Golfstead is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Our affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network and Amazon Associates.
Quick Answer: it usually takes around 3-5 hours to golf 18 holes, but the exact duration will depend on several factors including the number of players in the group and difficulty of the golf course.
Golf is one of those sports that is ideal to play in our free time as an activity for relaxation. However, not every golfer has the same amount of time available for it, especially compared to athletes who dedicate their life to their profession.
In fact, golf is sometimes seen as a hobby rather than a sport for individuals who have limited opportunities to play.
People often have work obligations, family obligations, or other hobbies that result in less time for golf, and nobody wants to miss an important engagement because they misjudged how long it would take them to finish a round of golf.
There are many different factors that determine how long it takes a person to play 18 holes, which is a full round of golf. Some of the most significant ones include:
- the number of golfers in the group
- mode of transportation around the golf course
- the length and types of holes
- the skill of the golfers in the group
- the playing speed of the golfers in the group
In general, however, it is safe to say that it takes about 3-5 hours to golf 18 holes.
Let’s explore each of the factors above in more detail.
Number Of Golfers In The Group
The number of golfers in your group will have an impact on how long it takes to play 18 holes.
The obvious reason for this is that you the more players there are, the more time you need to wait for everyone to hit their shot and get to the next shot.
If you’re playing by yourself, you don’t have to wait for anybody except possibly the group in front of you. Even then, they will often let you pass by them and continue your pace of play. In this case, a skilled solo player can finish 18 holes in two hours or even less.
A twosome will take longer to play 18 holes, but not by much, maybe adding 30 additional minutes. This is especially true if both players are skilled.
Threesomes can take 3+ hours to play 18 holes, while foursomes can take 4+ hours. Some foursomes can take a significant amount of time to move through the course and will often hold up the groups behind them.
Many golf courses prohibit groups of 5 or more players because such groups often have issues with slow play.
Mode Of Transportation
How you and your playing group gets from shot to shot will have an impact on how long it takes to play 18 holes.
You might be surprised to learn that walking doesn’t add that much more time to a round — maybe a few minutes. It depends on the course, and many people actually find that walking is faster than other modes of transportation.
When you are walking the golf course, it’s not impossible to get distracted by the scenery and lose concentration in the process of playing. On the other hand, it can also be one of your favorite parts of the day when you are able to enjoy nature; this can put a certain pep in your step and speed up the round.
The other main way to get around the course is by riding a golf cart, but this is only recommended for seniors or people with mobility issues. Riding a cart can speed up the round, but in many cases, it doesn’t, especially when playing with a large group such as a foursome.
With golf carts, you are restricted to slow speeds, and also, riding in a cart can be more dangerous than it seems because of certain terrain features and hazards.
Golf Course Length & Type
The golf course being played will certainly affect the time it takes to complete a round of 18 holes.
Long golf courses of 7000+ yards will generally take longer to get around, and will thus take longer to play. This is the case for many PGA Tour venues, which is why they usually take at least four hours to finish. In contrast, it will take less time to golf 18 holes on shorter courses of less than 6000 yards.
The surface features of the course are also a factor. Courses that are hilly, have a lot of hazards, and/or have less direct walking routes to the greens will take longer to get around and add to the round duration. Conversely, flatter, more basic courses will take less time to get around.
Playing Speed Of The Golfers In The Group
Slow play in golf has become more of an issue in recent years. Many amateurs try to imitate the pros they see on television by doing things like taking numerous practice swings, stepping off the shot, feeling for the wind direction, and wagging the club for an excessive amount of time.
Players who take a long time to hit their shot slow down the rest of the group and ultimately make an 18-hole round of golf take much longer. The more slow players there are in the group, the longer it will take.
When players walk and take their shots at a brisk pace, the other players in the group don’t have to wait as long to take their shots, and everything moves more quickly.
Skill Of The Golfers In The Group
One factor that a lot of people don’t think about is the skill level of the golfers in the group.
Weekend hackers or higher handicaps will take more shots to get to the green, and more shots to get the ball into the hole. They are also more likely to be in a situation where they’re searching for a lost ball. This can add significantly more time to the round.
In addition to hitting fewer shots per hole, low handicaps and skilled players usually have a playing routine that they have perfected over time. They hit their shots and do what they need to do around the course promptly and with little effort. All of this adds up to much faster rounds.
If a group consists of a mix of skilled and poor golfers, the time it takes to complete 18 holes will fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
To reiterate, it usually takes around 3-5 hours to golf 18 holes. But the exact duration will depend on a number of factors.
For example, if you’re playing in a foursome with slow or poor players, a round could take closer to six hours. If you’re a skilled golfer playing by yourself on a relatively flat course that isn’t too long, a round could take two hours or less.
If you’re planning a tee time for an 18-hole round of golf, I recommend setting aside six hours from your day if possible. This will give you time to get to the golf course, get your equipment set up, spend some time in the clubhouse, and deal with anything that might come up during your trip.
Thanks for reading this article. How long does it take you to golf 18 holes? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.