how long to play 9 hole

How Long To Play 9 Holes of Golf

Golf is a popular sport for many reasons fresh air, the challenge, the camaraderie. But it’s also known for taking a serious chunk of time. While 18 holes can easily take over 4 hours, 9 holes is a quicker alternative when you’re pressed for time. But just how fast is a fast 9 holes? Let’s take a look at the factors that go into pace of play and how long you can expect your next 9-hole round to take.

Average time for 9 holes

On average, most golfers take about 2 hours to complete a round of 9 holes. However, skill level plays a big role. Experienced golfers who play regularly can complete a round in 1 – 1.5 hours, while newer golfers should plan on 2.5 – 3 hours for 9 holes.

If you’re playing in a group, the speeds tend to be:

  • 1 player: 1 – 1.25 hours
  • 2 players: 1.25 – 1.5 hours
  • 3 players: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • 4 players: 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Stylish knit headwear to show off their new clubs,
  • A leather valuables pouch for phone, wallet and keys.

Course difficulty matters

One of the biggest factors in pace of play is the difficulty of the course itself. Playing 9 holes on an executive par 3 course with yardage under 2000 yards will be lightning fast compared to a championship course stretching over 7000 yards.

In general, shorter, flatter courses with fewer hazards will result in faster rounds than long, hilly courses with lots of bunkers and water hazards. Newer golfers would also be wise to choose easier courses if they are trying to complete 9 holes quickly.

9 holes golf field

Time of day and day of week

Not surprisingly, when you play makes a difference.

  • Weekend mornings tend to be the busiest and slowest times at most courses.
  • Afternoons and weekdays are less crowded, allowing golfers to play at a faster pace.

Playing as an individual or foursome during off-peak times can result in flying through 9 holes.

Tournaments and member-guest days will also result in slower rounds, even if played during less busy times. Try to avoid tournaments and busy days if a quick 9 is your goal.

Walking vs. Riding

This one may seem obvious – riding a golf cart should be faster than walking, right? Often, yes. But cart only rules, common in wet conditions, can negate the time saved by riding. And walking with a push cart on a flat course may not be much slower than riding.

In general, though, riding allows you to conserve energy and get from shot to shot more quickly. Just make sure that your group observes pace of play etiquette when riding in carts by dropping off all players before riding to the next shot.

Player skill level

Faster, more skilled players will naturally move through 9 holes faster than high handicappers. Better players lose fewer balls, reach the green in fewer strokes and take less time to read putts. As mentioned earlier, their 9-hole rounds often take only an hour or so.

Beginners, on the other hand, should plan on 3 hours or more. They will take more strokes, look for errant shots, and spend more time on the greens. Be honest about your skill level when budgeting time for 9 holes.

Preparedness of players

Coming prepared with the right equipment and mindset can go a long way toward improving your pace of play. Use a rangefinder or GPS to quickly dial in yardage. Have a pre-shot routine that gets you ready to hit your shot as soon as it’s your turn. And be prepared to “play through” if a faster group catches up with you.

You should also…

  • Tee it forward based on your driving distance
  • Play “ready golf” instead of “honors golf
  • Limit the time you spend searching for lost balls
  • Keep your equipment organized
  • Match course difficulty to your skill level

By being prepared, you’ll spend less time figuring out yardage, searching for balls, and waiting to hit.

9 hole map

Total holes and par

Executive courses with mostly par 3s allow for the fastest rounds. The shorter holes and lack of lost ball issues allow golfers to easily complete these courses in under 2 hours.

Standard length courses with a mix of par 3s, 4s and 5s will take longer. And courses with a lot of par 5s can stretch rounds past 3 hours for newer players. If possible, choose courses with more par 3s and avoid those with par 5s over 500 yards for a quicker day.

The Weather

Mother Nature can throw a monkey wrench into even the most well-planned quick 9 holes. Rain can result in cart path only rules, forcing normally fast carters to walk. Lightning and thunderstorms cause understandable delays for safety reasons. Even high winds can slow the pace.

If time is of the essence, check the weather before your tee time and be prepared for possible delays. And if hazardous weather arrives during your round, follow the course rules and be patient for the safety of all golfers.

