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How long does a round of golf take for 4 players?

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Variables that affect the golf round times

Golf, without a doubt, isn’t a timed sport, just as you would have with football, basketball, or soccer. Many factors or variables can affect the amount of time a golf round often takes. The main factors that can affect a round of golf for 4 players are:

  • The difficulty on the golf course
  • The golfers’ handicap
  • The number of golfers in a group
  • The pace of other golfers in other groups

These factors make or break your golf round. Golf course marshals are in charge of keeping these things under control to the best of their ability (and sometimes annoying you while at it!)

How long does a normal round of golf take?

The next question is how long does a round of golf take for 4 players? A round of golf is expected to take about four hours to play for a group of four golf players. Interestingly, that’s the estimate most players will give for an ideal length of time to play 18 holes. As mentioned above, the actual time it takes to play varies for many reasons. For example, one golfer on an empty course should be able to finish 2 hours or, at most, two-and-half hours. I have finished in under 2 hours before.

How long does a round of golf take for 4 players? 3 players? etc.

Some golf rules changed back in 2019, with most of the rules aimed at improving the pace of play at every level of the game.

We researched and found out how long it will take to play a standard round of 9 and 18 holes.

chart for golf round times

Other factors that affect how long it will take to play a round of golf for 4 players

It is essential to note that there’s no official data to run a perfect calculation on how long the average round of golf would take. But on the flip side, there’s currently no official policy across the globe and spheres of the sport on what’s acceptable when it comes to the game’s pace.

Golf is already a long sport, so there is a benefit for everyone to increase the pace of play on the golf course. You do not want to break golf etiquette for beginners by holding up the entire golf course. 

The teeing options

A lack of teeing options on a golf course can often cause different club choices that a player is not used to hitting. This will lead to an indecisive and sometimes swapping of the clubs, which takes time. All of this can ultimately lead to slow-paced play. Golfers, in these circumstances, are given fewer options to avoid both hitting less lofted clubs and playing over obstacles like bunkers or water hazards.

The average time spent putting

A study tracked average playing times by month for more than a year, and it often turns out that the average length of time is gained or lost on the greens, not looking for golf balls. To finish a round of golf in four hours means you’d need to spend about thirteen minutes on each hole. This includes

  • Riding from hole to hole
  • Bathroom Break
  • Stopping at the clubhouse on the turn
  • The time it takes to walk around the greens.

The skill and number of golfers

The skill of scratch players is relatively unrivaled. Without a doubt, scratch players move through a golf course faster than golfers with 20 handicaps. (Find out what handicap you are) It takes longer for a foursome to play a round of golf compared to what it will take for a single player to play the same course. Even the PGA pro players end up with golf balls in hazards and heavy brush from time to time, though if your party has a golfer with a tendency to lose balls or a propensity for hitting the hazards, the golf round can stretch out to five hours or more.

The types of golf play

The style of play chosen directly impacts the game’s overall pace. You have the following types of play that can affect your time:

  • Stroke Play
    • Requires golfers to have a valid score on every hole. Every shot is played from each person. This normally takes the longest.
  • Match play
    • Not all golfers need a valid score. Once a player is in with a lower score, the balls are picked up and moved onto the next hole.
  • Scramble
    • Best ball from all 4 golfers. Typically the quickest form of play.

Course Variety

All courses aren’t the same, there are many different styles of golf courses. The USGA has assigned slope ratings to golf courses that are known as an indication of the difficulty of a golf course. If you are playing a golf course that’s rated difficult and you are a beginner golfer, it is reasonable to expect a longer playing time compared to courses that aren’t as challenging.

There are par-3 courses, where the entire holes are par-3 and are tagged to executive courses with just par-3 and par-4 holes. These courses will be faster to play on compared to a course that include par-5 holes.

The time between groups teeing off

If there isn’t enough time between the groups of golfers, the course can become overcrowded, thus, increasing the waiting time on each hole. Golf courses work multiple experiments a year to try and fit the exact spaces in between tee times. It’s a fine mix between revenue and experience.

The length of the rough

The length of the rough is one other factor to consider. Severe rough tends to slow rounds due to players looking for lost golf balls. Interestingly, the grass can also cause huge problems when contacting the golf ball. This can cause even the best players to make mistakes. Learn how to hit out of the rough here!

Some obstacles on the golf course

Mos (if not all) golf courses have a mix of water hazards, bunkers, trees, rough terrain, and bunkers trees, to name a few. The more chances of golf penalties on the course, the more difficult it is to recover from these obstacles, which will ultimately lead to slower play.

The green conditions

Hard and very difficult greens are the two common examples of golf course conditions that cause long round times. Beginner golfers tend to chip back and forth over a very fast green. You can prevent that by checking out our chipping tips for beginners. Meanwhile, the pace of play is impacted when greens have steep slopes and an unnatural roll.


How can we ever forget the weather? The sport is a difficult one to play. Now add in the scorching sun, a strong wind, or some rain, and what will you get? A terrible playing experience. Poor weather cannot only have an effect on how far a golf ball can fly, but it can also increase the amount of time it takes to play a golf round for 4 people.

Long Bombs Golf Final Say

There are many factors that can affect a round of golf for 4 people. There are also many benefits for reducing the length of time it takes to play golf. Awesome player experience and increased participation will increase interest from new players. Older players will not get impatient and have to wait in between each hole. All golf courses take these factors into consideration and try to give the best playing experience and helping you break even par. Learn what does E mean in golf here.


About the Author


How we got onto 16 with a 5 minute wait at the WM Phoenix Open!

How I got on hole 16 (The Stadium hole) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with little to no wait!! I also have tips and tricks on what to do once you are inside the gate and inside the stadium hole. Check this out if you ever plan to make a trip out! If you ever have the chance, it is definitely worth the trip.

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