How Long Is A Round Of Golf? (For 1-4 players)


There is nothing better than getting out with your friends for a round of golf on a hot summer’s day, but how long should a round of golf take? 

An 18-hole round of golf should take a four-ball approximately four hours to complete, any longer, and you may guilty of slow play. For a two-ball or three-ball, around should take between three to three and a half hours.

Several factors can change how long it might take you to complete a round of golf, from the number of players you have playing in your group to the length and undulation of the course. 

In this guide, I will be walking you through how long you should expect to take while also advising you on how to avoid slow play.

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How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take For 2 Players?

Playing Group Size Time Through 9-Holes Time Through 18-HolesPar 3 TimePar 4 TimePar 5 Time
One-Ball1 hr 15 min2 hr 30 min6 mins8 mins10 mins
Two-Ball1 hr 30 min3 hr 0 min8 mins10 mins12 mins
Three-Ball1 hr 45 min3 hr 30 min9 mins11 mins14 mins
Four-Ball2 hr 0 min4 hr 0 min10 mins13 mins17 mins

As a general rule, a two-ball should complete 18-holes of golf within 3 hours and 30 minutes, averaging around 10 minutes for each par 4 and 15 minutes for each par five-hole. A skilled two-ball could complete an empty 18-hole golf course in less than 3 hours if they had a golf cart. 

Maintaining a good pace of play is one of the essential parts of playing golf. Especially if you’re in a four-ball, you need to respect other players on the course who are playing a lot faster than you and not hold them up. A two-ball should be completing an 18-hole round of golf in less than 3 hours and 30 minutes. 

That can sometimes take a little longer if they are held up on the fairway’s and greens by other slow players ahead of them on the course, which can be a real frustration for golfers who are maintaining a good pace.

For tips on how to avoid slow play or how to ask if you can play through slower golfers, check out my golfing etiquette guide for some advice on maintaining a good pace of play. 

If a two-ball can play an open course, they can move the ball around in about three hours or less. However, if you’re short for time or the elements are against you, consider hiring a buggy, which can help you speed up your round on longer courses with many par 5s. 

Generally, two golfers shouldn’t take a lot of time to get around 18-holes. If you take over 4 hours, something is going seriously wrong, and you might want to book a lesson. Although if you’re having a playing lesson with a coach, it’s perfectly normal to assume you may take over 3 hours 30 to complete around. 

You’ll be talking through each shot, assessing your lie, and generally stopping to discuss how you’re playing. Playing around with your golf coach is one of my top eleven reasons why booking a lesson can improve your golfing game.  

It’s also wise to remember not to rush your game as a two-ball. Playing your best golf will help you get through the round faster than rushing each shot; if you hurry, you’re likely to chunk shots, hit more slices, and end up spending more time looking for your ball in the bushes. That can take a lot of time out of your round. 

Relax, take your time, and hit good shots. It’s always better to take a little longer to address a ball comfortably and swipe a good shot down the fairway than rush your shot, smack the ground and then have to play another straight away. For more advice on how not to hit the ball fat, see my guide on the costs of booking a lesson with a PGA Tour professional!

The difficulty of the course may also play a factor in how long it takes a group to get around 18- holes. If you’re playing a long course, like Torrey Pines or Oakmont, two of the longest golf courses in the US, your round will undoubtedly take a lot longer to complete than perhaps the short 6,800-yard par 72 at Pebble Beach. 

You’ll also want to factor in the difficulty of the course and the rough surrounding the fairway. On courses like Winged Foot or Carnoustie in Scotland, the rough on the obstacles, conditions, and way the course plays can be pretty difficult for most golfers, even the pros!  

Golfers can also have a pretty ‘rough’ time trying to find their ball in the thick stuff, so it’s wise to be on the tee nice and early to give yourself enough time to find those lost balls and hack them from out of the rough. 

Do golf rules confuse you? For a complete guide to making golf rules easy to understand look no further than my post.

How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take For 4 Players?

A four-ball should take approximately four hours to complete a round of 18-holes; this can depend on the course’s length, skill level, and course difficulty. If you’re taking between four and five hours, then you may need to spend a bit more time on the range before your next round. 

Getting stuck behind a slow four-ball on the golf course is one of the biggest banes of any golfer’s round. A four-ball needs to keep up the pace of play as a matter of etiquette. With more players, you are bound to play a lot slower than other golfers on the course. 

A good place for a four-ball is to play around 13 minutes for each par four while playing 16 minutes for each par 5. Check out the timetable below for more information on how long each group of players should take to play each hole. Ultimately as a four-ball, you want to be through nine holes in around 1 hour 45 minutes and a full eighteen in no more than four hours.

If it takes you longer than four hours, then it may be wise to put in a bit of practice before you come back for your next hole. Again, your skill level can determine how fast or slow you play around, with a very skilled four-ball able to swing around a course in about 3 hours and 30 minutes, with minimal disruptions. 

One thing I’d advise most four-balls is not to take out golf carts. If you’re looking to run a smooth and efficient round of golf with four players having two golf carts can slow you down, with golfers having to drive between multiple shots around the course. 

Buggies can only make a one-ball or two-ball faster. Plus, depending on the conditions, it may be inadvisable to take out a golf buggy in severe weather. Would you please take a look at my guide on whether golf buggies can get wet and whether it’s advisable to use them when the weather is stormy?

