According to a study published by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 18 holes of golf during weekdays averages 4 hours, while on the weekends, the average is slightly higher, at 4 hours 30 minutes. Several factors can affect the duration of the round, such as the weather, the number of players out on the course, and check-in tee time.
If you’re lucky enough to be one of the first groups out on the golf course, then you can probably finish 18 holes in well under 4 hours. The later you tee off, the more likely you are to run into slower groups, although late afternoon is an excellent time to play as most of the groups have finished play for the day.
During the middle of the day, expect your round of golf to be roughly five hours in duration and possibly longer if it’s raining or the course is jam-packed with players.
How Many Players Are In Your Group?
One of the most significant factors that can affect how long it takes to complete 18 holes is the size of your playing group. A group in golf can comprise between 1 and 4 players, with most clubs preferring to send out groups in 4s. A group of four players will take considerably longer to complete 18 holes than a group of two.
According to the USGA study previously referenced, the average durations for each group size are:
- One player = 2 hours and 30 minutes
- Two players = 3 hours
- Three players = 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Four players = 4 hours
Luckily, I generally like to get out on the course early in the morning by myself, and with a cart, I can fly around 18 holes in roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes. Remember, the time of the week and day that you play can significantly affect how long a round of golf takes.
How Long Does It Take To Play One Hole?
Well, the answer to this question depends greatly on the total length of the golf course you’re playing. Golf courses can vary from 5,000 yards right up to 7,500. The tee box you are playing from also has a big impact. For example, playing from the front tees (white) is much quicker than playing from the back tees (black). Riding in an electric golf cart can also make a difference in duration.
There are also three types of holes that are classified as par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s. If you’re playing in a group of four and want to finish within four hours, then try following these time guides.
- 10 mins per hole – Four par 3s = 40 mins
- 13 mins per hole – Ten par 4s = 2 hours, 10 mins
- 16 minutes per hole – Four par 5s = 64 mins
Following these times would have you finishing at right on 4 hours, with a total playing time of 3 hours, 54 minutes with 6 minutes, give or take, walking between each hole.
Walking Vs Riding In A Golf Cart?
It would stand to reason that playing a round of golf using an electric golf cart would be quicker than walking, and that’s true, but you might be surprised to know, it’s not always the case.
My home club has 100s of carts, and it seems to be the preferred way of playing 18 holes, and while I do enjoy riding in the golf cart, I much prefer to walk when possible. The problem with the golf cart is that most golfers drive to their ball and play their shot while their playing partner sits in the cart; this wastes valuable time.
Instead, while the cart is stopped, the other player should take a few clubs and start walking over to play their ball; if it’s too far, your partner can pick you up again after finishing their shot. If there are no other players on course, then, by all means, take your time and enjoy the lovely sunny weather; just remember to keep an eye out for groups from behind.
Do Weather Conditions Affect The Duration Of 18 Holes?
One of the best things about playing golf is that you can enjoy the fresh air and the nice weather, but ask any golfer, and they’ll tell you that when the weather turns nasty, it can wreak mayhem on playing your time.
Temperature is one such factor that beginners don’t take into consideration. Hotter and drier temperatures mean your golf ball travels further; thus, you’ll finish 18 holes much quicker. Cold and wet conditions have the opposite effect on your distance and ball flight, plus you’ll need more time to clean the ball.
Rain, however, has the most significant effect on how long it takes to play 18 holes. Fairways and greens can become saturated, and your ball can “plug,” making shots more complicated, and thus they take longer to play. Not to mention it takes time to change into your wet-weather gear, wipe down your grips and golf ball after each shot, and use your umbrella.
Finally, the wind can play havoc with your ball flight, and what looks like a shot headed for the middle of the green can suddenly get “caught up” in the wind, putting your ball in the drink. The wind can also “dry out” the fairways, which means your ball is more likely to run into the rough, making it difficult to find.