Foreword: Time to complete a golf game may vary depending upon no. of players involved, their skill level and the golf course (if it’s a 9 Hole or an 18 Hole Course. Ideally speaking a group of 4, playing on an 18 hole course may take up to 4 hourse to complete a game. Lets know more about the factors that affects the duration of a golf game on the course.
How Long Does It Take To Play 18 Holes Of Golf
The Time Required to Golf 18 Holes
If there are four players, four balls, then it takes around 4 hours for its completion. But you know it might vary due to different reasons. The rounds have taken a time of about 3 to 6 hours also, I have seen personally. For every golf hole it takes around 13 minutes on average. Maybe the players consume more time, and each player if consumes additional 5 minutes per hole then the addition of 90 minutes will be added to the round time.
On every lost ball and each hole, a time of only 5 minutes is allowed to every player for searching.
The Course Length
The length of any golf course varies and is based on the terrain where it is laid. Boundaries are a part of the land available, and longer lengths are bound to take more time to complete a round.
China boasts of the longest and conventional Golf Course in the world, the Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club Course is in Lijiang. If the area is 8,473 yards, the golf round will be a longer one. This will be about 10,000 yards above sea level and will be beneficial. This will make the ball go further by just making it fly 15-20% more. Sometimes a normal round might leave you short of breath and one hole can provide you oxygen then.
The Nullarbor Links Australia has a uniquely designed golf course, that is spread in a wide area of 850 miles and includes 18 towns having one hole each. Though I feel it is a bit insignificant or weird.
The putt type layouts have cover areas for pitch, and various short courses feature a yard mark of 1,000. Keeping the 9-hole courses aside, the 5,000-yard range has 18-hole courses.
It’s obvious that if the layout possesses many elevations then the round is bound to take more time. The uphill movement tends to be slower. More time is required for the blind tee shots, approach shots while scoping out and searching for balls in the terrain. If there are narrow fairways then more time is spent in between the trees.
In case of rough areas an additional time will be required looking for lost balls.
If the greens are well protected that might take more time of yours if the shots are high pitch or chip for landing. Tricky greens are also time consuming.
This is also one of the factors, as the weather determines the time or the delay time. It’s ok to play in warm weather or with a little breeze, but more to bear will hamper your play and round time. For e.g. in the month of February and a sea breeze of 30mph with a bit of rain on the Scottish Links will certainly have more time on the clock. Extreme hot conditions also make you take more time.
The Number of Golfers in The Group
It takes about 2 hours or more if you go quickest and race around a course, even though I have tried so. On an average a time of 3.5 hours is required by standard 2 balls. If there are four balls then we can add a time of ½ hour more, and more than this can be quite taxing.
The Group’s Skill Levels
The more skilled the golfers are of your group the less time they are going to take than the others that could hit the ball away offline more. The skilled ones have fewer chances to hit the ball far offline. Some of them might consider themselves Jordan Spieth, taking over every shot.
The beginners are surely going to take much more time looking for balls, as some are unaware to look for the places though.
Unlike other sports the fastest guy could be a much-experienced golfer be it they are in their 80’s. They know every nook and corner of the course and hit the balls with ease without bothering, a totally different style of the unique golf game.
If there are bunkers on the right and left side of the greens and are 150 yards away, then the middle of the green is the place I would prefer. While these will prefer 10 yards and target for that, and the possibility of landing in the bunkers is absolutely nil. They can just play flawlessly with decent chips and with one or more puts. They strike differently.
It’s pretty common for any of us to change our golf course, and it sharpens your game too. If the course is absolutely new, you might take more time to cover the area, making your game a little slower. The courses that are not well signposted, are challenging sometimes.
Your home course location will be very familiar and will not let you take more time in the whereabouts while slicing, pulling as the new areas involve more guessing time.
It is wise to carefully watch your ball and decently pick your bail outs. You will be at benefit with good starters, thereby pointing to common issues.
For example, a course where you have not played before then an advice for the 6th, if you are not able with your driver to make your ball take a flight of 250 yards, then you should lay before the water otherwise you will be inside.
Slow Players of Golfers Ahead
If the courses are busy and the group of golfers ahead of you are slow, then it’s going to make the day too long to play. Marshals are employed these days by some busy courses for discussing and setting the slower groups accordingly.
