The amount of time it takes to play 18 holes of golf really depends on how long and how difficult the golf course is and how many players are currently playing it. But as a guide:
On a quiet golf course a group of two players, of average ability, should be able to complete 18 holes of golf in 3 Hours 30 minutes. Any additional players will increase this time by around 15 minutes per player. So a 3-ball should take 3 hour 45 minutes and a 4-ball should take 4 hours.
With a busier golf course expect to take longer as you will be waiting on tees and fairways as you wait for the greens to clear from the group ahead of you.
|Players||18 Holes||Par 3’s||Par 4’s||Par 5’s|
|1||3 Hours||7 Mins||8 Mins||10 Mins|
|2||3 Hours 30 mins||8 Mins||10 Mins||12 Mins|
|3||3 Hours 45 mins||9 Mins||12 Mins||14 Mins|
|4||4 hours||10 Mins||13 Mins||16 Mins|
These targets assume the Golfers are of average playing ability and are likely to shoot bogey golf or better.
Less skilled golfers will take longer because they will take more shots.
If you add up the playing times of each hole length it falls short of the total times. The difference in the sum is the time that it takes to walk between holes.
Generally, the fewer golfers that are on the course, and the more experience within the group, the less time it will take to complete 18-holes.
If the course is very busy, and there is no one from the club to marshall the speed of play then the length of time to play 18 holes can increase significantly and could be as much as 5 hours, at which point I know I will have lost the will to live.
Many golf clubs often have Pace Of Play Signage around the Golf Course, which notifies the golfers not to play slowly and to keep up with the group in front of them.
This sometimes helps to ensure the pace of play standard set at the golf club is met, other times it doesn’t do anything.
Clubs that have Marshalls to keep golfers up with pace of play generally have less problems, but they still occur.
Always do your part and make sure you don’t play slowly when you are on the course.
I have never heard a single golfer, anywhere, say that they like slow play.
Why Does It Take LongeR Sometimes
Golfers are the biggest reason for slow play. Some players are not aware of their surroundings, or have any idea of course etiquette, and sadly some just don’t care.
Playing from the wrong tee boxes is a big one. Ego gets in the way of a lot of golfers and they play off tees that are further back than their real ability, which means they take more shots. Why play off the tips if you can only just reach the fairway?
Not following the direction their tee shots have gone and then having to spend time trying to find their ball.
Golfers leaving their bags in the wrong place when they reach the putting green and not being mindful which direction they need to go to reach the next tee.
This is more common with Beginner Golfers who are still finding their way in the game and may not have received any course orientation.
Although many experienced players are still guilty of this too.
We’ve all seen the player stood on the green, pointing down the fairway, while they count up how many shots they have just taken.
This usually happens while the group behind is getting ready to play to the Green and is having to wait for them.
Players not being ready to play their shots when it’s their turn to play.
It’s staggering how many players I have seen not get prepared to play their shots while their playing partners are taking their shots. This happens a lot.
You should always be thinking about what type of shot you are going to have to hit next and get ready to play as soon as it’s your turn.
There are many other reasons too, but that gives you a brief flavour
What Else Causes Slow Play On A Golf Course?
The distance the players need to travel between the last Green and the next Tee Box will have a big impact, especially if that walk is up a hill.
Inclement weather can have an impact on pace of play, especially if it’s light showers, as the golfers will be using their waterproofs and putting it on and taking it off, which always takes up time.
The difficulty of the course will influence the time duration as well, as golf courses featuring trees, or dog legs, bunkers and water hazards, all create challenges which could cause extra shots being played.
Courses that are more open and have less hazards generally take less time.
Greens that are hard, or fast, or are full of contours, may cause the players to take more putts than normal. 3-putting takes more time than 2-putting.
The ability of the player is a factor. Better players will normally take fewer shots and are less likely to be struggling through the rough and other hazards.
Players losing golf balls, being three off the tee, this takes time.
The average player loses around 1.3 balls per round, the more time you take looking for it before you give up, the more time the round is going to take.
The recent rule change to only 3 minutes, down from 5 minutes, to find a lost ball was introduced for this very reason.
How Can PLayers Speed Up Their Rounds?
Using Golf Buggy’s or Golf Carts speeds up the travel factor, both between shots and from green to the next tee. This allows slower or less physically able players to keep up with the pace of play more easily
The mobility of the golfer, with the average walking speed of a person being 3 to 4 miles an hour, a golf cart can reduce round times as they can travel at around 12 to 15 miles per hour.
Players need to be more aware of what’s required of them.
