How Many Acres Do You Need For A Golf Course? (9 and 18)

The green tropical land is used for a golf course with flags placed near the holes.

Some golf courses have 9 holes while some have 18 holes. But how many acres do you need to build a golf course? This article gives you the information you need to know.

With the number of golfers increasing every year, owning a golf course has become an attractive investment. There is no doubt in the fact that setting up a golf course is an expensive venture. It requires time and money for a successful establishment.

But how many acres do you need for a typical golf course? And what are the other factors you need to consider when planning your golf course?

How Many Acres Do You Need For A Golf Course? 9 hole vs 18 hole

Typically, the average golf course acreage is about 160 acres. However, most golf courses are spread across 140 to 180 acres. According to a survey by the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA), different golf courses need different acreage.

The number of acres you need mainly depends upon the type of golf course you are building. One of the most important factors that determine the average acres of a golf course is how many holes your golf course will have

A 9-hole golf course will require much less acres than a standard 18-hole golf course. Let’s analyze the acreage required for both types of golf courses:

18-hole golf course length

Typically, an 18-hole course has par 4 holes and a mix of par 3s and par 5s holes. According to the American Society of Golf Course Architects, here is a split of the acreage based on the number of pars:

  • An 18-hole golf course of par 3 requires a minimum of 30 acres
  • A combination of par 3 and par 4 requires 75-100 acres
  • A full-size par 72 course requires 120-200 courses.

However, the mentioned land is only for the golf course and does not include any other elements like lakes, waterfalls, or wetlands.

9-hole golf course length

A nine-hole golf course is called an executive course because it is typically shorter and easier than a full 18-hole course. It is a mix of par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s holes. It generally takes up to 2 hours to play 9-hole golf.

The 9-hole golf course covers an area of 15-75 acres based on the number of pars and driving range. Here is a split of the acreage based on the number of pars:

  • 9-hole par 3 executive golf course with a driving range requires 15-30 acres
  • A standard 9-hole course with a driving range requires 30-50 acres
  • An international standard 9-hole golf course with a driving range requires 50-75 acres.

Golf course layout: 6 Parts of a standard golf course

There are six main parts of any golf course that you should consider when planning your golf course:

1. Teeing ground

The tee area is the starting point of any golf course. It is a flat area of grass from where each hole starts. Earlier, golf course architects did not pay much attention to the teeing area, but now they ensure tees are artistically designed. Tees take up about 5 percent of the total space. Thus depending on the course type, the teeing area may need up to 6 acres of land.

2. Fairways

The fairways are where golfers hit their shots and are usually narrow strips of grass with slight curves. The fairways should be long enough to make the game interesting and challenging yet wide enough to play comfortably. Fairways take about 29 percent of the total acreage for a golf course. According to GCSAA, approximately 31 acres of land are required for fairways.

3. Greens

The Green or putting green is the end of the fairway area where the golfers putt to get their ball into the hole. Usually, the greens are built with a mixture of sand, soil, and grass to make them even and playable. Similar to tees, greens also require about 6 acres of land.

4. Rough area 

The rough is the stretch of grass between the fairway and out-of-bounds. It’s meant to make things more challenging for golfers by making it harder to reach the green. The grass in the rough is usually longer than elsewhere on the course, which makes it even tougher for players. Rough areas on a typical golf course take up approximately 60 percent of the total space of a course. Thus, the average area of rough is calculated as around 66 acres.

5. Hazards

Hazards are natural or man-made obstacles that golfers have to navigate on their way to the green. Usually, water bodies, sand bunkers, and thick vegetation are used as hazards. While natural hazards like water bodies and vegetation don’t require extra acreage, man-made obstacles like sand bunkers may need up to 2 acres of land.

6. Driving range or practice range area

How much land you need for a driving range depends on how you plan to design the golf facility. Most driving ranges have at least 6 percent of the total space. However, not all courses have a driving range. Therefore, if you are not planning to include a driving range in your golf course, the total area you need can be decreased.

Other factors to consider to build a golf course

Apart from the area of land, there are other factors to consider when planning a golf course. Here are a few of them:

1. Environmental factors

When selecting a site to build a golf course, it is important to consider the area’s environmental conditions. Factors like the soil type, terrain, available water sources, and climate of the region should be studied before building a golf course.

2. Difficulty level

You need to keep the difficulty level of the course in mind and create a unique golfing experience for players. You can decide on the number of pars and the length of the holes based on the difficulty level you want to offer.

If you are planning to build a championship-level course, you will need more space to include longer holes and more challenging features. However, if you want to build a casual and fun golf course, you don’t need much land.

3. Size of the clubhouse

To cater to the needs of a modern golf course, golf clubs need more space. Therefore, the acreage stated above is just an average, and golf courses with extra features may need significantly more land than the mentioned acreage.

If you are building a simple golf course, you can create a simple clubhouse that requires a few yards. But if the course is going to be a professional-level golf course, you will have to plan for extra land. On average, a professional-level golf course requires large banquet facilities and a pro shop.

How much does it cost to build a golf course?

The cost significantly varies from site to site depending on the geographic location, existing topography, and facilities. Generally, the construction costs per hole can range between $50,000 to $175,000 for upscale golf courses.

Where is the best place to build a golf course?

The best place to build a golf course is one that has rolling hills, plenty of water features, and ample open space. It should also be able to accommodate 18 holes with a variety of challenges for players of all skill levels. 

A good golf course will also need to be built on land that is free from environmental hazards such as flooding or erosion. 

How long does it take to build a golf course?

The construction time for a golf course can take anywhere from one to two years, depending on the size of the project and other factors. Additionally, it may take one or two years to get all the required approvals for the construction of a golf course.

Do you need planning permission to build a golf course?

Yes, you need planning permission to build a golf course. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may need to obtain permits and zoning laws before construction can begin. In some cases, a detailed design package is required to reflect local planning submission requirements. 

Additionally, entitlements are necessary for a project to become reality. Therefore, it is essential to understand all legal requirements before beginning any development or changes.

How long does it take to walk on a golf course?

The time it will take to walk on a golf course depends on several factors, such as the difficulty level of the course, the number of holes, and the terrain. On average, it will take around 4 hours to walk a standard 18-hole golf course. However, it may vary from person to person.

What is the average golf course length in yards?

The average length of the golf course, from the longest tee boxes to the shortest, is around 6,700 yards. However, it can vary from course to course.


Golf courses are a huge investment. Right from the practice greens to the driving range, a golf course requires large acreage to be built. When creating a golf course, there are many factors to consider. Ensure you have a clear idea of what you want before starting the process.

Similar Posts