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How fast you play a round of golf will depend on the course’s traffic, the players’ skills, course size, how big your group is, and how you choose to move around the golf course. If you have a foursome of average players playing 18 holes, it takes roughly four hours from start to finish, but other factors come into play.

The Average Time it Takes to Play 18 Holes of Golf

The following estimates will give you a decent idea of how long you will be out playing a round of golf.

One Player

  • 18 Holes – 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Par 5s – 10 minutes
  • Par 4s – 8 minutes
  • Par 3s – 7 Minutes

Two Players

  • 18 Holes – 3 hours
  • Par 5s – 12 minutes
  • Par 4s – 10 minutes
  • Par 3s – 8 Minutes

Three Players

  • 18 Holes – 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Par 5s – 14 minutes
  • Par 4s – 12 minutes
  • Par 3s – 9 Minutes

Four Players

  • 18 Holes – 4 hours
  • Par 5s – 16 minutes
  • Par 4s – 13 minutes
  • Par 3s – 10 Minutes

Key Factors That Decide How Long Your Round of Golf Takes

There isn’t any official data that outlines how long the average round of golf will take. There also isn’t an official policy that says what is and isn’t an acceptable play pace. The following will dictate how long your round of golf will take.

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1. Group Teeing Off Spacing
The course has to allow enough time between groups to ensure that they don’t bunch up when they play. If there isn’t enough time allowed between the groups, the course can get overcrowded and increase your waiting time between rounds.

2. Number of Players Per Group
If a group has four golfers in it, it’ll take longer to play a single round than a group of two or three golfers will. However, it’s a poor choice with time management to keep larger groups together throughout the day because it can create long delays.

3. Play Types
The type of game you choose to play will have a direct impact on how quickly the pace is. Stroke play is the slowest because the golfers complete every hole to get a valid score. Foursome’s golf, where the partners alternate every other shot, is much quicker.

4. Tee Options
Not having enough tee options to cater to different hitting distances or different standards can create delays because the players have fewer options to try to avoid more difficult and less lofted clubs and playing or obstacles like bunkers and water hazards.

5. Rough Length A severe rough can lead to slower rounds of golf because you spend a decent amount of time looking for balls. If the grass is too long on the green, this can also cause issues because the players may have to make two or three chip shots to reach the green.

6. Tee and Green Distances
Longer walks or having to drive the cart longer distances between one green and the next can add a decent amount of time to your round. The shorter the distances are, the quicker the pace of play will be.

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7. Green Conditions
Very hard or fast greens are two more examples of common course conditions that can cause longer round times. The pace of play can also slow when the greens have holes cut on severe slopes or if the holes are near the slopes.

8. Weather
Golf can be a very difficult sport to play. If you add in some strong winds or rain, it gets even more challenging. A poor weather day can have a huge impact on how long it takes you to successfully complete a single round of golf.

9. Player Ability and Behavior
Poor player behavior like not knowing the rules or not being ready to play when it’s their turn can severely impact how long it takes to play a round. Also, a player’s ability will impact how long it takes. For example, four players that have to take 70 shots will take less time to play than four golfers making 90 shots.

10. Course Obstacles –
A lot of golf courses will have one or more of the following obstacles that can slow down the pace of play, including water hazards, bunkers, rough, bushes, or trees. The more of these things you run into, and the harder it is to recover from them, the slower you’ll play.

Improve Your Golf Game Pace with a Golf Degree

If you want to be a better golfer, check out accredited golf colleges that can help you improve your game.