Four-balls will also be prone to playing different game types that can slow or speed up your round. For example, you can speed up a four-ball by playing pairs, where each pair only plays one golf ball between them, taking turns to hit alternate shots.

You can also speed up your round by playing the game-type texas scramble, where all players tee off and move their shots to the ball with a preferable lie on the course. That again can speed up play, but games, where Stableford scores are involved or match play golf, can slow down a four-ball significantly. 

Golf is a social sport, and players like to have a chat and a drink throughout their round, which is acceptable at most golf courses. However, if you are going to have a drink during your round, you need to remember golf etiquette and keep up the pace of playMy article discussing whether you can drink while playing your round can help you avoid slow play and respect golf etiquette.

How Long Should A Round Of Golf Take Each Playing Group?

Playing Group Size Time Through 9-Holes Time Through 18-HolesPar 3 TimePar 4 TimePar 5 Time
One-Ball1 hr 15 min2 hr 30 min6 mins8 mins10 mins
Two-Ball1 hr 30 min3 hr 0 min8 mins10 mins12 mins
Three-Ball1 hr 45 min3 hr 30 min9 mins11 mins14 mins
Four-Ball2 hr 0 min4 hr 0 min10 mins13 mins17 mins

Below is a table giving you a better idea of how long each round of eighteen holes should take each number of players, with guidance on how long you should play each hole. These times are approximations of a standard 20 handicap group of golfers without buggies on a par 72 course.

How Long Does It Take To Play Golf 9 Holes?

As a general rule, average players complete a 9-hole in less than 1.5 hours; high handicappers take between 2 hours- 2.5 hours. On average, a three-ball should take 1 hour 45 mins; a two-ball should do 9-holes in 1 hour 30 mins. Thus, a solo-golfer should take roughly 1 hour 15 mins to shoot 9-holes.  

In total, depending on the size of your playing group, to calculate how long it should take to play 9-holes just half the average time it takes you to play 18. 9-hole courses are typically better suited to beginner golfers and are a great place to get used to golfing etiquette and developing your game. 

Aside from beginner golfers, 9-hole courses can also be challenging for many experienced golfers to improve their skills.

Many 9-hole courses are shorter than some of the 18-hole courses you might find throughout the country, but that challenges you to dial in your short game. For more advice on chipping around the green and what clubs to use, check out my guide here.

What’s excellent about 9-hole courses is that you often don’t need to book them and can turn up when you have perhaps two hours spare on a Friday night for a quick round of golf with your friends. 

Most 9-hole courses are open to golfers who aren’t always club members where you find slow play around the course.

Players are learning, and others are casual golfers who may take a little longer to get through the whole nine holes than more experienced players you’d find playing 18-holes. 

Whatever size of group you’re playing in, you shouldn’t be taking more than two hours to get around a 9-hole golf course. Even for four balls, 9-holes should only take you two hours maximum.

What Is A Fast Round Of Golf?

The fastest round of golf ever recorded is 26 minutes and 27 seconds; typically, a quick round would be anything under or around three hours. A three-hour round is impressive for a four-ball and is the expected speed of play for a two-ball or one-ball.

That Guinness World Record for the fastest round ever was set at the Woodhill Golf Estate in Pretoria, South Africa, by a golfer who scored 92 on a 6995-yard golf course but let’s face it, no one likes rushing a round of golf, right? 

Playing fast is an excellent way to play, especially if you’re playing socially with a four-ball of your friends; ready golf is a term used a lot in golf and means if you’re prepared to hit your shot, then play on, even if technically it’s not your turn to go. 

I advise players to try and not rush their rounds, as the more you rush your golf, the worse you’ll play. But there are several tips and tricks you can do as a four-ball to help you speed up play without causing detriment to your golfing game. 

The first is to be on time for your tee-off; a thing that annoys me is golfers showing up 5-10 minutes late for their slot and thinking they can slow down the rest of us by playing on. Would you please respect other golfers and ensure you turn up on time to your tee and maintain the time structures the club has put in place? 

It would help if you also turned up with all the right equipment and ready to play. So if you’re struggling to structure your golf bag, here are some tips and tricks I use to ensure my clubs, tees, and balls are all in an easy-to-access place when I play golf. 

Talk to your playing partners. If you think someone is better placed to take their shot before you while you figure out what club and line you’re going to play, tell them. Positive communication is severely lacking on the golf course, and the more you help each other, the more fun you’re round will be. 

Another top tip is to watch each other’s golf balls off the tee. If your partner hooks their ball into the rough, you’ll be better placed to find that golf ball if you have been watching their ball flight. 

Lastly, strategically position carts and bags towards the next hole. When you’re around the green, try to limit the amount you have to walk to get to the next tee by dropping your bag on the way to the tee-box. That way, you’ll save yourself carrying or pushing your clubs around the green and will be well set up to get to the next hole. 

Efficient golf is good golf; if a fast game means your rush, that’s not what golf is. Instead, relax on the course, focus on playing the game, and try not to whizz through your round. Instead, maintain a good pace of play using the tips above and watch yourself become an infinitely better golfer. 

If your clubs are not fitted, you’re seriously missing out; see how vital a club fitting is to your game in my article.

See the latest pricing for the best golf equipment on Amazon below.

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