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GOLF 101: How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take?

GOLF 101: How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take?

Golf is not a timed sport like many others, how long a game of golf takes depends on quite a few things. As a general rule, it takes about 3.5 hours to play a full round with 2 others. For two players, it’s about 3 hours. If you play alone, you could play as quickly as 2 hours. If you are wondering how long an 18 holes game of golf will take & what an acceptable pace is? keep reading & learn how to estimate your golf time to better understand your game.

How Long Does A Round Of Golf Take?

The R&A state in their “Pace of Play Manual” that, as a general rule of thumb, the following intervals are reasonable for different-sized groups in golf.

Two-balls – 8-minute intervals

Three-balls – 10-minute intervals

Four-balls – 11 or 12-minute intervals

This means that based on their recommended intervals, and if golfers keep to them, we can assume the following about how long is a round of golf:

  • An 18-hole round for two players 

should take around 2 hours and 20 minutes.

  • A full round for three players should take 3 hours

  • And for four players, it should take between 3 hours and 18 minutes to 3 hours and 36 minutes.


  • COURSE LENGTH - Golf courses vary widely in length (Anywhere from 5000 – 8500 yards). The total length of the course, the distance from green to tee, and the overall terrain and layout of the course can affect the time of your round.

  • COURSE DIFFICULTY - Some courses may have longer rough, more bunkers, hazards, and obstacles. Other courses may have blind tee shots, narrower fairways, a lot of elevation throughout the course, and faster greens. No two courses are the same!

  • THE WEATHER - If you play most of your golf in an area of the world that experiences all four seasons, then at some point throughout the year, you will be contending with the wind, the rain, and everything that comes with it, such as plugged/lost balls, and less distance.

  • PLAYERS SKILL LEVEL - in theory, everyone on the course should work their way around the course in a good time. This is rarely the case, and a wide range of golfers are on the course at any given time. Lower handicap players are not going to hit as many balls offline. They will generally hit it further, straighter, and they won’t spend as much time looking for lost balls. Beginner and higher handicap golfers will tend to lose more balls, hit more errant tee shots, and take more shots overall because they can’t hit the ball as far. It all adds up.

  • How Many People Are Playing - A three-ball will be faster than a four-ball, a two-ball faster than a three, and if you are playing by yourself, you should be able to get around reasonably. Then there is the case of how many people are playing on the whole course at any given time, as this impacts how long it takes for 18 holes of golf. If you are playing on the weekend, on an extremely famous course, or got caught in the middle of a society day, then the general pace of play will be much slower.

  • What Style Game You Choose To Play - Stroke play, for example, where every golfer needs to complete every hole to record a valid score, is going to be much slower than if you choose to play matchplay whereby you will receive “gimmes” for shorter putts, or foursomes, where partners take alternate shots all of which save time on your round.

  • Playing Alone vs When You’re Playing in a Group - Playing in a group rather than playing alone can almost double your playing time, depending on the quality of your friends. If you play alone and are rather adept, expect it to take between 2 hours and 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you opt to play in a three-ball or a four-ball, this can take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the quality of the golfers.

  • Riding in a Golf Cart vs Walking in Golf - Using a golf cart does impact the average round of golf time undeniably if the course is quiet or not used by many golfers. It takes away 10 – 20 minutes of time that would be spent walking between shots and holes. Though, if it is very busy, the time isn’t much different from if you were walking.


    If you were wondering how long a game of golf take, hopefully, this has given you some insight as to the varying factors that impact the length of the game.

    the average time is about 3.5 hours if you’re with a couple of friends — about 30 minutes more or less per person in your group. Of course, many factors can affect the amount of time you spend on the golf course. Whether it’s the weather, the course difficulty, your skills, or even the group in front of you, the time it takes on a given round can vary

    What is important is that newcomers, all the way up to the professionals on tour, maintain a good pace of play.

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