I have met a variety of good and bad marshals. As they just check you from far, your tee time and sometimes say goodbye. Just can’t forget Portugal, and the variety we met there.
The tee shot was 190 yards of water and while being on the 13th tee we occasionally dropped one short in order to hit some decent drives. At that time one marshal approached and told us about our unacceptable play, and that a bus load of golfers would catch us up soon.
Though we were clear that nobody was there within the two group holes, as we had observed nicely. What else could we do, as we stood on the 13th tee and were left with only 6 holes to complete. We also tried to convince that we weren’t slow players, that about 2 holes for a group and any group behind would catch up to play with 6 holes. The arguments take time you know.
She had gone and me and my partner dropped the balls in water and had some wounds by now. We had some more time to tee and drive again without getting caught.
The winning or losing on your tour card can be decided by being a part of top competitions where a professional golfer has a time of four days, with 72 holes spread and a missed putt of 3 putts, it matters a lot. As a professional golfer you have to be careful of every pitch, chip shot or putt you take. After all, you are competing with the best.
If you play in groups and just a social round of golf then there might be less emphasis on perfection. This kind of play will have a few gimmes as you play on weekends with your buddies for fun.
While having competitions in the clubs the game tends to be slower due to playing off the back tees and makes the course longer. Once you are competing, mind it, every shot counts, so the golfers need to be extra careful. This might cost a lot of time as the professionals are on the course.
Your Own Slow Play
It happens sometimes that one of the players might leave his bag or cart at a wrong place, and the other bloke might have to wait before going for another shot. The searching of balls on the off line drives will also make the time run.
While the player walks from green to the tee box this slower one will always remain back.
Not to laugh, but this guy will stare at the ball for 2 minutes or more before hitting it. Just check it out that the bloke we are discussing here is obviously not you, and if you then take care of the inconvenience and time spent that might cost others and you.
Playing Off- The Wrong Tees
This is also common as the men might choose to play the yellow tees socially and when going for competitions might go for white tees. Women prefer red while the juniors go for blue tees.
The courses offer different tee boxes and if you are ever on a new course and in a state of confusion then choose the yellow tee.
Slow Play Remedies
Its really annoying if you have a slower golfer ahead of you and making you wait and also if you are in a state of pressure by the groups behind you. To avoid these issues, try to be a little alert and make your play faster. These days slow play is a matter of great concern as it involves time and affects the time a golf round takes.
Changes in Rules
Be it Golf or any other game, there are certain set of rules to be adhered to. There are books and authorities to design the rules, and some intentionally make the game slower. So, to make the game quicker some new rules have come and some old ones are modified.
As mentioned above in the article also, an extra time of only 5 times is allowed to a golfer in case of searching for a ball. It is supposed to be a part of good manners if the partners stand in support of their co-player.
Now this has been changed to 3 minutes and there is a saving of 2 minutes time per hole. And for the higher handicappers a time of 10 minutes per round might be saved.
In case there is a flag in the hole then a player can’t hole a putt in that particular one. This used to make the player leave his game and walk over the green to attend his partner’s game. Good that this rule is removed now.
Presently if a golfer has a drop, then this is supposed to be done with the shoulder height. This is suitable for flat grounds, while for others it might involve a lot of time to be wasted. The two club lengths are being used by a rolling ball then it is supposed to be dropped again and in case the same repeats, has to be placed where it struck.
The good change is that the shoulder length is replaced by knee length. We hope to have more changes in the near future for reducing any drops or placements.
Once the game is about to start you need to just be ready as a golfer to save time. The furthest one to play first. But sometimes deciding who is the furthest involves a lot of time and thereby making the game slower.
The Basic Sense
You should always follow basic things of common sense, such as putting your bag away from the green to the next tee. There are two advantages to it, as it will save time in extracting your things and will provide enough space to the other players for playing the shots.
Moving on to the next tee should be marked with a card, and should not be confused with green. You can take time for your shots, and should make efforts to move quickly between them. You should be aware and alert for whatever is going around you, means the group before or the group ahead.
Its better if the groups that are quick are behind you. Because waiting doesn’t work well either way. Clarity gives you more space to move. If your group is searching for a ball and the other team members are waiting then wave and be on one side, that is what decency is.