What is The Average Size of a Golf Course
A golf course is a field or a ground in which the game of golf is played. The grounds enclose a series of holes each consisting of a ‘fairway’ surrounded by the green.
The rough and several ‘hazards’ included in the out of play area, the greens and tees, occupy approximately 5% of the total space. Seemingly simple, golf courses vary not only in size but also in types.
Coming up with a single average size is difficult but I have done the research to outline the absolute best answer ever documented online.
Now let me explain about the size of a golf course in detail.
The average size of a golf course is between 100 and 190 acres. This measurement includes area for the club house, driving range and practice greens. Smaller golf courses will instead be around 70 acres (28.3 hectares).
Reports from the GCSAA reveal that a 100-110 acres golf course is ideal for an 18-hole golf course. This is inclusive of water bodies and other areas that are not used for the game. These off field areas include clubhouses, storage, and parking.
Resorts have golf courses that range from 170-190 acres (0.36 km2), while urban golf courses span a smaller area of 110 to 120 acres.
Regulation golf courses comprise of 18 holes but vary in length. It’s common to see four short holes which are about 130-400 yards in length. Added are ten average holes that are 350-400 yards, and four longer holes of 450-550 yards distance between the holes.
Rough Area Size
60% of the golf course is dedicated to the Rough area which covers all out-of-play areas including hazards. Around 67 acres (27.1 hectares) is the size of Rough area on a good golf course.
According to the GCSAA, about 31.8 acres is the required size to design a fairway. The fairway occupies almost 29% of a golf course.
Driving Range Size
6% of the golf course is usually reserved for the driving range on a golf course.
The average size of a driving range occupies approximately 7.1 acres of the total golf course. In smaller golf courses where space is limited, the driving range is not feasible and is left out.
Tees and the Green Size
5% of the total golf course is allotted to the most significant part of the golf course known as the tees and the greens. This area scales around 6 acres. After the main elements of the course are planned, the golf course should also account for the clubhouse, storage, and parking areas.
Average Golf Course Length in Yards
Golf course length is dependent on the number of tees in a tee box and also the kind of tournaments that are played.
The average length of a golf course is 6,700 yards (6.12 kms).
If you’re a professional and play on the PGA tour, you’ll probably be playing on a golf course which spans a length of about 7,200 – 7,300 yards.
A golf course length of 6,200-6,600 yards is used in the LPGA tournaments and the average golf course length used in Champions Tour for over 50 Pros range from 6,500-6,800 yards.
Female golfers with a low handicap prefer using tees whose distance is 250-500 yards less than that of male pro golfers playing in LPGA tournaments.
Mid-handicappers most often choose tees with yardages that are 500 – 1,000 yards less than their professional counterparts. Of course the counterparts will be of the same gender and similar age.
On the other hand, high-handicappers most often will choose a length that ranges 1,000-1,500 yards less than their pro counterparts.
If you’re a beginner and not sure whether you can hit the ball to a good distance with fair accuracy, I would advise you to start from the forward tees. The rule of thumb is that if you’re unable to cover the distance of Par 3 holes in one shot (or Par 4 holes in two shots) from the tee, it’s time to scale back to a shorter set of tees.
Average Golf Course Length in Miles
The golf course length on the PGA tour covers around 7,200 yards which is 4.09 miles. A PGA player on an average plays about 78 rounds in a year spanning 319 miles a season.
For example, there are some professionals like Danny Lee who have played 100+ rounds in a season while there are a few like Louis Oosthuizen who have played only 46 rounds covering less than 190 miles. The average PGA tour players rounds are taken into account and the miles travelled is then calculated.
Average Golf Course Length in Meters
Golf course length of 18-hole course ranges from 6,500 to 6,900 yards which is approximately 5,900 to 6,400 meters. Individual holes range from 100- 600 yards which are 90-550 meters.
Par 3, 4, 5 are more common with many golf courses but some courses include Par 6. The following are the distances for various holes from the standard tees for men and women.
- While Par 3 is 230 meters for men it covers roughly 190 meters for women.
- Par 4 covers 230 meters for women and 410 meters for men
- Par 5 is 412 meters for women and a 631 meters for men
- The distance for women’s Par 4 ranges from 193 – 366 meters and Par 5 ranges from 367-526 meters.
