How Long Does It Take to Golf 18 Holes?

The latest technology allows golfers to clock their rounds from the convenience of their smartphones. Understanding that time is a precious commodity. So, how long does it take to golf 18 holes? 

On an empty golf course, a single player or skilled twosome can play a round of golf in as little as two hours. The same game could take six hours to play on a busy course. Try to spend 45 minutes on the tee, one and a half to two hours in the rough, two to three hours on the fairway, and an hour in the hole.

How Long Do 18 Holes Take?

The amount of time spent playing a hole varies for multiple reasons. The most obvious factor is the distance from the tee to the green. Designing a course with complex or lengthy par-4 holes will increase the time necessary to complete each hole. 

Another factor affecting hole length is the number of hazards on the spot. A water hazard is likely to add more time to how long it takes to play a hole than a similar one without a water hazard. 

Obstacles can lengthen tee boxes and fairways such as trees, rocks, and bunkers. A player must find his ball to hit from one teeing ground to another, whether from the left side to the right side or vice versa. 

Finally, some layouts make players walk farther than others between shots. They did this by adding dog leg holes or placing hazards by forcing golfers to walk across fairways to take their next shot.

How Much Time Golf Takes with a Cart?

Generally, golf takes about 5+ hours without a cart, assuming you and your foursome are relatively quick. Because time can change significantly depending on other golfers and your score, you should allow at least 4 ½ hours for golf with a cart if you don’t have to wait on each hole.

Factors Which Affect How Long Golf Takes

1. Skill level

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Skill level is one of the most critical factors in golf. Better golfers will naturally be faster players because they’ll take fewer shots to reach each destination. They’ll also encounter more minor obstacles and recoveries than beginners, who’ll need more shots to reach checkpoint markers and will encounter more trouble along the way. 

These reasons mean that skill level can be considered a sliding scale that increases or decreases golfer speed.

2. Number of players

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Depending on how many people are in your group, golf can take hours to finish. The most common number of players is four, making for a good match. Golfers sometimes choose to play in groups of two or four, depending on the conditions. 

A game with five or six players is ideal because it’s still easy to keep score. There are enough players to compete for being the “best” player. Taking too long can cost you more than time. Many golf courses have time limits, so you’ll have to pay a penalty fee if you go over that limit. 

For this reason, it’s best to stick with foursomes when you’re playing with strangers. It will give you extra time when you’re playing with friends who could take their sweet time finishing the round.

3. Pace of play

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Factors that affect the play rate include the time of day the speed of a player’s forehand and backhand swings. The time you take to play the 18th-hole course depends on the length of tees, greens, fairways, obstacles, and distance; all affect how long golf takes to play. 

4. Game format

The duration of time spent at the golf course may vary, depending on your party’s competitiveness. The number of players, socializing with friends, lunch break, and inexperienced players are all factors. A good golf round consists of proper fairway management, knowledgeable decision-making, planning, and analysis of the shots and scorable putts per hole.

5. Course size and design

Here are some factors that influence how long playing a round of golf might take and how difficult the course is:

  • Know the course and play it before you go.
  • Take a practice round if you can. This way, you know where every shot is, how far each one is, how long it will take, and how hard the course plays in different conditions. 
  • Play with a partner who knows the course well and can guide you around it in good time. 
  • Make sure your bag is light and that your bag has the right clubs for your round. Again, play a practice round to see what you need for any given hole. 
  • Wear suitable clothing—cool when cold, warm when hot. You need to know what to expect at any time of year—shorts when playing in summer and full golfing gear in winter. 
  • Plan about 15-20 minutes for each hole. This time range should be more than enough time to complete a hole unless unusual circumstances arise (such as prolonged play). 
  • Use a rangefinder to measure distances from the tee to the green. The rangefinder takes out all guesswork and helps to speed up play. 
  • Don’t walk behind someone hitting their shot. 

Course difficulty is always a consideration for any golfer. Course setup, playing partner, and clothing can influence gameplay.

6. Busy or not

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There is a quiet revolution happening in the golf industry. Even for those not golfers, the dynamic pricing model likely impacts you as a consumer. This model essentially increases the price of playing at peak times. 

Golf course owners have taken a page from sports ticketing and implemented this practice in some towns and cities with notable results. Many golf courses now charge more during peak hours than off-peak hours for tee times. 

The reasons are simple: Course owners can sell more tee times during peak hours, and players who play when it’s busy enjoy a faster pace of play thanks to fewer groups on the course.

7. Riding or walking

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If you find yourself behind the group ahead of you, you will have to speed up your game to catch up. If this happens too often, you may have to work on your game and fix it so that it isn’t slow. 

There are some ways to speed up your round while enjoying your time playing the game of golf. To speed up your round in golf: 

  • Walk from one hole to another or from one tee-off area to another. It’s not worth taking five minutes from each tee-off.
  • You can use a golf cart to make it faster to move from point A to B.

