours.
Other Factors that Affect Golf Playing Time
Many factors affect playing time, making it difficult to predict accurately how long any single game of golf will last. Here are a few of the most common variables.
If you’re playing with two people, you’ll move across the course a lot faster than you would if you were playing with four or more golfers. Group size alone can drastically change the pace of play.
Plus, the more golfers playing in your group, the more interruptions there could be along the way. Side conversations, tomfoolery, and the like can all influence your speed.
Other Groups on the Golf Course
Other groups playing on the golf course can also influence your speed. Bottlenecks continue to be a source of delayed play, with golfers in a USGA survey reporting waiting more than five minutes for groups ahead of them.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to schedule your round at an off-peak time. Alternatively, if you want to be on the course during a busier time, be prepared for hold-ups.
Skill Level of Golfers
Everyone starts somewhere. If you are playing with beginner golfers, this is an excellent opportunity to teach them how to take a proper shot at the ball and show them the rules of the game.
However, playing with golfers of varying skill levels can also impact the pace of play. It’s more likely to take more considerable time to get a ball in and progress when on the golf course with rookies.
Riding vs. Walking
Length of play also depends on how long it takes you to get from one place to the next. If you’re walking, it’ll take you a lot longer to get there than if you are riding in a golf cart. Additionally, everyone walks at a different pace, which can impact when playing a longer game.
Decide if you’re going to walk or ride before arriving on the course so you can make proper arrangements and your group can prepare for the day of golf ahead.
Finally, the last but consequential factor affecting the pace stems from an unexpected source: course management.
At the USGA Pace of Play Symposium, where researchers presented more than 17 independent projects, the overwhelming conclusion was that tee time intervals impacted the pace. Increased intervals led to decreased round time by an average of 14 minutes.
5 Tips for Faster Golf Playing Pace
Opt to Ride
While it may seem obvious, one of the easiest ways to speed up your pace is simply renting a golf cart instead of walking from one point to the next. Golf carts make it much quicker to find balls that disappear on the course and drastically reduce the “in-between” time.
Play 9 Holes
Short on time? Opt for a shorter golf game! An 18 hole course can take a while to complete. By reducing the size of your course and cutting 18 holes in half, you can save a lot of time.
After you take your shot at the ball, don’t just stand there and relax while the other golfers in your group take their turns. Instead, actively plan for your next shot! By examining where the ball lands on the course and preparing to take action, you’ll cut back on the time when your turn rolls around again.
Be a Team Player
Balls wind up all over the place on the course. When it’s not your turn, help others in your group by following the flight of their tee shots, too, not just your own. It can make locating the ball and continuing the game a lot easier and faster.
Keep Pace with the Group Ahead of You
Do your best to minimize the gap between you and the group ahead of you. You want to aim to be closer to the golfers in front of you than those behind you. This is an excellent measure of your speed and will ensure you don’t slow other groups down.
How Long Does a Round of Golf Take for 2 Players?
The number of golfers will make a significant difference in round speed. For a standard 18 holes, two golfers can expect to be on the course for about 3 hours.
How Long Does a Round of Golf Take for 4 Players?
For a group of 4 people, you can expect a game to take around 4 hours. This is because more golfers need a shot at the ball, but the number of golfers shouldn’t make a massive difference in the time it takes to walk from one hole to another.
How Long Does a 9 Hole Round of Golf Take?
For four people, 9 holes will take around 2 hours. For two people, expect to be on the course for around 1 and a half hours.
How Long Does a Round of Golf Take on a PGA Tour?
In a PGA tour, professional golfers take around 10 minutes per round. This averages out to around 3-4.5 hours for an 18-hole round.
However, with the pace cited as the leading factor in golf enjoyment for most players, the PGA announced new policy changes for 2021. These changes include focusing on individual players to identify those who take longer than 120 seconds per shot, fines for repeat offenders, and a list of the slowest players on tour.
If you have a clear idea of what to expect before you step onto the course, you’ll be able to give yourself the necessary time and enjoy your round of golf to the fullest. With these tips, your group can speed up play without sacrificing the quality of your golf game.