Tips for Faster Play

Beyond smart course and time selection, what else can you do to play 9 holes faster? Here are a few key strategies:

  • Play as singles or twos whenever possible. Avoid 5somes.
  • If you walk, invest in a lightweight bag or trolley.
  • Limit range sessions before your round to hitting a few key clubs rather than your entire bag.
  • Use the forward tees best suited to your driving distance.
  • Limit pre-shot routines to no more than 2-3 practice swings.
  • Be ready to hit when it’s your turn.
  • Play ready golf, not honor golf.
  • Help others find lost balls quickly.
  • Allow others to make short putts.
  • Pick up your ball when your score is out of contention on a hole.
  • Invite faster play partners when possible.
  • Politely allow faster groups to play through when necessary.

Keep in mind that while rushing through 9 holes may allow you to finish faster, it can negatively impact your enjoyment, not to mention your final score. Find a happy medium that allows you to play at an efficient pace while still allowing you to pause to take in the scenery and chat with your playing partners when the opportunity presents itself.

9 holes solo

Play 9 holes solo

Looking for the fastest 9 holes? Your best bet is to play as a foursome. Here are a few tips to maximize your speed when playing solo:

  • Book the first tee time of the day or later in the afternoon when the course is less crowded.
  • Walk and carry your clubs or use a lightweight carry bag to avoid waiting at tee boxes and searching for your cart.
  • Don’t worry about losing a few balls. Keep a stash in your pocket and drop one to continue playing.
  • Limit practice swings and pre-shot routines even more than usual. Visualize while walking between shots.
  • Consider occasionally playing two balls when there are no groups behind you. It’s great practice.
  • Ask the pro shop for tips on the fastest nine shots for solos.
  • Thank the starter profusely for fitting you in alone at a busy time. Leave a good tip!

With the right attitude and preparation, solo golfers can get through 9 holes in an hour or less in certain scenarios. Just be safe, be respectful of the course staff, and remember – no one likes the smell of burnt rubber from screeching golf carts!

When is 9 holes worth it?

While 9-hole rounds are great for a quick round of golf, getting to the course still takes time. You’ll spend at least 1.5 to 2 hours teeing off, from travel time to warming up and packing.

So make sure a 9-hole round makes sense in terms of time versus other options such as:

  • Practice on the range or putting green
  • Playing a local par 3 course
  • Using a golf simulator at home
  • Taking a lesson

If you live more than 30 minutes from a course, need an extensive warm-up, or hit the range after 9 holes, an alternative may allow you to gain more skill in less time.

But if you’re limited to 1-2 hours and are itching to play, 9 quick holes can be just the fix any golfer needs.

The Bottom Line

A standard 9-hole round takes most golfers about 2 hours, with 1-1.5 hours possible for skilled players on slow days. Factors such as course difficulty, player skill, weather and more all affect the exact pace. If a quick 9 is your goal, optimize your time by playing off-peak, using a cart, and employing time-saving strategies. Most importantly, strike a balance between efficiency and enjoyment when estimating how long your next quick golf outing will take.

What is the average time to play 9 holes of golf?

The average time for most golfers is about 2 hours. Experienced players can complete 9 holes in 1-1.5 hours, while beginners should plan on 2.5-3 hours.

Does using a golf cart speed up 9 holes?

In general, yes, riding in a cart allows you to conserve energy and get from shot to shot faster than walking. However, cart only rules can negate this advantage.

What are some tips for playing 9 holes faster?

Strategies such as playing ready golf instead of honors, limiting pre-shot routines, and teeing up based on your driving distance can all help speed up the pace of play. Coming prepared with the right equipment and mindset is also key.

Is it possible to play 9 holes in under an hour?

It is possible if you are playing as a single on an empty course in ideal conditions. Implementing the tips above, such as limiting practice swings and playing ready golf, are essential for golfers trying to break an hour.

Should I play 9 or 18 holes if I’m pressed for time?

If you only have 1-2 hours to play, 9 holes is probably the better option to avoid rushing through a full 18. Make sure the time invested in 9 holes makes sense compared to just practicing or taking a lesson if your time is very limited.