You can’t blame new golfers for being slower on the golf course because how do you know what you don’t know.
Golf Clubs could help themselves, and their members and guests, by offering new members and beginner golfers an introduction to both course etiquette and golf etiquette. Some clubs do this, but many do not.
Playing ready golf is a great solution to help speed up play and for me personally, who is a quick player, I have found this to be the best of the recent rule changes.
Ever Played Ready Golf?
For more information about pace of play and ready golf visit R&A.org
How Is Par Of A Golf Hole Calcuated?
Par is determined by the playing length of the hole from the tee boxes to the green.
Each hole is given a par value between 3 and 5, which is made up of the regulation number of shots required to reach the green, based on the average distance that a proficient golfer hits the ball, and includes two putts on the green.
|Hole Lengths||Par 3’s||Par 4’s||Par 5’s|
|Men||Up to 250 Yards||251 to 470 Yards||471 to 690 Yards|
|Women||Up to 210 Yards||211 to 400 Yards||401 to 575 Yards|
How Much time Does It Takes to Play A Par 3?
|Players||Par 3’s||Max Length|
|2||8 Mins||250 Yards|
|4||10 Mins||210 yards|
On average it will take 8 minutes for a two-ball to play a Par 3 Hole. 9 mins for a 3-ball and 10 mins for a 4-ball
I say on average because the length of the hole will have an impact over how far the players need to walk.
Par 3 holes range in length from sometimes less than 100 yards up to the maximum of 250 yards for men and 210 yards for Women.
The best Par 3 I have ever played is the iconic 16th hole on the Royal Course at Vale do Lobo and is one of the most celebrated golfing pictures in the World.
This hole is set on the cliff-tops, with a required tee shot across two cavernous ravines. It’s not for the feint hearted.
Here’s Mark & Rory on a YourGolfTravel photo shoot showing you how cool the hole is.
I played it twice in the Volvo Amateur Tour Finals, we were off the back tees, and I hit a 4-iron on day one and Driver, into the wind, on day two for my respective tee shots.
It’s the first time I have ever needed to hit driver on a par 3 and I didn’t reach the green.
How MUCH TIME Does It Takes to Play A Par 4?
|2||10 Mins||251 to 470|
|4||13 Mins||211 to 400|
On average it will take 10 minutes for a two-ball to play a Par 4 Hole. 12 mins for a
3-ball and 13 mins for a 4-ball
Par 4 holes range in length from 251 yards up to the maximum of 470 yards for men and 211 yards up to the maximum of 400 yards for women.
My favourite memory of a par 4 was at Brinkworth Golf Club where Rich & I used to be based with the Weekend Golfers Academy.
The last Par 4 on the course, at the time, was a short 230 yarder.
The green could be seen from the clubhouse, but not the tee box, and many players were watching.
One of the Members hit a tee shot onto the green and it went straight in the hole, for what the members in the bar thought was a hole in one.
There was a very loud cheer as everyone assumed he would be getting the beers in.
What they didn’t know was that he had hit his first shot out of bounds and the shot they saw was his reload.
How MUCH TIME Does It Takes to Play A Par 5?
|2||12 Mins||471 to 690|
|4||16 Mins||401 to 575|
On average it will take 12 minutes for a two-ball to play a Par 5 Hole. 14 mins for a
3-ball and 16 mins for a 4-ball
Par 5 holes range in length from 471 yards up to the maximum of 690 yards for men and 401 yards up to the maximum of 575 yards for women. These are not hard and fast rules but guidelines from the USGA
The longest Par 5 I have ever played is 725 Yards, at The Players Club in Bristol, where the annual Stiff Salver is played. In this competition the course plays it’s full 7,200+ yard length and the par 5 hole is actually made up of two par 4’s added together.
After you hit your tee shot, there is an ‘olde world style’ stone direction sign on the fairway which kindly tells you that you still have a quarter of a mile to go (440 yards / 400 Meters)
My best score on this hole so far, at this yardage, is a 6. I managed to get on in regulation but then 3-putted. And there were still guys making birdies…which is just nuts.
PLayers Can Speed Up Their Rounds Easily
Using Golf Buggy’s or Golf Carts speeds up the travel factor, both between shots and from green to the next tee.
Players need to be more aware of what’s required of them. And by being more aware of where there ball is after each shot and by walking quickly to their ball
Playing ready golf is a great solution to help speed up play, if you haven’t tried it yet be sure to give it a go. For me personally, who is a quick player, I have found this to be the best of the recent rule changes.
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