How long does a round of golf take of 18 holes?

Golf is considered to be a rich man’s sport in most parts of the world and it is taken as a luxury where you spend the whole day playing. Contrary to this belief, it actually doesn’t take that much to finish a round of golf.

And there are various factors in place that can largely determine the time taken to play a round of golf. In this informative article, we are going to be discussing How long does it take to play a round of 18 holes so, let us get into it!

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

18 hole time A golf round, on average will take around 4 hours to play a round if there are 4 players on the golf course. A single player on an empty course could complete all the 18 holes in about 5 hours or even more sometimes. If you are an experienced player, you may notice that the timing is never quite correct.

The expected times are rather skewed sometimes and are influenced by many factors. Sometimes slow play can result in players taking more than 5 hours to finish a golf round of 18 holes. In professional tournaments, that time can go up to 6 hours.

Also, overcrowding of a golf course can also increase the time and this is actually the most common reason behind rounds taking too much time.

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes to Play around

The time to play a golf round (i.e, 18 holes) will be driven by the following factors:

Teeing off Time

In a crowded course, enough time should be given between the groups to limit overcrowding while the play goes on. Increasing the teeing off time results in decreased waiting for the long rounds.

No. of Players

If you are playing alone, the time to finish a golf round will be much less than if you are playing in a group of 3 or 4 players. Larger groups will be hard to manage and that can cause long delays.
Play Style- Different players have a varied type of playing style. Some golfers hit strokes while some want to swing the hardest. Playing alternate shots (Foursomes golf) is the fastest way to play golf in comparison.

Options of Tee

If there is a lack of teeing options, the time can increase. More teeing options imply players can hit lofted shots over obstacles and utilize the time in a maximum way.
Grass Length – A lot of times, golf time is spent on looking for the balls. If the course length is short, we can find balls in a shorter time. Also, the grass should also be shorter which helps us to find the balls easily.

Green Status

If the greens are hard and fast, rounds become long. The speed is also impacted when greens have slopes or when the holes are cut near the slopes.

Distance to the tees

You might have seen people walking or driving golf carts while golfing. Well, the tees are located some distance away from the tees so, this distance becomes a contributing factor to the time it takes to play gold. The shorter distance will definitely result in a better pace of play.


A golf course has a mix of rough, bunkers, hazards, trees, bushes, and other types of obstacles. More and harder obstacles will definitely result in increased playing time.


One of the most underrated factors is the weather. As golf is a difficult sport, some rain or strong winds can ruin the whole game, and golfers will have a hard time completing their rounds in these conditions.


The last factor is the players themselves. If players in your group are experienced and a faster playstyle, then, the time will be reduced drastically. Skilled players will also decrease the playtime. Consider this example; 4 experienced players could finish a round in 60 shots while 4 new players could take up to 70 shots to complete a golf round. Therefore, this is a major factor that can determine the time.

Decrease The Length Of Time For A Golf Round?

There are a few ways to decrease the time for a round of golf of 18 holes. The best way is to simply change the rule i.e, play fewer holes. Typically, a round of golf will take 18 holes.

This doesn’t mean that you have to play all 18.  If you are in a hurry then, you can simply wrap up the game in 9 holes. Some golf courses will also charge you less money for lesser holes so, this can be a great way to decrease time.

There are also golf courses that implement a new system of play. Rather than just 9 and 18, newer golf courses provide you 6,9,12 or 18 holes which is great.  You can factor in the time that you want to play gold and then make a decision.

This is not the end though, there are several other things that can help you reduce the length of a gold round too.

Some of these factors are explained below:

  • The first way to decrease the time is to restrict the number of players. Play with only a few players (maybe 2 at maximum) and this will definitely help you out.
  • Bending the rules can also be helpful, you can us different starting options such as two tee starts or shotgun starts, and they will provide you with a quick way to play golf. You can also have an empty starting interval so you don’t have to wait on the hole you want to play.
  • Manage the different groups so that a hole doesn’t get too crowded when you are playing.
  • A time limit for each hole can result in much reduced time and the game will wrap in a short period.
  • You can definitely use the staff and the volunteers present in a golf course and take their help to drastically reduce the time. You can let them find balls faster and drive you around the course in an optimal way.
  • Talking with other players and making them take their shots in a faster way can also help with time management. Every player wants to finish the game fast so, having a positive conversation with them can really help to make sure that the time taken is as short as possible.
  • You can implement penalties for players who are taking too much time and you can also make sure that well-paced plays get some incentive for their cooperation. This will keep everyone on their toes and improve their speed of play.
  • More variety of tees that cater to more playing styles result in less time. This is one rule of golf that is universally applicable!
  • Wider fairway will lead to easier shots from the golfers and they will have to spend less time looking for lost balls.
  • When the grass of the golf course is easier to manage, the length of the play will decrease pretty fast. So, a course should keep their grass as short as they can.
  • The signs should be clear on the golf course so the players can easily find their ways. Direction can cause major confusion if the signs aren’t clear enough.
  • Players should be around the group they are in. An empty par 4 between the group can be very annoying to close in and it will create problems. Also, player selection in a group should be done with the players’ skill set in mind. Players with uneven skills shouldn’t be in the same group.
  • An already eliminated player could always help out by becoming a ball boy and help their other friends to complete the game fast.
  • A player should always be ready to play. They should not be dependent on other players. Also, players should not take time for assessing some trivial things such as the next shot type, the loft, and swing in the shot, lining up the putt and things like that.

Will the new rules help out ?

The rules of the golfing world underwent a significant overhaul in 2019. These new rules are made with the players in mind and they are made in a way to decrease the playtime of a golf round by a significant margin.

Some of these new rules are:

  • Players will no longer get 5 minutes to search the ball, this time has been reduced by 40% and now, players will only get 3 minutes to do it.
  • Traditionally golfers had to drop the ball from shoulder height but this rule is not valid anymore. Golfers can now drop it from their knee height and this will speed up the play by increases the chances of dropped ball staying withing the drop area.
  • The flagstick is no longer required to be taken out. You can put with the flagstick and this decreases the time it generally takes to take out and place back the flagsticks.
  • The players cannot take more than 40 seconds to be ready for play. This new rule keeps the players focused and ready to take a shot at a moment’s notice.
  • The pre-2019 golf rule stated that when a ball embeds in its own pitch mark, the player was allowed to take the relief when the ball was on the fairway. This rule has been slightly changed.
  • Golfers can now drop the ball immediately behind the spot the ball was embedded initially without taking into account where the ball landed on the course.

Consider reading:

12 Best Drivers For Beginners

7 Best Putters For Beginners

7 Best Golf Driver For Slice

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