How Long Does It Take to Play 18 Holes of Golf and How to Improve Speed?

Golf is a game of precision and skill. It’s played in rounds based on the course you’re playing on. If you decide to play on an 18-hole golf course, you play each hole once. However, on a 9-hole golf course, you can play each hole twice to finish 18 holes of golf.

This math is simple enough. But the time to complete it is tricky.

Time is a personal commodity on a golf course. Each player is in control of his or her own time. This, as it turns out, is the real question that needs attention.

What determines how long you take to play 18 holes of golf?

We can easily draw this article to a conclusion, right now, with a simple answer. Based on the average golfer (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), that is.

So let’s do that. But with a few more details to spare.

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


Imagine you’re a regular golf player. You’re no longer a beginner but you’re not quite a professional yet. Somewhere in the middle lies your skills as a golfer.

Also, imagine you’re out on an empty golf course. Though you’re playing in a team, you’re the first one to begin.

What’s your average play is based on the average distance and course length? This, according to the PGA of America, is 208 and 5,400 to 6,000 yards.

Based on these calculations, let’s assume you’re going to take and miss some shots. You’re no expert. Besides, even experts miss it! For 18 holes of golf, you have to walk the entire course. And we’re walking, not running, which is about 5 miles over 18 holes.

Hitting your shots, assessing them, and covering the distance. Taking bathroom breaks, chatting, and shot preparation. All these little things add up and matter when playing an intense 18 holes of golf.

This should bring your total up to around 4 hours when you’re not rushing. Even less if you’re a fast golfer and you don’t stop to light a cigar in the middle of the game!

Now that you’ve got the average golfer’s time covered. Let’s understand what it means. And how to quicken your golf pace without making any drastic changes.

How to Speed Up Golf Game?


There are ways you can cut 5 hours into 3 and-a-half to 4 hours. But this is not possible if you simply rush the game forward. That opens up room for more mistakes and the time spent in correcting those mistakes.

So when you want to reduce time and play 18 holes of golf successfully. Well, this is what you have to do.

1. Take fewer practice swings


There’s no rule to the number of times you can take a practice swing. But lots of new golfers tend to annoy those behind them by wasting time on it.

Ideally, you shouldn’t take more than 1-2 practice swings. A practice swing allows you to perfect the shot you’ve already assessed in your head. It’s not something you practice on the course. But even if you do, try to keep it to the minimum.

2. Don’t exceed your distance


This is the most important tip. You should play from a distance you’re comfortable at playing. For the average golfer, this is about 300 yards shorter.

Once you’ve acquired more experience, you can establish newer distances. But, if you’re playing 18 holes of golf for the first time, do not overestimate your abilities.

Playing 18 holes of golf takes time. So you want to keep things smooth and at a steady pace.

Here’s the math. If you’re playing on a 6,300 yards course, your average golf drive must be at 220 yards. Not more and not less. This also depends on your golf speed – which should be about 80 miles per hour.

Only professional golfers can ace a golf speed of 110 or more mph.

If you’re a newcomer, you’re more likely to slow people down. If you think your old golf routine is suiting you, if it’s slowing others down, you’ve got to change it.

3. Take 20 seconds

To keep your 18 holes of golf game moving in a timely fashion, stick to a routine. This means you hit your shot in under 20 seconds. That’s how you can keep the game efficient while not rushing or slowing others down.

4. Think ahead


This is one of the worst mistakes a beginner golfer can make. To minimize your time on the tee, plan your shot ahead of time.

Think of this as a chess game. If you don’t think ahead in a chess game, you lose. In golf, planning your route saves time. You can decide what club you want to use. And think about the yardage.

So when it’s actually your turn to play, you can set up the ball and take your shot.

5. Riding versus walking


Though it makes no significant cuts in time. But riding to your ball is quicker than walking to it. Unless you appreciate the walking as it allows you to meditate on your next move.

But if you seriously want to reduce time, you can do so by almost an hour by riding. Walking at a slow but steady speed – which is about 3 miles per hour. This could take you 5 hours to play 18 holes of golf.

And riding can take about 3 and-a-half to 4 hours.


Caring about your golf game and how to improve it is amazing. Depending upon the course traffic, skill level, and type of course. All these factors influence how long it takes to play 18 holes of golf.

Playing at a smooth pace is one of the most difficult things to achieve in golf. You don’t want to hurry up for the sake of making time. Nor do you want to rush the players around the course.

Playing slow is not such a bad thing in golf. But playing dreadfully slow when you can improve your time is. This article helps you on both fronts. How to play well and how to play faster to improve speed.

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