How Long Does A Round of Golf Take? (18 Holes & 9 Holes)

How Long Does It Take to Play 18 Holes of Golf?

If your group is playing at a reasonable pace and are not being held up by other groups, you can typically expect to play 18 holes of golf in 3 to 5 hours.

Depending on your group size and pace of play, I’ve had rounds take anywhere from 2 ½ to 6+ hours.

Examples of Fast and Slow 18-Hole Rounds

  • The fastest time that I’ve tracked playing with one other golfer took just shy of 2 ½ hours to play 18 holes with a cart. Both of us were having solid rounds and playing very fast. We had nobody ahead of us for most of the round but caught up to another group on the last 5 holes, which actually slowed us down a bit.
  • I don’t have a standout round when playing in a threesome or foursome, but my faster rounds in groups of this size tend to be around 3 ½ to 4 hours. I’m always happy if we manage to play this fast, and it never feels too slow.
  • My longest 18-hole golf round took over 6 hours and felt extremely slow throughout. I played in a very slow foursome that included 2 brand new golfers, but we were actually held up by groups ahead of us. The golf course seemed congested and perhaps was overbooked on that day. This seems to be an outlier, as most of my other slowest rounds were 5 hours or less.

How Long Does It Take to Play 9 Holes of Golf?

It usually takes 1 ½ to 3 hours to play 9 holes of golf.

While playing 9 holes usually takes around half the time it takes to play 18 holes, keep in mind that you can’t forget about ‘sunk time costs’ like going to the range before your round or times spent getting on the course.

Factors That Affect How Long A Round of Golf Takes

Many factors can influence how long your round of golf will take.

Course Congestion

As a fast golfer who usually plays with other quick golfers on busy courses, the groups ahead of mine are usually the most significant factor in determining how long my round will take.

The skill of Your Group

The better you and the members of your group are, the fewer shots you’ll take. Fewer shots mean less time spent finding balls, choosing clubs, reading putts, etc.

Size of Your Group

The more members in your group, the more waiting time and the longer the round will take.

Course Difficulty

A course with long holes, thick rough, bunkers, water hazards, etc. will add strokes to your round. In particular, challenging courses add a lot of time to rounds played by more casual golfers.

Course Layout

At many golf courses, most tee boxes are located a short distance from the previous hole’s green. However, some golf courses have extra travel time between holes or hard to get to tee boxes.

Walking or Riding

Golf carts, of course, go faster than you can walk. Utilizing a cart can easily trim off an hour from the rounds of many golf groups.

While a cart will always let you play faster than when you’re walking, the days you’re limited to only the cart path will be slower than when you’re free to drive on the fairways.

Par 72 Courses vs Par 3 Courses and Executive Golf Courses

Full-size par 72 courses are far longer than par 3 courses and executive courses. This means more shots, more walking/driving, and longer rounds in general.

My slowest rounds on par 3 courses took just around 3 hours when being continuously held up by groups ahead of mine.