The short answer is that it depends! So many factors go into the timeline of a nine hole course, all of which we will explain to you in this guide.
While professional golfers can finish nine rounds in under two hours, it may take the average player half a day to complete the course. Golf games are also a leisure and relaxing activity to some, which means that the time it takes to complete nine holes truly depends on the player.
Number of Players
In a typical game of golf, you will have four players and all four players will play each hole. As the players rotate, you will find that the more players there are, the longer the game will take. So, four players will clearly take longer to achieve all 9 holes than two or three players.
The number of players as a whole on golf courses and tee time can also determine the length of your day. While most courses do their best to stagger tee times starting in the morning, this is when there tends to be the most traffic. More people on the course means longer wait times between holes, which will ultimately delay your game.
Golf Cart Usage
This is likely the biggest catalyst in determining the speed in which your nine hole round will be played. Are you looking to scoot through the day quickly or are you playing on a prestigious course hoping to walk the scenic route?
There are pristine golf courses in the United States, boasting nature, water views, and impeccable landscaping. It is not uncommon for golfers to opt to walk the holes, especially when the weather is mild. Not only does it give golfers a chance to take in the scenery, but it’s a great source of exercise!
Others opt for faster rounds of golf. Typically, average players who frequent the municipal courses are there to perfect their nine hole golf round score. They are typically busy, working professionals, who cram a game of golf into their busy day. Using a golf cart will substantially cut your golf time by at least half, if not more.
While a golfer’s skill level can greatly impact the length of a nine hole round, that is not always the case. Other factors, such as the ones mentioned above, play a more critical role in the exact timing of a game.
You might assume that if the skill level is higher, that would make for less shots, which would end the game more quickly. While that is a great possibility, you also have to factor in the number of players and the mode of transportation being used.
Skill level can certainly mean less shots per hole; however, many expert golfers spend more time than the average person to study the hole, analyze the proper club, and get into a specific mindset.
That being said, seasoned players will surely spend less time looking for a lost ball, while the inexperienced player might spend more time searching for the ball in the waterway. Golfing skills can make a vast difference in the hours you spend on your nine holes.
Difficulty of the Course
The difficulty of the course is likely the single biggest factor for determining the playing time for nine holes. While golfers prefer to use time management to have an average playing day, factors such as the difficulty of the course can put even an expert golfer into overtime.
South Carolina is home to the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, dubbed the number one most difficult golf course by Golf Digest! It boasts sand dunes, steep elevations, ocean winds, consistent waste bunkers, and roll resistant marsh grasses. According to the US Golf Association, the Ocean Course has one of the steepest slope ratings, coming in at 155. The conditions are so unstable that the course is often walk-only!
Other courses with challenging obstacles include factors such as variable green speeds, trenches, wildlife, sand hills, boulders, and environmental conditions. These difficult courses tend to take more time than your standard course.
Many courses on the list of the top 50 most difficult golf courses do not allow electric golf carts due to either emissions or the unstable terrain. In this instance, senior golfers or even a scratch golfer, could take an exceptional amount of time to complete nine holes.
Don’t you ever want to just grab your buddies and hit nine holes with a cooler of beer strapped to your cart? There’s nothing better! Your life is busy and this is your one day to unwind and live a little. So, there’s no chance you are going to rush the day. Make each hole a 30 minute pit stop and spend your entire day enjoying the greens!
Elderly players are amongst the largest makeup of casual golfers. These players tend to use golf carts, but they generally move slower than their younger counterparts, which means a longer day on the fairway.
On average, assuming all of the variables mentioned above, nine holes of golf will take four players roughly two hours. A two hour nine hole game means 15 minutes at each hole.
That being said, two players can play nine holes in an average of just 75 minutes. What a quick way to get some fresh air and perfect your golf swing!