Looking to squeeze in a short round after work but worried about running out of daylight? New to the game and need to understand how much time to carve out to play some golf?
Sometimes you just need a quick reminder of how long 9 holes of golf actually take. While the quick answer is roughly 2 hours, it depends on a number of factors that could change depending on circumstances.
In this article, we’ll be going through those factors and explaining how they can change the length of your round – more details are below.
How Long Does A 9-Hole Round Of Golf Take?
If the golf course is empty, a single player or a skilled couple will be able to get through 9 holes in around 75 minutes. This is for a regulation (aka championship but think traditional full-length) course if all conditions are perfect.
However, if the golf course isn’t empty, or the players are average or beginner golfers, this can take up to 3 hours – even for a par 3 course. (If you’re heading to Rancho Park’s Par 3 course in Los Angeles, this will likely be your experience.
These times are rough estimates, and if you have a golf cart you may be able to move even quicker. If you are walking, most of the time spent is walking between shots which makes it harder to cut down on your time.
Golf does take a while, a key reason why it is such a niche sport. If you are planning on playing a 9-hole round of golf and you are completely unsure of the conditions that you’re playing in regarding player skill, group size, walking, or carting, then it’s best to give yourself 2.5-3 hours in your schedule.
If you would like to know which conditions and factors will affect your game, we have a handy guide to help you plan ahead.
What Factors Affect Game Speed?
There are a number of different factors that affect the speed at which your game takes. In this section, we’ll highlight some, and how they affect you.
Player Skill Level
We’ve all got to start somewhere. If you are playing with an expert then your game will take no time at all as you will be able to finish a hole in fewer strokes.
However, if you are playing with a beginner, you’re going to have to be patient as they get to grips with the game. They will take more strokes on each hole both before and after getting on the green.
Remember beginners will start out on shorter courses, making par 3 courses an ideal place to start, and 9-hole rounds the next step up.
While this can be frustrating if you’re an experienced golfer that didn’t anticipate being caught up, it is important to remember that this is everyone’s game, not just the experts, and everyone has to start somewhere. There’s no harm in asking to take off ahead of your group if the hole is open, or asking to play through a slow group.
This will not only speed your round up to your liking but will also take the pressure off beginners allowing them to get to know the game without feeling rushed.
Walking Or Carting
This is quite an obvious one that could take a lot of time out of your 9 holes. Some people do prefer the leisure of walking around the beautiful green golf course – after all, it’s how the game started. However, most of your round is actually spent walking, so the time between shots can be cut significantly if you have a cart.
While using a golf cart to get around is obviously quicker, in some cases it’s more comfortable. While it can be better to keep warm by walking in cooler weather, it can also conserve energy for your swing in hot conditions and can protect you from the elements, whether that is sunshine or rain.
No two golf courses are the same. Every bump and dip, twist and turn make each course unique, this means that some courses are way harder or longer than others.
Some courses have many terrain features such as bunkers, water, and rough, getting stuck in these three features can throw a wrench in your pace.
Even if you can get out of these obstacles quickly it will still affect the number of strokes it takes you to complete the course and therefore your time.
However, thankfully golf clubs can’t put a bunker in while you are playing, so the likelihood is that the course will remain the same difficulty for a time.
Don’t hesitate to call the golf club and ask about the difficulty of the course, this can help you plan your schedule before getting to the course – especially if you’re considering a walk vs ride where there might be long distances between holes.
If you have a bigger group, the course is going to take a little longer. No matter how experienced your group is, even in the impossible scenario of every hole being a hole-in-one, it will take longer than if it was just you or just a couple.
If the golf course is empty, you could get around this issue by having players who have finished one hole move on to the next one while the rest of the players are finishing that hole.
Although it is more sociable to all stick together, it is important to be mindful of other players when in a big group and try not to take too long on one hole if the golf course is busy.
You can do this by all agreeing to lower the maximum score of the hole in a unanimous decision, or just letting your playing partners know you don’t care if they pick their ball up to catch up to you.
The weather is something that is out of anyone’s control. The weather can throw off even the most skilled golfer and subsequently increase the time it takes to finish a hole.
Not to mention it could be very miserable being out on a golf course for up to 3 hours in bad weather.
This is why many golfers choose ideal weather conditions to play their golf and maybe just stick to the club if the weather is bad.
If the golf course is busy, skill level, group size, terrain, or even walking distance will not affect the time it takes you to finish the course.
The simple fact is that if there is someone using the hole in front of you, then you cannot use that hole.
It can be frustrating if the person in front of you is taking a long time to finish their hole, but remember that golf is a sport for everyone and everyone has different skill levels, always try to be patient – just make sure you’re not that guy who reads each putt for 2 minutes to cause the traffice.
Sadly, we can’t spend all of our time playing golf, and sometimes the whole 18 holes are just going to take a little too much time out of our busy schedules.
Whether you’re doing the front 9 or the back 9 (early mornings of the 10th are a great way to get some morning exercise), a 9-hole round of golf will definitely help you get your fix – just remember to budget the right amount of time.
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