The amount of time it takes to play 9-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:
A single player, or a group of two players, of average ability, should be able to complete 9-holes of golf inside of 90 minutes. Any additional players to the group will increase this time by around 15 minutes per player. So a 3-ball should take 1 hour 45 minutes and a 4-ball should take 2 hours.
|Players||9 Holes||Par 3’s||Par 4’s||Par 5’s|
|1||1 Hour 15 mins||7 Mins||8 Mins||10 Mins|
|2||1 Hour 30 mins||8 Mins||10 Mins||12 Mins|
|3||1 Hour 45 Mins||9 Mins||12 Mins||14 Mins|
|4||2 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 would most likely 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 9-holes.
If the course is rammed, and there are no Marshalls on the course, the length of time to play 9 holes can increase significantly and could be as much as 2 hours 30 minutes to even three hours, at which point, most decent golfers will have lost the will to live.
Many golf clubs often have speed of play signs around the Golf Course, which reminds the golfers not to play slowly and exceed the pace of play standard set at the golf club.
How Is Par Of The Hole Determined?
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 Long 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 Long 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 Long 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.
Why Does It Take LongeR Sometimes
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.
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.
Inclement weather can have an impact on pace of play, especially if it’s light showers, as the golfers will be using their wet weather clothing and putting it on and taking it off, which always takes up time.
What Else Causes Slow Play?
Golfers not being aware of their surroundings, or any idea of course etiquette, is a big factor.
Not following the direction their tee shots have gone and then having to spend time trying to find their ball.
Players leaving their clubs in the wrong place 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 more 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
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
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
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