These tips should speed up your game, save you time driving, and protect your body from the unnecessary wear and tear that comes with trying to walk 18 holes. 

8. Weather

In bad weather conditions, you have to take a couple of seconds to think about the situation. The problem is that you will lose some time because you have to think first and then hit. 

It takes quite a bit of time to think about the shot after every shot in worse weather conditions. Here are some tips for two weather conditions to go through the game faster. 


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When it starts raining during your game, it’s essential to protect your clubs by covering them with bags. Also, put on rain gear if you have any. These actions will help you play faster and ensure that your equipment functions correctly. Shoulder and waist bags are some great choices when it comes to rain protection for your clubs


The wind is one of the most challenging conditions in golf because short gusts can complicate your game. They can blow away your ball and affect your swing’s flight. The wind makes it hard to control where the ball might end up going, so shooting becomes somewhat risky. 

You can do several things to speed up the game in windy weather; wear a hat and sunglasses—this way, you can reduce the effects. Of course, we love a sunny day, but if it rains, then you play in the rain.

Tips to speed up your round

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, here are tips to help you play better and enjoy your round. 

Book a tee time

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These are a few of the many little things you can do to save time and make every minute you spend on the golf course count:

  • Make sure to check in at least 20 minutes before your tee time. 
  • Allow five minutes to warm up before hitting a shot. 
  • Take two minutes to ensure that you have everything you need for playing golf, like your golf equipment, water, and sunscreen. 

All this waiting around can eat up valuable time on an empty or busy golf course. To achieve balance, you need to make sure that you cover the following in your five-minute warm-up:

  • Body alignment – keep toes relaxed, feet shoulder-width apart, and knees open. 
  • Try to maintain balance – in your backswing and on your forward swing.
  • Improving your grip – remember the thumb-knuckle rule.

While golf is fun, more preparation display rate space involved before heading out onto the course, plan and organize ahead during your next trip to the fairway.

Play off-peak

Playing golf during off-peak hours is beneficial to your game. With a significant advantage during the season, players can shorten the time between swings, leading to better scores. The crowds are smaller, and you have more mental space to apply pressure in difficult situations, especially for those who play right after work or in the morning.

Record scores on the next tee

Here are some simple ways to get your round done and still have time to enjoy it, and therefore it’s better to record scores on the next tee. This recording type is one of the simplest ways to save time during a round. It’s something all players should do. We don’t know who first came up with this idea, but it’s a great way to improve the pace of play. 

Once you finish your hole, step off to the side and jot down the order of finish on the scorecard for the next hole. Then, everyone involved can move ahead and not slow down play for everyone else.

Hit when you’re ready

When you’re ready from the tee, Hitting the ball is a starting point for every golfer. That’s because the club length and weight depend on the distance between the hole and your feet. Here are eight tips for teeing:

  • Get a full swing down before putting. 
  • Take the clubhead to the ball. 
  • Follow through with your swing until the ball is gone.
  • Grip your club tight before you hit the ball. 
  • Be in a straight posture and relax when you swing your club. 
  • Don’t hit the ball with all your power at once. Be patient and control your swing. 
  • Stand close to the golf ball, but don’t stand behind it; this will give you a better angle to strike it. 
  • Don’t take your eyes off the ball yet; watch the ball as it rolls into the hole.

It doesn’t matter which kind of teeing you use. The main thing is that you should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and swing your club in an arc over your shoulder down to the ball.

After that, hit it along a straight line. Try to avoid a ball soaking in a water hazard. It will be time-consuming if you try to get it out. If you focus on hitting, time will be affected tenfold compared to walking and striking forward or back.

Enforce “gimmies” in social play

Gimmies are putting in golf from less than two feet that you pick the ball up because it was such a bad miss that you didn’t want to spend your time playing the putt. While most golfers allow “gimmies” for putts inside a putter-length and under, it’s worth discussing with your playing partners how far away from the hole you should allow yourself to walk off when “gimmie” opportunities arise.

Hit a provisional ball

You only tee off once, but if you hit a terrible shot and end up in the trees or deep rough, you could be marching back to the tee to hit another drive. If that happens, you’re probably playing too slow. 

If you’re in doubt about whether or not to hit a provisional ball, then play one — it will speed up the round and save the other players behind you.

Rules that help speed up play

  • Cut out all distractions. Make sure your phone is off, and you don’t have any unread emails hanging over your head. 
  • Focus on the moment instead of thinking about what happened last week or trying to figure out what will happen next week. 
  • If you find yourself standing around shots, do something physical like a stretch or walk around instead of standing in place. 
  • Don’t speak about a shot that you’ve hit or a shot that someone else has hit. The only one who knows how that shot should have gone is the golfer who hit it. 
  • Keep things lighthearted. Golf is fun, so don’t take it to the extreme when things go wrong. 

Overall Verdict

Playing well and fast are two different things, but they’re vital to consider. We want to play well while playing fast when we get on the course. It’s a tricky balance to learn, but you can achieve it with enough practice.

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