How Long Does It Take To Play a Round Of Golf?

How Long Does It Take To Play a Round Of Golf?

There are a few frustrating things when it comes to playing golf. One issue that often stops many players is the time it takes to play a full round.

In the world of golf, each player will have their own pace they play, and this will affect the others around them.

You might be wondering how long does it take to play a round of golf? On average, it takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes to play a round of golf, depending on several other factors. Certain golf courses have different designs, which could be faster or take longer. Other factors also influence how long a round could take. However, the current average is about 4.5-hours to complete one round of 18-holes.

To help you better plan for your next golfing adventure, we will look at what factors can influence the time it takes to complete a round of golf.

Keep in mind that this does vary significantly, and some of these factors can drastically reduce or extend the time of a round. We will also add a few tips to help you speed up the game if you are in a hurry.

You might also enjoy reading: What Is The Average Cost Of Custom Fit Golf Clubs And Is It Worth It?

What Are The PGA Rule For How Long Each Round Should Take?

Since golfers might want to waste time playing certain holes or they could need more time when playing, the PGA has set out a set of rules for how long it should take a player to play each hole on the golf course. These rules are not set in stone, and it is rare to see any penalties applied. They often serve as recommendations.

According to the USGA, it should take a player no more than 13-minutes to play a par 3, 15-minutes for a par 4, and 17-minutes to complete a par 5. This means that when you brake it down to the average golf course, which has four par 3’s and par 5’s respectively, and twelve par 4’s, you can add up these numbers to 270-minutes, which translates to 4 hours and 30-minutes to complete 18-holes.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and most golf rounds will go over the time limit when balls are lost or when players make mistakes.

Keep in mind that an amateur golfer will play far more strokes than a professional golfer, which often leads to a significant increase in these average times. Most of these figures are references for the top players.

What Factors Influence The Length Of Round Of Golf?

As mentioned, various factors could influence how long it takes a player to complete a round. Some of these factors can be controlled, while others are outside the control of the player.

By breaking these down, you will know what you can control and which factors are simply things you will need to accept when playing golf.

Controllable Factors

The following factors can be controlled by the player or players playing. If you want to speed up or prolong the game, the following factors can be used.

However, these factors should be discussed before games to ensure that everyone is happy with the rule, especially for casual games with no professional body monitoring the game.

  • Number Of Players: The more players playing a round of golf will extend the timeframe it takes to play. It should take two competing players much less time to complete a round of golf when compared to four players.
  • Skill Level: A player’s skill level can help make the game faster or slower, depending on your shots. If you are a beginner, you might lose a few balls and play at a higher handicap. This means it could take you far longer to run through a round.
  • Time Of Day: The first person to tee off will have the luxury of setting the pace of the golf game. If you tee off first, you will be able to dictate the pace at which all players can play. To speed up your game, you want to ensure you are teeing off first.
  • Whether You Are Serious Or Not: While this might not be a factual point, it is one you might need to consider. If you are serious about playing golf, you will find that it is much faster, and each player will try to speed up the pace of the game.

Uncontrollable Factors

Unfortunately, not all factors can be so easily controlled, and you will need to make sure that you try to avoid some of these.

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid all of them, but you can try to work around them as much as possible. Here are some of the factors that you might not be able to control when playing golf.

  • Weather: One of the first aspects that can be hard to control is the weather. Unfortunately, it is hard to control the weather when you are playing golf and when the rain sets in, you will need to take a break.
  • How Busy The Course Is: Another issue is how busy the course is. As mentioned, the players teeing off first can dictate the pace of the round. If you have slow players in front of you, it might delay the game.
How Long Does It Take To Play a Round Of Golf

How You Can Affect The Pace Of Play (Things You Can Do To Speed It Up)

Fortunately, there are a few things that you can try to do that make it possible to speed up the pace of your game. By doing some of these few things, you will notice that your game pace increases, and you might even get through a round of golf much faster than you could have thought.

Here are a few things players can do to influence the pace of a game:

1- Playing With Fewer Players

The first thing you can do that affects the pace of play would be to pick fewer players to play with. The more players that play, the longer it will take you to run through each hole, which will inevitably extend the overall timeframe it takes to complete a hole. It would take 2 players a much shorter time to complete a round than 4.

2- Choosing The Right Tee-Off Time

Once again, we are stressing the fact that the player who gets to tee off first will dictate the pace for everyone following them. If you want to reduce the time it takes to complete a round of golf, you want to be one of the first players to tee off. 

Keep in mind that if someone is catching you and you can see them waiting each time for you to complete the hole, you might want to allow them to go through.

While you don’t need to do this, we often recommend it for beginners to allow some pro golfers to get going and not cause unnecessary frustration.

3- Improving Your Skill Level

Another important variant that affects how long you play is your skill level. A high-handicapper might not be able to play at the pace of a scratch golfer, and you will need to play more shots, which takes more time.

By spending more time improving your skill level, you could see the time used to play each hole come down.

4- Lost Ball Protocol

Each team or group of players might have its protocol when it comes to losing a golf ball. However, it is best to set up a protocol that players need to keep up with the group. It can significantly extend the time if you are constantly searching for a golf ball you might have lost. 

According to rules set out by the USGA, a player will have three minutes to find a lost golf ball. However, this is not the case for casual play. It is recommended that you set up rules; if the player runs out of time searching for a golf ball, they will be forced to use a new one.

See also: How To Determine When You Need Longer Golf Clubs (Find out how!)

What Happens If you Catch The Group In Front?

When it comes to playing golf, you will need to understand that the rules apply to everyone. Much like you are trying to speed up, the group in front of you might have similar aspirations. However, there is no need to cause a scene, and it is best to simply wait your turn. If you are constantly catching up to them, there is no harm in asking the group to allow you to pass.

How Long Does It Take To Be Able To Play a Round Of Golf?

If you are lucky to be one of the first groups out on the course, you will likely be able to play a round of golf in four hours or less. But, as more and more people get onto the course, the average time to play a round will take longer, and on a busy weekend, the day could sometimes exceed five hours.

If you are playing with 2 or 3 people, you finish playing golf in three to four hours, depending on the speed of the groups ahead of them. In contrast, a single player can play as fast as the pace of players in front permits and expect to finish a round of golf in two hours or less.

Final Thoughts

We all want to have fun whilst playing golf, and no one wants to wait an extended period for other groups to play in front of them. Golf is a timely sport, and it can take some time to play the game.

However, there are a few things you can do to control the pace of the game. Let us know how long a standard golf game takes you in the comment section.


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