How Long Does 9 Holes of Golf Take? How to Increase Pace of Play?

The pace of play is something many golfers think and some even worry about. And, to be honest, that’s absolutely normal. Wanting to know how long does 9 holes of golf take is more common than you think. Because, after all, we humans are bound to time. So it’s only natural to want to know how much time you need to allot to your round of golf.

Another common reason to want to know how long does it take to play 9 holes of golf is to check if YOUR pace of play isn’t too slow. Because if it is, and nobody is saying that you have to play like a pro, then you may want to work on that as well (tips to improve the pace of play in golf are also discussed in this article).

Furthermore, playing a 9-hole round of golf, in comparison to playing 18 holes, means you get to play golf without having to spend a huge chunk of your day there on the course. The former certainly doesn’t require the same commitment (with regards to time only of course) as the latter.

Plus, over the years, I myself have found playing 9 holes more enjoyable than 18 holes!

How Long Does A 9-Hole Round of Golf Take?

Anywhere between 2 hours and 2.5 hours – that’s about it! So if your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to play 18 holes, why not play 9 holes instead, right? Even though the standard or traditional game of golf consists of 18 holes but then whoever said that playing 9 holes is not equally challenging!

Needless to say, the time taken differs from one golfer to the next based on many factors (also discussed later). For instance, a more experienced player might take under 2 hours for completing his/her round. On the other, a newcomer may take even longer than 2.5 hours.

Each hole on the golf course, on average, takes around 13-15 minutes. And this is actually the time allotted to holes by most golf clubs. It’s based on the expected timeframe that a pro or beginner usually takes.

Some elite clubs even go so far as to set a 90-minute interval for players to finish their 9-hole game of golf. And if you don’t have a golf cart at such times, it surely is quite difficult for completing the round within just 90 minutes.

Hence, taking all of this into account, between 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours is typically the time taken for golfers to finish playing 9 holes.

Cart vs. Walking – How Does This Matter?

Golf-carting means time saved walking from one hole to the other.

Using a cart for completing a golf game of 9 holes – the time taken is usually between 2 hours and 2.5 hours.

On the other hand, walking during a 9-hole round of golf – time taken is usually more than 2.5 hours, around 2.75 hours.

You Play Faster If You’re A More Experienced Golfer

Naturally, your skills also decide how long you’re going to take. Pro-level and more experienced players finish the round in a reasonable frame of time (approx. 1.5 hours) because they’re more likely to hit their shots more accurately into those greens. And also, they don’t lose golf balls all that easily. Thus, less time is wasted.

But if your skills are under construction (check out our top starter golf club sets), then it’s only normal to take over 2 hours for completing 9 holes of golf.

More Course Congestion/Traffic Means Slower Pace of Play

The greater the number of players present on the golf course, the longer you will take to finish a single round. When the course gets really heavy, it might even take as long as 3 hours for playing just 9 holes of golf. So expect to wait for at least 6-10 minutes before you play every hole that day.

Size of the Golf Course and How Tricky It Is Are Factors That Also Count

Par-3 golf courses make way for a shorter time, between 1 and 1.5 hours to finish 9 holes.

As for standard par 34 as well as par 37 courses, around 1.5-2.5 hours is the usual time taken.

Related: What Is ‘Par’ In Golf?

Generally speaking, anywhere between 5,500 yards and 6,000 yards is the overall distance of golf courses. Over here, the majority of golfers take around only 2 hours for wrapping up a 9-hole round of golf.

As for larger courses (over 7,000 yards), it’s only logical to need more time i.e. more than just 2 hours to complete a single game.

As for tricky golf courses, these typically include water hazards, too many bunkers, etc. Thus, a longer time automatically for a round of golf. In that case, if you’re only just beginning to play golf, practice on a smaller course or ground first and then hit the larger golf courses.

Improve Your Pace of Play – Easy, Quick Tips!

1. Always be in the ‘ready to play’ mindset and position while waiting for another golfer to be done with the hole.

2. Keep the group players as few as possible if you want your round of golf to get over faster.

3. Establish an expected pace of play, also informally known as par time (like ‘par score’), as the standard time taken for completing each hole.

4. When approaching the green, make sure your golf cart, bag, etc. are positioned in such a way that enables faster, more efficient movement toward the next shot.

5. There are caddies available for a reason, correct? So why not use them or the golf course volunteers/staff to your advantage! Take their advice with regards to the expected pace of play at that golf course.

6. Increase not just how fast you play but also your enjoyment level on the course simply through a wide range of tees that suit your abilities, skills, and distance potential.

7. Stroke Play is the slowest type of golf game you can play. So why not avoid these forms of play when the golf course is already heavily congested or if you don’t have enough time on your hands. Or instead, make sure the group consists of only four golfers for Stroke Play.

8. Follow those simple, clear signs installed on the golf course that direct you to take the fastest route.

9. A very simple strategy to increase your pace of play – watch your every shot very carefully. Even others’ if you care that much. Because you really don’t want to waste time in search of lost balls.

On a related note, if you tend to lose more golf balls during your rounds, consider switching to cheap ones that are still reliable in terms of both value and performance.

10. Ever heard of the Ready Golf concept? It’s one of the most effective methods for accelerating the pace of play. The strategy involves not following the conventional order and instead playing right when you’re ready.

For example, a short hitter playing before a long hitter compelled to wait, taking your shot before you help a fellow golfer look for his/her lost ball, and the like. And of course, ready golf and match play are not a part of the same experience.


Naturally, playing a full 18-hole round of golf takes longer than its halved version of 9-hole golf. And the reasons for playing 9 holes can be anything – you’re short on time, you’re not as dedicated or committed to the game, etc.

Whatever the case, if you have anywhere between 2 hours and 2.5 hours, a 9-hole round is the best and most enjoyable golfing experience indeed.

Photo of author

Jim Furyk

One of the PGA TOUR’s most recognizable and talented golfers, Jim Furyk was born on May 12, 1970 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like Furyk was born to play golf; his father Mike as an assistant pro at Edgmont Country club, and young Jim was raised into the game. Jim Furyk’s only golf instruction came from his father; and many note that might account for his unusual—yet effective—swing. In addition to Edgmont Country Club, Mike Furyk also served as head pro at Uniontown Country Club.

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