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How Long Does 9 Holes of Golf Take?

The length of time it takes to play 9 holes of golf can vary depending on a number of factors. The number of players in the group, the pace of play, and the efficiency of each shot can all impact how long it takes to complete a round.

Generally, a single player can play 9 holes in about 1.5 to 2 hours, while a group of four players may take about 2.5 to 3.5 hours. These times also depend on whether the players are using “ready golf” principles, where the golfer who is ready to hit goes first, rather than waiting for the person farthest from the hole to hit.

Additionally, the condition of the golf course, the speed of the greens, and the amount of time spent searching for a lost golf ball can also affect the overall time it takes to play. Therefore, it is important for golfers to be mindful of the pace of play and considerate of other players on the course in order to efficiently play 9 holes of golf. 

Time to Play 9 Holes for the Average Golfer

For the average golfer, a normal pace to play 9 holes is between 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. This allows time for hitting shots, walking or riding between holes, and enjoying the time on the course. Beginner golfers who are still learning may take closer to 2 hours or slightly longer as they take more strokes and time to prepare for shots.

More experienced golfers playing a casual round can likely finish 9 holes in 1.5 hours or less. So when considering how long does 9 holes of golf take, plan for 1.5 to 2 hours for most golfers playing at a moderate pace.

Factors That Determine Time to Play 9 Holes

Several key factors go into determining how long does 9 holes of golf take for a particular player or group. These include:

Pace of Play

The pace of play can vary based on how quickly golfers hit their shots and move between holes. Playing ready golf (hitting when ready instead of farthest from the hole first) and not spending excessive time looking for lost balls helps maintain a good pace. Rushing players or extremely slow play will alter the time for 9 holes.

Course Difficulty and Layout

More challenging courses with forced carries, tricky greens, and hazards take longer as they require more strategic thinking and golfers may need extra shots to reach greens and holes. Golf courses with a large distance between tees, greens, and next holes also adds more travel time between shots and holes. An easy 9 hole par 3 course will play faster than a hilly course with long par 4s and 5s.

Playing Ability and Number of Golfers

Beginner golfers with higher handicaps take more time and strokes to assess courses, read putts, and set up shots than professionals. Also, larger groups naturally take longer as golfers wait to hit and interact. Foursomes typically play 9 holes in more time than twosomes. The mix of player skills also factors in.

Using Carts, Walking, or Carrying Clubs

Use of motorized golf carts or carrying golf bags both influence time to play 9 holes. While walking without clubs is fastest, some courses require carts.

Carts speed up play between holes but golfers still walk the course itself. Carrying clubs can be tiring for some players and cause slower play. Caddies can help manage clubs to optimize time.

Weather Conditions

Inclement weather like rain, high winds, heat, and cold temperatures can prolong a 9 hole round. Golfers may wear extra gear, wait out passing storms, handle umbrellas, and deal with slick grips and surfaces. Colder temperatures can reduce swing flexibility and distances as well. Clear and sunny conditions from about 60-80 degrees F allows for ideal pace.

Tips for Speeding Up 9 Hole Golf Play

To finish your 9 hole round faster, here are some useful tips:

Limit Practice Swings and Pre-Shot Routines

Take just a few practice swings and establish a quick pre-shot routine, avoiding excessive swings, waggles, and alignment checks. Develop consistent swing mechanics requiring less rehearsal before shots. This alone can shave 5+ minutes per 9 holes.

Be Ready to Hit When It’s Your Turn

Pay attention to when it’s your turn, prepare with your selected club, and analyze the shot situation. Don’t spend extra time going through your entire bag or reading the hole once you’re up to hit. Keep pace with the group in front too.

Limit Search Time for Lost Balls

Spending less time searching dense woods and penalty areas for lost golf balls helps pace of play. Follow rules by taking a 1 stroke penalty, estimate the spot to drop near, and continue forward. Don’t search more than 3-5 minutes maximum.

Write the scores at the next tee box

Recording your score right when you finish a hole can hold up play if others have already teed off or are farther away. Wait until everyone reaches the next tee box to mark scores. Also use the official scorecard properly.

Use Carts Efficiently Between Holes

If using golf carts, drop your player partner at their ball and proceed quickly to your own to prepare for your next shot. Or park together between balls in a central area and walk a bit further. Don’t wait alongside as the other person hits and never drive ahead to the next tee until the hole is complete.

Maintain Position With Group Ahead

Make sure to keep pace with the group ahead so neither group waits excessively between holes. If a whole open hole appears in front, encourage players to speed up appropriately and close the gap. Complete putts instead of conceded strokes if needed.


How long to play 9 hole par 3?

A 9 hole par 3 golf course typically takes between 1 – 1 1/2 hours to play for most golfers. Shorter holes mean less walking between shots, making the overall time needed for a round shorter compared to a regular course.

Can you play 18 holes in 3 hours?

Amateur golfers can complete 18 holes in 3 hours or less if they maintain a good pace. However, this may prove challenging. This would require efficient play with little time wasted, very few lost balls, and playing “ready golf” where golfers hit when ready instead of strictly by farthest from the hole.

How many miles is 9 holes of walking?

When walking while carrying clubs or using a push/pull cart, playing 9 holes typically covers around 3.5-4 miles total. The distance walked varies based on course layout but plan for about 0.5 miles cumulative per hole. Those riding carts between holes would walk less mileage closer to 2-2.5 miles for 9 holes.


Following these tips when playing will help answer the question, “How long does 9 holes of golf take?” in about the ideal 1.5 to 2 hour timeframe.Assess what impacts your pace and work on problem areas. Consistently playing ready golf, limiting practice swings, and being mindful of maintaining position makes finishing 9 faster.

But don’t rush to the detriment of enjoying the golf experience itself. Find a reasonable balance between time and pleasure during your 9 hole rounds.

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