Going through all the holes in a game of golf, regardless of how many you are playing, is known as a “round.” This is the way most people define a single outing, and they will often use the word “round” to denote score, as in “I had a round of 90 today.”
Most people play what is known as a “stipulated round.” To define stipulate, it simply means a round of golf where you play a full 18 holes in their correct order (starting at 1 and going to 18).
If you are playing nine or twelve holes (which can be done for certain tournaments), or if you do not play the holes in order, then the round is not stipulated. The only exception to that rule is when weather or time constraints requires certain holes to be skipped.
The practice of skipping holes happens a good amount in golf games. Some tournaments will use “split tees” that have half the field starting at number one, (playing holes 1 through 18), and half starting at number 10 (starting on 10 and finishing on number 9) to get around certain obstacles.
The Length of a Golf Round
When golfing, you are never going to quite know how long a round will take. A group of four on a typical 18-hole course will take around four hours to complete a game. However, the number of people affect the time. If you go with a large group, you are going to wait longer.
There are several other factors that can affect the length of a round of golf. The first is how busy a golf course is when you and your group arrive. A lot of people playing at once can stack up, which leads to increased wait times.
Another big factor is how skilled the golfers in a group are. Handicaps are a big part of golf, and low-handicappers often move much more quickly that high-handicappers. This is because low-handicappers tend to play fewer strokes, which then causes them to spend more time on certain holes.
Of course, it is also important to look at a course’s difficulty when calculating the time of a round. A wide-open course with almost no hazards is always going to move along faster than one with a lot of rough or sand traps. If you’re looking for a quicker round, it is best to choose places with little resistance and great weather.
The final factor that affects round time is the speed at which everyone plays the game. Those who move along the course, are ready to hit when it is their turn, and move right from shot to shot, tend to keep things going at a pleasant pace, while lackadaisical people tend to slow it down.
The Etiquette of Avoiding Slow Play
Know that there is no “correct” time to play a round of golf. The game is a great way to relax and spend some quality time outdoors. However, be careful about how much you are slowing yourself or others around you down.
If you see a crowd gathering behind you, or if you are slower than everyone else at the course, you want to try to pick up the pace in a way that doesn’t feel too rushed. Be aware of the difficulty of your course, and understand what parts are going to take you a long time. If you’re at a tricky hole, be ready to hit when your turn comes up.
A good pace of play is something you should always try to achieve. Veterans tend to have a grasp of the concept, but not all new players are going to be able to get the hang of it right away. Moving through a course is an important skill to have, especially when a hole is busy or particularly crowded.
If you see other people standing around and waiting, don’t be afraid to play fewer holes. Nine-hole courses tend to have reduced green fees and they also are a great option for late afternoons when there isn’t enough sunlight left to play a full round. Many people feel pressured to go for all 18 holes, but shorter rounds are a great option for those who are just getting a feel for the game.
The Importance of Keeping the Round Moving
Slow play has always been an issue on golf courses, and it’s easy to overlook on a clear day under a crystal blue sky.
Always be prepared to keep moving as you play. There are many ways to cut down the time of a round while golfing, for yourself as well as others around you. Understand the above tips, be courteous to others, and you should no time getting in a fun, relaxing round of gold. Whether it’s stipulated or not.