In golf, pace of play matters. Playing at a proper pace of play ensures a great experience for yourself and all players on the golf course. Knowing how long it should take to play 18 holes or 9 holes is important, but it also helps to know how long it should take to play each of the most common types of holes on the golf course.
The time it should take to play a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5 are all different, largely because the holes are all a different length.
How long should it take to play a par 3, par 4 and par 5 during a round of golf?
With par 3s being the shortest holes in golf, they should take the least amount of time to play. On average, golfers should play a par 3 in 10 minutes or less in a foursome. Of course, with different factors -- riding in a cart, playing with less than four or on a wide-open golf course -- a group of golfers or a single golfer could be expected to complete a par 3 in less than seven minutes.
The most common hole on a golf course is a par 4, and the length of a par 4 has a bigger range compared to par 3s and par 5s, anywhere in the range of 250 yards to 550 yards, depending on the tees used and who's playing.
Shorter par 4s play closer to par 3s in expected time, while longer par 4s play closer to par 5s in expected time. That's why it should take an average of 13 minutes to play a par 4, giving room for longer holes in that wide range.
Par 5s are the longest holes on the golf course, and that means, on average, they should take the longest to play on a golf course. However, there are short par 5s and longer par 5s.
Typically, a shorter par 5 should take less time to play, but they can back up when lots of players try to reach the putting surface in two. Longer par 5s, by comparison, have fewer golfers trying to reach the green in two shots, meaning the pace of play may be smoother.
Golfers should expect to play a par 5 in 15 minutes.
The proper pace of play for an 18-hole round of golf is four hours, meaning golfers should average 13.33 minutes per hole. That expected pace of play can climb on golf courses that are more difficult, crowded or spread out, but keeping the average per hole under 15 minutes is an absolute must to play at a good pace.