How Long Do 18 Holes of Golf Take?

Brad Carey14 Apr 2022

The runtime of a round of golf differs from course to course, and day to day. There are various things to consider, but an average round lasts 4 hours and 30 minutes. A slow day is defined as a long round of golf. A shorter round of golf indicates a speedier pace of play. Moreover, if playing golf is something you enjoy and are planning to play golf, it's crucial to know how long a round of golf could take. Since there are many things to consider, the time it would take to play 18 holes varies depending on the number of players, the skill level, etc.

Why Is Golf 18 Holes?

Why does a golf course have a total of 18 holes? Golf courses throughout the globe are now using this format. But it wasn't always the norm to play 18 holes. In the past, depending on the course, it could be anywhere from 12 to as many as 15, 23, or even more holes. So when were 1 8 holes taken as a universal standard?

St. Andrews, an old course in Scotland, was the inspiration for the rest of the sport. The Old Course originally had 22 holes, but in 1764, the first four short holes were combined into only 2. Thus, an 18-hole round was conceived. Plus, 18 holes are easier to maintain than 22. There was a  great deal of discussion regarding how the decision to play 18 holes was made. There were a total of 12 holes at St. Andrews by 1754, with 10 of them being played twice. A total of 22 holes were played in that round. 

The History of the 18 Holes

There was a distinct number of holes on the early golf courses. In 1744, the Honourable Company hosted the world's first documented golf competition at Leith Links, which had 5 holes. They added two additional holes afterward. Leith had five holes when it first opened, and Blackheath soon followed suit, building 7 further holes. As a result of space limitations, Bruntsfield Links only added 6 holes in 1818. Until 1832, Musselburgh's Old Course only had 7 holes, but it was expanded to 9 in 1870. There were 7 holes by 1810, 14 holes by 1825, 11 holes by 1849, and 25 holes by 1866, however, they were decreased after 1874. 

There were at least 12 holes on the Old Course by 1764, if not earlier. 10 of the courses were played twice, resulting in a round of 22 holes, which were laid out in a straight line. But in 1764, a group of players agreed to merge the first four holes into two, which resulted in a round of 18 holes, even though it was only 10 holes, 8 of which were twice played. As a result, the construction of Prestwick in 1851 with only 12 holes was acceptable. St Andrews, on the other hand, had added second holes to the Old Course's eight double greens by 1857, resulting in a true 18-hole round. In 1858, the St Andrews Club also established an 18-hole round for use by its members.

What Is the Average Time for 18 Holes of Golf?

The most important elements affecting how long it will take you to complete 18 holes are group size and tempo of play.

Group Size

Playing 18 holes of golf takes about 4 hours on average. This time might vary depending on certain factors. The number of participants in the group and skill level is the most important factors in determining the length of time to play. A rookie golfer will take significantly longer than an experienced player to finish 18 holes of golf. The course will take longer to finish if there are several participants in the group versus if there is only one player.

If you're playing by yourself, you can finish your 18-hole game in as short as two hours and thirty minutes. As you add more people to your group, the time it takes to finish a game will increase by around thirty minutes for each extra participant. Two players can play in three hours, three players can play in three hours and thirty minutes, and four players can play in four hours on average.

Playing Every Type of Hole

There are three types of holes on a standard golf course: par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s. But how much time should you spend on each hole? To finish your round in four hours with a group of four players, strive to comply with the following time frames:

  • 10 minutes for a par-3 hole. Since there are four par-3s, it will take about 40 minutes.
  • 13 minutes for a par-4 hole. Since there are 10 par-4s, it will take two hours and 10 minutes.
  • 16 minutes for a par-5 hole.  Since there are four par-5s, it will take one hour and 40 minutes.

This gives you three hours and 54 minutes of gameplay and the travel time between holes is 6 minutes.

What Is the Average Golf Score for 18 Holes?

A common question among golfers is, "What is the average score?" This is a difficult question to answer since the answer is based on different factors, including the player's level of expertise, gender, and age. Those who play golf regularly have one distinct advantage over those who don't.

For 18 holes, 96 is the typical score for an inexperienced male golfer, while the average score for a female is 108. However, others believe that the national average golf score is somewhere between 96 and 108 strokes.

Any score can be good for a player, based on their experience. For instance, a score of 115 would be considered good. Golfers with no handicaps and only a few holes under their belt would be pleased with a round of 115. When you know your handicap, it's much easier to gauge how well you're doing on the golf course. Any golfer who shoots below their handicap is typically regarded to have had a successful round.

How Long Do 9 Holes of Golf Take?

The timeframe varies due to a variety of factors, just like discussed with an 18-hole course.  However, most 18-hole rounds last four hours on average. Thus, for a 9-hole course, it could take to two hours or 2.5 hours max.   Whether you play alone or in a group, an 18-hole round of golf ought to be fun. Your game really shouldn't take all day, and you should aim to play at a reasonable speed. It's important to consider the various factors affecting the duration of your 18-hole game so you could anticipate how long it should take you to complete the round.

Brad Carey

Brad Carey

An avid golfer, brad loves a round of 18 on a Sunday. After getting involved in the technical side of golf, he thought he'd share his insights with others.

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