In general, it takes between three and a half and five and a half hours to golf 18 holes. The pace of play varies by the length and difficulty of the golf course, the skill levels of the players, and the playing speed of the golfers in the group. Another factor that can impact 18 holes is too many players on the course, creating a bottleneck at some holes.
So, how long do 18 holes of golf take for four players? How long does it take a pro to golf 18 holes? Do 18 holes of golf take less time to complete if you use a golf cart? How long should it take to play each hole? What are the ways to speed up playing 18 holes of golf? What factors out of your control impact the average time to play 18 holes?
Here is the complete guide on how long it takes to play 18 holes.
How Long Do 18 Holes of Golf take for Four Players?
Four players of average ability should be able to complete 18 holes in about four and a half hours. Several factors could dictate whether the round takes more or less time. These can include weather, number of players on the course, playing pace of the golfers in the group (do they step up to the ball and hit it quickly, or do they go through a range of practice swings and preparations), tee times (golfers who play early tend to play quicker as there is less traffic on the golf course) and the difficulty of the course.
Many golfers like to play ready golf, which means players can hit the ball whenever they are ready, rather than in the traditional order, where the player furthest away from the hole plays first. The more complex the course, the more strokes it will take to play each hole and the longer the round.
How Long Does It Take a Pro to Golf 18 Holes?
For a professional golfer walking the course, an 18-hole round of golf takes about three and a half hours. An 18-hole round of golf for pros takes less time than an amateur since they need fewer shots to get the ball into the hole. With that being the case, pros take less time to complete an 18-hole course than an amateur.
Part of the reason they take fewer shots than an amateur is that they hit the ball straight and onto the fairway, which means less time walking all over the course in different directions. And they are less inclined to hit errant shots into the woods or high grass, which equates to less time looking for lost balls.
Pros also take less time hitting their putts, as they usually know where to hit them. Amateur golfers tend to overanalyze and think about their putts, which can considerably slow the play pace.
How Long Does It Take to Golf 18 Holes with a Cart?
A group of four average golfers can play an 18-hole round of golf with a cart in about three and a half hours. A golfer is considered average if they score around 90 on an 18-hole course. However, the estimated three and a half hours can also be impacted by the factors mentioned above (weather, the number of players the golf club allows on the course, how fast the golfers in the group play, and the difficulty of the course.)
How Long Should It Take to Play Each Hole?
The time it takes to play each hole depends on the length of the hole. Par threes will take the least time and par fives the most. On average, it should take a foursome about fifteen minutes to play a hole. The pace of play will be quicker on par threes when golfers can often go directly from the tee box to the green.
On par fours and fives, there are more opportunities to hit the golf ball off-course, leading to searching for lost balls and delays in taking the next shot.
Golf Cart vs. Walking: Which Would be Faster?
Sometimes, there is very little difference in the time it takes to play a round, whether walking or riding in a golf cart. Golfers in a cart may spend a lot of time crisscrossing the fairway. They may have to drive to a ball on the left side of the fairway for one of the golfers to hit their ball, then drive to the right side so the other rider can hit theirs. Someone walking can go directly to their ball, hit their shot, and move on to their next shot.
Also, specific courses are “cart path only,” meaning you must keep your cart on the cart path, walk over to your ball, hit your shot, and return to the cart. This “cart path only” can be time-consuming and slow the play pace.
Overall, the amount of time it takes to play golf over 18 holes is almost the same, whether walking or riding in a golf cart.
What are Ways to Speed up 18 Holes of Golf?
The best way to speed up 18 holes is to play ready golf. Ready golf means players can hit the ball whenever they are ready, rather than in the traditional order, where the player furthest away from the hole plays first. Ready golf is a great way to eliminate slow play and can significantly reduce the average time it takes to play a round of golf.
Another way to help speed up play is to play the appropriate tees for your skill levels. Most golf courses have at least four sets of tees, and the club pro can help determine the best for your group. The USGA also has specific recommendations based on handicaps to help you select the correct tees.
What are Some Factors out of Your Control that Impact the Average Time it Takes to Play 18 Holes?
One major factor that is out of your control on an 18-hole golf course is if there are beginners there. They (beginners) generally take longer to play a round as they are new to the game. Also, there may be single players, twosomes, or threesomes who are not paired up with other players, which means they are taking up tee times intended for foursomes and affect the number of players on the course.
Course difficulty can also contribute to slowing the average time it takes to play. A course with many bunkers, water hazards, and several out-of-bounds areas will impact a good pace of play.
Conclusion: How Long Does It Take to Golf 18 Holes
In summary, it takes between three and a half and five and a half hours to golf 18 holes. The pace of play depends on the length and difficulty of the golf course, the skill levels of the players, and the playing speed of the golfers in the group.
However, while there are elements that are both in and out of your control to speed up the game of 18 holes, players can play ready golf to speed up their pace of play. Ready golf allows players to hit the ball when ready and out of turn, which helps speed up how long games take.