Does it take too long to play a round of golf?

The Scoop

Does it actually take too long to play a round of golf? Or is there just a perception of it taking too long which puts people off?

When discussing the barriers and problems behind people not playing golf regularly or not enough people playing golf, the issue of time usually crops up.

So does it actually take too long to play golf? Or is it just a perception?

Blog: How do you address slow play?

What is a reasonable amount of time for a round of golf to take? What should be done to make it quicker? Or is the time it takes one of the best things about the game?

Members of the team at National Club Golfer debate the issue.

Colin Callander on the biggest problem facing golf

James Savage (JS) – This is a difficult one to give a straight answer to as sometimes golf does take too long and at other times it doesn’t.

I’ve played rounds which have taken close to six hours to complete and others just over three.

The latter, I’m my opinion is absolutely fine, the former is totally unacceptable.

Yes, slow play is a problem, but golf courses have a responsibly to make sure players get round in a reasonable time. There should also be more nine hole competitions where you can get round in less than two hours.

Golf doesn’t have to take such a long time and more often than not, it doesn’t so there is definitely a problem with perception.

Blog: What can be done to tackle slow play?

Dan Murphy (DM) – It often takes too long. One of the problems is fourballs.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we should avoid playing in fourballs wherever possible.

It’s a shame because betterball is the best form of social golf (albeit a dreadful form of competitive golf in my opinion due to its common failure to reward consistently good play over occasional brilliance).

I just think that four is one too many. It’s basically a queue on every tee and don’t get me started on the time it takes for everyone to do their putting.

I reckon three is a decent compromise.
I actually enjoy getting out of the house for four house plus so the time it takes is a positive Mark Townsend (MT) – I think the length of a round of golf is usually about right. Why would you want it to be over so quickly?

If you’ve not been out there for at least four hours, going through all the emotions of what a round of golf throws up, then you’ve gained nothing.

Tom Lenton (TL) – I’m with MT on this. I don’t think it takes too long. I think a two-ball should be three hours, a three-ball should take three-and-a-half and I’d expect a fourball to take four hours.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I actually enjoy getting out of the house for four house plus so the time it takes is a positive.

JS – Not everyone is that flexible with their time though TL and can’t always spare four hours. The option of ‘two-hour’ nine hole golf should be more readily available.



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