How long should a round of golf take?

21/05/2009 at 13:07

well the R&A view of it is;

"As a guide, generally two-ball rounds should take no more than 3 hours 10 minutes; three-balls should take no more than 3 hours 30 minutes, and four-balls no more than 3 hours 50 minutes. In fact, shorter round times than these should be the aim of all players, where appropriate"

and i find it hard to disagree with that. 

I think a lot of problems can be caused by golf clubs trying to cram too many groups out at the same time with only 6 or 7 minute gaps between those teeing off.  Also, of course, there is the more troublesome issue of people having little awareness on the golf course but that can fill up about 100 threads all on its own.

Can't agree with you about St Andrews though, I spent about 8 summers working as a caddy at Carnoustie and 4.5 hour rounds were basically accepted as the norm - if you were off in less you were delighted.  It was all too common to be out on the course for 5+ hours, especially when you were in one of the last visitor groups (last time 4pm on a weekday so still off by back of 9 and it is light enough for golf until 11.30pm or so in the middle of summer)

21/05/2009 at 13:30


There is a sign on the 10th tee at my club that says, if you have taken longer than two hours to get here you are playing too slow, or words to that effect. The club have also altered scorecards by adding a time finished box, all competitors are requested to fill this in. The committee can then spot who the regurlar slow players are.

21/05/2009 at 16:52
Does it really matter how long anyone takes provided they quickly allow faster players through?
21/05/2009 at 17:04
Good point CMB.

We had a group of pr*cks behind us the other week who were shouting at us to hurry up etc. They were never actually on the same hole as us at any point or waiting for us to move. If we were holding them up we would have let them through. No problems.

Ruined the rest of my round that did.
21/05/2009 at 20:14

Rough rule of thumb for three players in a medal

11' per par 3

13' per par 4

15' per par 5

plus an allowance for extra long walks from green to tee.

22/05/2009 at 01:54

Well i played 11 holes late afternoon in a three ball, teeing off at about half four and finishing just before 6. So say an hour and a half for those holes which pace of play on the scorecard being 2 and a quarter hours.

I then played at half 6 in a 4 ball and got in at around half 9 that was being held up for the last 6 holes waiting a couple of minutes to play each shot. so three hours where pace of play is around 3 and a half.

Pity these times are no where near Saturday Medal  times!

P.s The R&A should look at the recommended times for the Pro Tours

22/05/2009 at 07:47

It depends a lot on the length of course and how busy it is. It is possible at our club to get round in 3 1/2 hours as a three ball but the course will have to be pretty clear and certainly it won't happen on a medal day. I don't mind 4 hours for a 3 ball medal or 4 ball Stableford comp - a lot longer and it becomes frustrating waiting on tees and my tempo goes.

Surprisingly, we normally get  round the senior section Monday stableford (3 ball) in 4 hours max.

What I really hate are the guys who rush round and reckon they can complete 18 holes in 2 1/2 hours - they put pressure on other players as much as the really slow players. I belonged to one club, admittedly a short track, where one Saturday group were a nightmare. The bar opened at 11:00 a.m. and they had to be first in, I'm sure that the golf was just an excuse for a Saturday bender away from the wife, as they seemed far more interested  in rushing around, gimmees on every green and barracking groups in front for not getting a move on. 

22/05/2009 at 09:14

I agree Taz.

I like to have a brisk game of golf but all this speed golf that some want to play is crazy.

Personally I play golf for the pleasure and rushing is not pleasurable in my book.

22/05/2009 at 09:47

I play the game at a fast pace, not due to some sort of challenge as people have speculated above, but because this is the way I learnt the game.  The teachings were simple enough; keep an eye on your ball, take your time over the shot but move at a healthy pace between shots, use common sense as to when to play, replacing pins, putting down bag etc.

Then, sadly, about 6 years ago I got to the age where I had to leave full-time education and become a contributing member of society   .  Of course this also meant no more 3 month summer holidays and weekday golf wasn't as easy to arrange - it meant having to play most of my golf on weekends when the course is slow going and a fair few people show little or no awareness or common sense when out and playing (seriously, can you not clean the grooves and walk at the same time?  Are you that unco-ordinated??).

Finally, last year I discovered a simple solution to calm my irritation on the course - a pack of cards in the bag!!!  So simple, yet suddenly the backed up tee's on the long par 3's or the time spent waiting 120 yards back down the fairway as the players in the group in front look at their 35 foot putts from 4 angles before leaving them 12 foot short don't seem so bad.

22/05/2009 at 15:33

Can someone explain why it is felt that it is permissable to hold a mothers meeting on the green to mark up cards and discuss how the hole went.  This combined with the inability of some to leave their bag on the side of the green nearest the next tee winds me up every time

22/05/2009 at 15:34

An average round will take 3 to 3half hours for a 3 ball

4 hours for a four ball

22/05/2009 at 18:17

Shanker - you have made a number of posts over the last cuppla years panning the club that you belong to

So, the obvious question - why the hell are you still there? 

22/05/2009 at 18:25

I remember as a junior, my home club in Scotland had a sign up in the clubhouse that read

A 2 ball WILL NOT take longer than 3 hours

A 3 ball WILL NOT take longer than 3 hours 15 mins

A 4 ball WILL NOT take longer than 3 hours 30 mins

That was in 1973 ish

How things have changed

23/05/2009 at 08:17

In my club the Sunday medals are played in fours ! 4.5 hours is common and 5 hours not unusual. All complaints to the Committee, of which there have been many including an AGM discussion, have resulted in no action whatsoever. Apart from players being asked to record their finish times " to see if there really is a problem".

As I've posted on another thread, there is no draw and so regular fours like to play a match alongside a medal.

I believe that the reason for the fours is to minimise the amount of reserved tee-time for the competition to allow more time for visitors to play the course on Sundays. No-one will admit this , naturally.

If there was a practical alternative I'd leave and play elsewhere.

23/05/2009 at 09:58
as far as the wifes concerned its 10 hours a round
23/05/2009 at 10:05

I have posted before about our comps, which regularly take 5 hours.

We are put out in 4 balls in 10 minute gaps.We can't go out in three balls as we can only have the 1st tee until 13:30 and there is usually a field of around 150.

4 Hours 20 is the target time. It is a long course (7100 off whites) with a lot of walking between greens and tees. 4:20 is acceptable.

I've joined the private members club down the road so if I want to play a 'quick' round I can roll up there and be done in 3 hours.

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