How Many Holes In Golf ? A Complete Guide

standard golf course typically consists of 18 holes

Have you wondered how many holes are there in a typical golf course –  is it 9, 18, or 27 holes?

A regulation golf course consists of 18 holes. However, many factors can affect how many holes a golf course has, such as the terrain, the climate, and the available space.

How many holes in golf?

A standard golf course has 18 holes. It typically consists of par-4 holes and some combination of par-3 and par-5 holes. The standard size for a golf hole is 4.25 inches in diameter, and they are usually placed between 100 and 200 yards apart.

A layout of a typical golf course with 18 holes
A layout of a typical golf course with 18 holes

The average golfer will hit the ball into the hole less than half the time, so scoring well on a golf course can be quite challenging.

Meanwhile, there are golf courses with as few as 9 holes and as many as 54 holes. Each represents a different level of challenge to the golfer who plays on these courses.

The Origin of 18 Holes in Golf

The common 18-hole format in golf has its roots in the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland. Initially, the course comprised 22 holes. However, in 1764, some holes were merged, bringing down the total to 18. This arrangement quickly caught on and was adopted as the standard for golf courses globally. This significant change highlights the progression of golf and how it has evolved and adapted over time.

Course Layout and Design

Every hole on a typical 18-hole golf course presents a unique challenge. A teeing area, a fairway, roughs, obstacles such as bunkers and water, and a putting green where the actual hole is located are all part of the design.

Golf course architects use natural terrain to create courses that are not only challenging but also visually appealing. Their designs typically reflect the essence of the surrounding environment, giving each course a distinct identity.

Golf Rounds and Play Format

A typical round of golf, which consists of 18 holes on the course, can be quite time-consuming and often takes several hours. Many golf courses offer a 9-hole round for those looking for a quicker game or for those just getting started.

Professional golf tournaments typically last four days, with each day requiring players to complete 18 holes, for a total of 72 holes.

Variations in golf course Types

Beyond the standard 18-hole course, there are various other type golf courses, each with a different number of holes. Here is a list of different types of golf courses:

9-hole golf course

A nine-hole golf course is the most basic type of golf course. This type of golf course is often used for recreational or beginner golfers or those who only have limited time to play a full round. It takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to complete a 9-hole golf course

18-hole golf course

The 18-hole golf course is the most prevalent type. It consists of 18 holes, usually separated into two 9-hole segments. This type of golf course is used for serious golfers, and professional events are held on 18-hole courses. On average, it takes up to 4 hours to play 18 holes of golf.

27-hole golf course

A 27-Hole golf course, usually consists of three 9-hole courses that can be played in different combinations. This type of golf course offers more variety for players and can be used for a full round of 18 holes or for a shorter, 9-hole round.

54-hole golf course 

A large and extensive golf course with 54 holes typically comprises two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course. This golf course is designed for professional tournaments and golfers who want to play multiple rounds in one day. 

Scoring and Par System

The par system is integral to scoring in golf. Par is the number of strokes a skilled golfer is expected to take to complete a hole, with typical values ranging from 3 to 5.. 

1. Standard Hole Par-3

These are the shortest holes that are intended to be completed in 3 strokes. These holes are typically under 260 yards in length.

2. Standard Hole Par-4

A par-4 hole is intended to be completed in 4 strokes. These holes are typically 240-490 yards in length.

3. Standard Hole Par-5

A par-5 hole is a much more challenging hole that is intended to be completed in 5 strokes. These holes are typically 490 yards or longer.

Golf Tournaments and Championships

Golf tournaments add a layer of prestige to the 18-hole format. Major tournaments such as the Masters, US Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship are played over four rounds of 18 holes each. These competitions not only assess a golfer’s ability and stamina over the traditional 18-hole course, but also highlight the unique features of the course on a global scale.

Golf’s Cultural and Historical Significance

The number of holes in golf is a cultural and historical marker as well as a structural aspect of the game. Courses like St Andrews not only carry the sport’s legacy, but also serve as landmarks where golf’s evolution can be seen. The 18-hole format has withstood the test of time, remaining a symbol of the game’s history and ongoing evolution.


To reiterate the answer to the question, how many holes in a golf course: a standard golf course has 18 holes, but the number may vary depending on the listed factors. The length of the holes can also vary, but they are typically between 50 and 200 yards long. There are also different types of terrain on a golf course, including fairways, greens, bunkers, and water hazards.

All of these factors make up a golf course and contribute to the game’s challenge. 


Are all 18 holes 72-par?

Not all 18 holes in a golf course are 72-par. The par for each hole is determined by the length of the hole and difficulty level. The average par for a golf course is usually between 70-72.

Can you play 18 holes in 2-3 hours?

Playing 18 holes in 2-3 hours is possible for experienced golfers but may take longer for beginners or those playing at a slower pace. The speed of play depends on the individual’s skill level and the pace of the group.

Is 1 or 18 the hardest hole in golf?

The difficulty of a golf hole can vary depending on various factors such as the course, player skill level, and weather conditions. There is no universally agreed-upon answer as to which hole is the hardest, as the difficulty can change for each player and round of golf.

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