How long a game of golf takes depends on quite a few things.
But the short answer is about 4 hours. Single players with an open course can take as little as 2 hours and on a difficult course with a full field, up to 6 hours. Read below for more in-depth discussion.
The average time of a golf round is generally about 4.5 hours (4 hours 30 minutes).
But I've done some deeper analysis of the situation below. Keep reading for major insight.
Most golfers think anything over 4.5 hours is too long to play a round of golf. When you find your golf rounds are taking more than that and going past 5 hours, you really want to look at finding new golfing friends.
If the group in front of you are the problem, hit golf balls into them. It does let them know you're very very serious.
If you've been drinking consistently from the first tee, expect to hit a few more shots especially putts. If you have a good caddy though, they can tell you where to hit the ball on the greens and you just stroke the ball there as best you can.
Generally drinking helps with driving the ball and working out swing problems. It loosens you up for a good long game. Another positive is you will get a very strong tan without feeling it, until the next day.
I find the short game really suffers. Chips and putts are not nearly as accurate.
On top of that, once you do work out the swing problem, you forget how you worked it out especially if you black out mid-round.
Take off maybe 15 or 30 minutes if using carts and hitting in the same area as each other. Add 30 minutes to an hour if you've been drinking.
If you're in the middle of a full field, expect to sit behind the group in front of you forever. Relax, take your time and practice your chipping and putting.
Try to hit golf balls into them or scream at them when you're on the par 3 tee boxes. Just as a friendly reminder of who's in control. This always works - not necessarily being let through but believe me, they'll move quicker.
Or leave. There's always the option of packing it in and getting some beers.
Golf cart golf is very quick if you're a single or in a two-ball. It's usually scoffed at by walking golfers who see you cruising by them in your car. They're just jealous because they didn't think of doing it themselves. Plus there's often a cooler box on the cart so you can keep the beers cold all round long.
Walking is quick but can wreak havoc on your health. Negative side-effects like weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of diabetes can be expected and if these occur, it's always best to replace lost calories with beer calories.
If you shoot 120, golf will be slower. Unless you pick your ball up after 6 shots and walk the rest of the hole. Then golf is very quick. It's not fun, but it's quick. If you want to break 100 or 90 check out my guide here.
If you're very good at golf and can shoot a 72, golf will be quick. Unless you regrip like Sergio Garcia.
At some point in your golfing career you're going to come across slow play. It's always a challenge to know how to deal with it but here are the general ways I've come across over the last 20 years. They all work to varying degrees and rely mainly on how big your balls are:
Forget the rules of letting the person furthest from the hole play first. That's what's slowing the game down and almost every group of golfers I play with now play ready golf:
Golf can be quick and golf can be slow. Just find a way to enjoy it and not complain too much because it kills your vibe and makes you play badly as well as your playing partners.
Enjoy the game!