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

By Joe White

The time for an entire 18-hole round can be divided into a hole-by-hole calculation. Generally, it takes just under fifteen minutes to play a hole, but of course, every hole is different. You wouldn't expect to take the same amount of time to play a par 5 as you would to play a par 3. Some estimates put the times for different pars at nine, 12 and 18 minutes for par 3s, 4s and 5s, respectively. Considering the range of pars on different courses, this puts the time for an 18-hole round between three and a half and four and a half hours.

## Hole by Hole

The time for an entire 18-hole round can be divided into a hole-by-hole calculation. Generally, it takes just under fifteen minutes to play a hole, but of course, every hole is different. You wouldn't expect to take the same amount of time to play a par 5 as you would to play a par 3. Some estimates put the times for different pars at nine, 12 and 18 minutes for par 3s, 4s and 5s, respectively. Considering the range of pars on different courses, this puts the time for an 18-hole round between three and a half and four and a half hours.

## Courses vs. Pros

Most courses post a maximum time for expected completion of a round, usually ranging from four to four and a half hours. At some courses it's possible to play 18 holes in three and a half hours if the course isn't crowded and there is no slow play ahead. Professional golfers sometimes take longer to play if a course is especially difficult or if there are other complications in play. Also, pros are also not allowed to use carts during tournaments, which can significantly cut down playing time for an amateur.

## Problems and Solutions

Several variables can affect playing time: riding in a cart or walking; cart-path rules; course difficulty; your handicap; your playing partners. Common causes of slow play are crowded golf course, and a slow group ahead. Courses can spread tee times further apart to reduce congestion delays and courses often have course rangers who traverse the holes and encourage groups to maintain pace. In some situations, golfers will be asked to play holes out of order to avoid especially crowded areas of the course. But with all the variables ironed out, on average, expect a round of golf to last just more than four hours.