How Long Does 18 Holes Take? (Well Explained!)

Last Updated on October 8, 2023 by Alex PT

The average time it takes to play 18 holes of golf is 4 hours and 30 minutes. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the pace of play, the difficulty of the course, and the size of your group.

The below table illustrates how long it takes to play for each scenario.

# of GolfersNot busy / No waitBusy / Wait on each hole
44 hours5 hours
33 ½ hours4 ½ hours
23 hours4 hours
12 ½ hours4 hours


How Long It Takes To Play Par 3s, Par 4s & Par 5s? 

How Long It Takes To Play Par 3s Par 4s & Par 5s

For 4 golfers, the average time to complete an 18-hole course is four hours. That’s enough time for players on average to get around the course while walking toward the 18th hole at an average of 13 minutes per hole.

However, it takes that amount of time if there’s no waiting around between shots. You may also find yourself stuck in traffic if you’re planning on taking your golf cart from hole to hole. All golfers know that 18 holes could take longer than 4 hours. Sometimes you can get caught behind a slow group. 

Or you may find yourself having to wait for the earlier group to finish their game because they may still be playing even though it’s closing time – not just because of slow players but because there are simply more people out on the course at one time in comparison with an afternoon when fewer might play or when one may choose to not go out in wet weather conditions and as a result, wait until a later hour to play.

A golf course is similar to a highway in that both are heavily trafficked. If there are too many players on the course at once, we can get in some congestion. That generally happens on big competition days with tournaments or contests drawing a larger volume of visitors than usual.

When it comes to the sport of golf, there are different factors that determine how long playing around will take. For example, anyone who has experience playing on a Saturday morning during prime-time can likely attest to how long it takes compared to a standard weekday morning when play could go by faster. What affects the length of time for any particular round of golf?

The Table Below Shows How Long Each Type Of Hole Should Take.

Number of GolfersPar 3sPar 4sPar 5s
410 mins13 mins16 mins
39 mins12 mins14 mins
28 mins10 mins12 mins
17 mins8 mins10 mins

How Long Does 9 Holes Take?

It can take 2 – 2 ½ hours on average to play just 9 holes of golf. The 4some walking pace adds up to 13 minutes per hole, giving you a rough idea of how long each golf game will last. But often you’ll still be waiting for your turn even if you’re skipping shots, and it could easily add up to longer than 2 hours to play a full 18-hole round of golf. So plan ahead accordingly and feel free to tack on some extra time if you’ve got enough of it so that you can enjoy playing a full round, even if it means making a day of it!

How Long Does Golf Take For 1, 2, 3 And 4 Golfers?

How Long Does Golf Take For 1 2 3 And 4 Golfers

Waiting around on a golf course can be a drag, especially when you’re in a hurry! It’s estimated that playing 18 holes takes 2 ½ hours for 1 golfer. Playing with two people is estimated to take 3 hours because you have to wait for the other person to finish each hole. Playing with three is estimated to take 3 ½ hours because you have to wait for everyone else not only the other players but one other person who is standing idle. Playing with four means it will take about 4 hours, and that does NOT include waiting.

Take A Look At The Table Below To Compare Playing Golf Without A Wait And Playing With A Wait On Each Hole.

Number of GolfersNot busy / No waitBusy / Wait on each hole
44 hours5 hours
33 ½ hours4 ½ hours
23 hours4 hours
12 ½ hours4 hours

It might not just be the sun that’s keeping you waiting if you’re playing golf. Sometimes there are a lot of other people playing at your regular time, so it can take even longer to get through a course. Luckily you can usually check in advance to see how long other people have taken on similar courses but sometimes that information isn’t available so you have no choice but to wait it out (which can be frustrating if some of your other plans during the day get messed up).

3 Ways To Speed Up Golf Pace Of Play

Ready golf: Ready golf is a new method of play being introduced to the golf world – only this time players will be able to play their next shots as soon as everyone at the first tee has finished teeing off. This can potentially save up to 30 minutes per round.

Good cart golf: If you’re going to be driving one of the carts, make sure you are efficient with your time. When someone is riding in the cart, drive to their ball and drop them off. Once they are in place and ready to hit their shot, go over to pick up the other golfer who might be all the way across another green. Doing this, it speeds up Ready Golf’s process.

Quick stops at the turn: After nine holes maybe grab yourself a snack or a drink at the clubhouse or pro shop, but keep it short. No one wants to hear you complain about your last shot for more than five minutes.

Closing Thoughts 

When enjoying a round of golf with three friends and family members, it should take you four to five hours before you can finish the game. When your course is easy to traverse and there isn’t much waiting time involved for each hole, this shouldn’t take more than 3.5 hours. However, if your location happens to be an incredibly popular place on the weekend or during the summer throughout peak seasons, make sure you have plenty of water in hand (and enough sunblock too) because it could add another hour or two to your game either way!


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