How Long Does It Take To Play 18 Holes Of Golf? Tips For Enjoyable Games

Standard rounds of golf include 18 holes. The average round can change following weekdays as well as the time of the day. Other factors are the time of teeing off and the number of players on the course. 

As reported by an investigation by the United States Golf Association (USGA), the average round of golf lasts four hours on days of the week and lasts four and a half hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Internal Factors Affecting Playing Time

The USGA estimates the time of playing 18 holes. However, it can still change more or less by internal factors, including group size, the time of playing one hole, and the way of moving between holes.

How Many Players are There in Your Group?

The number of players

How long does it take to play 18 holes of golf? Your group size will normally affect the time of completing an 18-hole round.

If you are just one member in your group, you could probably play your round of 18 holes of golf in as short as two and a half hours.

When the number of your group increases, you can estimate that the time of completing a round grows by about thirty minutes for every added player.

A two-player group could take three hours, a three-player group could take three and a half hours, and a four-player group, on average, could play in four hours to complete an 18-hole round of golf.

Not only the number of players in your group but also the total number of groups on the course impacts the time to play.

If your group is the first one out on the course, your group is possibly capable of playing a round of golf in four hours or shorter.

Yet, when the number of groups on the course increases, the time of playing a golf round will last longer, and sometimes, on busy weekend days can go beyond five hours.

How Long Does it Take to Complete Each Hole Of Golf?

The playing time of each hole of golf

Typically, a golf course consists of three different types of golf holes, namely par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s.

However, how long does it take for you to complete each hole of golf? To help your group (with four players) to play the round in four hours, you can try to take reference of the times below:

  • Par-3 Hole (10 minutes): With four holes of par-3 type, it will take 40 minutes.

  • Par-4 Hole (13 minutes): With ten holes of par-4 type, it will take 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Par-5 Hole (16 minutes): With four holes of par-5 type, it will take 1 hour and 4 minutes.

Thus, the total time on the course would be four hours, including three hours and 54 minutes of playing, and 6 minutes of traveling among holes.

Should you Ride or Walk in a Golf Cart?

Riding vs. Walking in a golf cart

Although it would be logical to propose that an 18-hole round will play faster if you ride in a golf cart, it is not always true.

Think about two players riding in a cart: if they drive to Player One's ball and see them hitting the ball, and then do it again at Player Two’s ball, these waiting intervals will increase their playing time on the course to complete a round of golf.

There is one solution to this problem. After arriving at the first player’s golf ball, the second player needs to carry a few clubs and walk to their golf ball to prepare for their hits when the other player completes their turn.

The first player can then pick up the second player in the cart and continue the follow-up shot. It is quite useful to decrease playing time.

With walking, most players can go straight to their ball so that they don’t need to wait on their golf partner. So walking can generally lead to faster playing times.

External Factors Affecting Playing Time

Not only internal factors but also external factors can increase or decrease the time of completing an 18-hole round of golf in terms of tee time intervals, course difficulty level, and weather conditions.

Tee time intervals

A tee time interval is a time that the course sets up on the daily program between tee times. An interval can vary by location in the period of 8-15 minutes.

Golf course owners have a passion for accommodating as many rounds as they can, particularly in the more popular times and days.

The reason is that they can earn more revenue for the course. Here are some illustrations for tee time intervals:

  • The interval is 7-8 minutes: It can allow for approximately eight tee times in one hour. That potentially equals 32 players on the course.
  • The interval is 12 minutes: It can allow for approximately five tee times in an hour.  That potentially equals 20 players on the course.
  • The interval is 15 minutes (rare): It can allow for approximately four tee times in an hour. That potentially equals 16 players on the course.

Clearly, the tee time interval on the daily program would significantly affect your time of playing 18 holes of golf.

If the course operators send out four players of each 7.5 minutes, in comparison with 15 minutes, would potentially double the number of players on the golf course, but result in a slower pace of the times.

Course difficulty level

Course difficulty level in golf

The way of construction and set-up of the course can also have a big impact on your time of playing a round of golf.

If the course raises the difficulty level, it becomes tougher for average golfers and leads to higher scores and more time for completing 18 holes.

Some courses even feature many different water hazards, tree lines, as well as the case of balls out of bounds. All of them will also take the time longer to play a round of golf.

If the green speed is fast, it can also affect how long it takes golf players to hit the ball into a hole, since many beginners are aware that a faster green is harder to hit.

Weather conditions

Weather conditions affect golf players

Many weather conditions like temperature can have a considerable impact on your game, which can eventually lower your pace of playing an 18-hole round.

Temperature can change the speed of ball flight. In particular, warm and dry weather is best for maximum distance. That is the reason why as the temperature reduces, the ball may not travel as far as it will on a warm day.

When you are in cool conditions, you may also have to carry extra clothes, which would obstruct the swing and eventually the sport performance.

It is optimal to have some practice in such situations so that you get ready for them when the conditions change.

Rain can also impact your time of playing a round of golf. Generally speaking, a wet course would negatively affect the distance of a ball rolling as it falls down the ground.

In some cases, if the fairway is saturated enough, the ball can even get stuck where it hits.

Having to cope with umbrellas, dry towels, and dry gloves lengthens your tee times and ultimately leads to longer play.

If it combines with cool temperatures and you are carrying rain gear, it would also obstruct your swing.

The wind is another factor impacting playing time. Not only the direction and speed of ball flight, but high wind can also make the golf course dry, the fairway more difficult to shoot the ball.

Dry fairways can cause the ball to run off through the fairways and plug in roughs, bunkers, or water hazards.

When the wind dries the course out, the green is also less receptive to golf balls and in many cases can make balls bounce or roll out of some greens.

What Can You Do To Get A More Enjoyable Round Of Golf?

While your time of playing 18 holes can vary by many factors, you can still take reference of the suggestions below to get a more fantasy round of golf.

Checking in for warming up before starting

To have an entertaining round, you should arrive at the golf course roughly 30-45 minutes prior to your round.

It will offer you ten minutes for checking in with the golf course and grabbing some drinks, snacks, and practice in order to warm up before your tee time.

You will spend 15-20 minutes on the driving range. You also need to check in so that you can appear for the first tee on time.

Making a  good start for your round

Now you have provided yourself a lot of time for checking in and warming up.

When the starter calls your group for the first tee time, they will possibly give your group an explanation of the local rules of the golf course, which can help you to play an 18-hole round at a pleasant pace.

Conclusion

The average time To play 18 holes of golf takes four hours on weekdays and four and a half hours on weekend days. However, the time of completing an 18-hole round can vary less or more with various factors.

Despite that, you should arrive at the golf course early enough for checking in and warming up for your tee time, and taking notice of your golf partner’s hits can help to boost your pace of playing times.

Hope you have an enjoyable golf experience on the course!