If you want the short answer – it’s 4 hours for a game of 4 players. And the round lasts for 18 holes which is the quintessential length of a round of golf. But if you want the long answer – then you come to the right place!
This article answers one of the most asked “golf for beginners” questions. How long does a round of golf take?
What about when you’re playing solo? The ideal length of time is around 120 to 180 minutes. That’s 2 or 2-and-a-half hours. Assuming that the golf course is empty and it’s just you. When you put in 4 golfers in a group and play on a crowded turf. It’s never less than 5 hours.
I’m going to start off by explaining why and how this is important. The factors that affect time are significant. And you’d fair a lot well if you knew them by now.
Factors that Impact Time for Each Round in Golf
Before I begin, let’s keep this in mind. I’m talking about a round of 18 holes, in total, for each game.
#1 Number of golfers in your group
It’s common sense to play faster by yourself. You don’t have to keep pace with your fellow golfers. Anticipate shots. The skill of the golfers. And so much more. You may be the fastest shooter. But that doesn’t imply that any one or all of the golfers in your group are the same.
The population of the golfers in a single group affects time. It’s simple math. And if you’d like to shorten the time, opt for a 2-person group for some company. That way, you won’t be alone but you would be done in half the time for 18 holes.
#2 Number of golfers on the course
This refers to how busy the course is. You can control how many golfers you want in your group. This will help you reduce time. But if it’s on a crowded course that you’re planning to play a round of golf. You have to keep up with the pace of others.
While it’s true most people have to perform at the same pace as golfers who are slowest. You better hope that the slowest one is not a part of the first group. Because if that’s so, then you’re in for the long run!
If you’re a proficient golfer, you would have learned to work your way around. The kind of groups you’d want to follow behind. And the kind of golfers that are slowpokes enough to avoid.
#3 Skill level of golfers in your group
The skill level of golfers is either low handicappers or otherwise. And if it’s low handicappers, then it means they take less time to follow the ball around. That’s because they don’t hit that far enough.
The shorter the distance, the less time they spend looking for the ball on the turf. Sounds about right, right? But that’s not all. You can also pick the level based on proficiency. Beginners, though they do not hit that far, take more time to search for the ball.
To buy time, pick those who know every crook and cranny of the course. They’re the ones to have in your group when you want to play quick.
#4 Your speed of play
Before you judge others in their play. What about your skill level and speed? There are a lot of factors that determine your skill. Besides the obvious consideration and that is how you take a shot.
Have complete access to your cart, bag, and ball. It’s a long walk from the hole. And if you make it, you want to make sure you don’t return to search for a missing item. Lastly, communication is key. More time is lost in trying to find lost balls than hitting them.
A good way to learn how to maintain a steady pace is practice, practice, practice. You can learn by yourself or seek out veteran golfers to more tips. You never know who might help!
#4 Characteristics (size, skill level, pattern) of the course
The length of the course is paramount. But this time, bigger isn’t better. It only means more time spent talking to and fro and getting around the course. The longest golf course in the world is about 8,500 yards. Imagine scaling the entire turf. You’d be literally out of breath and time!
The most comfortable length of a golf course is about 1,000 yards. But for playing 18 holes for a round of golf, I’d say 5,000 yards is ideal. It’s a long round golf course yet. But depending upon your skill level and that of the golfers in your group. You can make the best decision.
Now for the difficulty of the golf course. Some courses have more elevations due to uphills. This increases the time to approach shots more. And when it’s not elevation that gets in the way, it’s trees which is the case for more narrower paths.
#5 Weather conditions
If where you play experience a change of seasons a lot. Then you need to factor in the weather for how long does a round of golf take. The ideal weather to play golf is the summer. When the climate is warm, slightly windy, and toasty.
Rain, mist, windy conditions, and such seasons do not favor golf. Especially if you want to reduce time and improve accuracy. It reduces visibility across the turf. And causes many mishaps in terms of speed and consistency.
How to Improve Time for a Round of Golf?
Did you think that I wouldn’t cover all grounds? Well, if you want to know how long does a round of golf take. You’d definitely want to know what you can do to improve time.
#1 Reduce the total number of holes
The most sure-fire and quickest way to cut back on time is this. While “18 holes” is the default setting for most golfers. It’s not set in stone that you have to play those many holes. The shortest and most fun way is 9 holes.
In fact, if you’re in the right place, golf courses are adaptable. This means you get to play on reduced admission fees for 9 holes only. When you half the number of holes, the fee would not be that far off.
Many professional golfers play 9 holes during the afternoons. This is to save time and cope with the lack of bright sunlight for proper visibility.
#2 Golf rules
As per January 2019, the rules of golf have changed. This quickens the pace of each player on the turf. The time-concerning rule is as follows:
A player is allotted 3 minutes to search for his or her ball. He or she can seek help from a partner to do so. This is an upgrade from the previous 5-minute rule.
Other rules concerning how a golfer holes a putt in a hole with a flag in it. How a golfer has a drop which is generally done from knee height. It was at shoulder height, before.
And much like these rules, allowing you to play quicker. Some rules are being removed while some have been implemented. Like the rule that disallows a golfer from taking a stance from the green. Holing a putt from that stance in a hole with a flag in it. This rule demands more walking between the flag and the ball.
#3 Follow the golf ball
This might seem like common sense to some of you. But it’s the most frustrating thing about golfers. They fail to notice the position and movement of their golf balls.
You need to be aware of the ball, the players around you, your cart or bag. So even if you take a long time for a shot, the time spent in between is speedier. That’s the whole point of maintaining a good and professional pace.
I hope this article encourages you to play more golf and become aware of your technique. A lot of people want to know how long does a round of golf take. What if it’s for 2 golfers in a group? What if it’s for 3 golfers in a group? What if it’s for 9 holes in a round instead of 18 holes?
I think I’ve answered all these questions. And some more. I’ve also mentioned how you can improve your time based on a bunch of factors. Such as skill, awareness, technique, speed, and place.
Be it an individual pace of play or for your partner. It’s important to slow down when asking the big questions. How is it that you’re taking longer than 3 hours when you’re playing solo? Why is the long golf course disrupting your smooth play?
If you think about, the little things matter. Such as following certain golf rules, etiquette, and learning how to play golf. Mistakes don’t pick between a beginner and a professional golfer. It’s on you to decide how you learn from them!