Average Golf Course Length in KM’s
Golf courses really do take up a large area of real estate. You may not really realize it, but you will end up walking several kilometers during your playing sessions. On average, it has been found that a person walks around 8.5 km during the course of a single session of golf.
This distance does not include travelling across the car parking areas or clubhouses. If these places are included in the calculation, then the distance increases by 1 kilometer.
This takes the total average distance to around 9.5 km which is the distance that you can expect to end up walking for each round of golf!
No wonder you may feel very tired after each round. During a game, you’ll be burning up around 1,000 calories easily. Of course, these are not absolute figures but are estimates. These figures are calculated by using fitness apps or smart GPS watches to calculate the total distance covered and calories burnt during a game.
How Long Does it Take to Walk a Golf Course
On average it will take 4 hours to walk a standard 18 hole golf course from beginning to end. The time it takes to walk along a course from start to finish will differ for each person. The size of the course, number of players, your skill level, will all add to the total duration.
If you’re playing on a regulated 18-hole golf course, you’re likely to have walked anywhere between 3 and 6 miles. Walking an 18-hole golf course usually means covering 5,900-6,400 meters.
To calculate the distance walked from the first hole to the eighteenth tee, multiply the number of yards by 3 and divide the answer by 5,280 to get the answer in miles. So, a 6,500-yard golf course means you will be walking 3.69 miles.
How Many Acres are Needed for a Golf Course
Good golf courses require vast acres of usable land around 140-180 acres. Golf courses are sometimes additional amenities offered in resorts.
Elite residential properties around the fairways promise a residential golf community. These golf courses promote recreation for club members and can also be the site for tournaments which generates profits.
Golf courses may be designed just for the health and leisure of nearby residents, or it could be used to promote visitors and tourists to the area.
Average 18 Hole Golf Course Length
Calculating the length of a course will be dependent on various design elements like the rough, practice greens, tee areas and fairways.
The average length of a 18 hole golf course is 5,000 – 7,000 yards. The area is spread over 110 – 190 acres.
A report from the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America reveals that an 18-hole golf facility in a resort covers a sprawling 150 – 200 acres which include water bodies, hard structures and out of play areas.
Golf courses set in urban areas occupy only 110 – 120 acres making them around 50 acres smaller than courses set in resorts.
How Many Acres is a 9 Hole Golf Course
The surface of a golf course seems to stretch out forever. It’s size is vast and you may often wonder how big a golf course really is. You may be surprised to know that you’re in fact walking more than 5 miles to finish up 1 single round of golf.
So now that you know that a golf course typically covers miles of square area, you might want a better estimate of the total area covered. The area will vary depending on whether it’s an urban setting or a resort setting. A resort setting will have a larger rough area and more sophisticated features which usually takes up a lot more of area. An urban setting will be quite compressed and won’t feature a lot of rough areas.
A 9-hole golf course ideally needs at least 1,000 to 3,000 yards of tees to greens which means a 9 hole golf course is 20-60 acres in size. These figures refer to course with a few Par 4 holes and a single Par 5 hole. The area in acres may vary depending on the number of Par holes, making it smaller or larger.
Average Golf Course Length on PGA Tours
PGA tours are considered the ultimate professional golf tournaments. PGA tours generally follow all the USGA rules to a tee.
The average course length of a PGA tour is 7,200 yards (4.09 miles).
If this is the length of a course for a PGA tour, you might be wondering about the distance covered by the players during the course of a year. Well, the numbers are staggering, to say the least. The average professional golfer walks around 319 miles during a season. It’s not surprising to know that golfers burn hundreds of calories after each game.
The famous Danny Lee played around 120 PGA tour rounds in one single season in the year 2015. If you compute the average distance covered by him, it works out to just less than 500 miles. That is quite a huge figure to be covered by a person in a season.
On the other hand, if a player plays just 45 rounds in a season, he would have covered just 190 miles. So the total distance covered depends on the number of rounds played by the golfer.
Golf Course Hole Length
Most of the professional players find it quite easy to guess the Par of the hole based on its length. It comes quite instinctively to them. Though the designers are free to pick the length of the course for a Par rating, there are some basic guidelines to be followed.
The USGA has come up with a basic set of guidelines to help design the course length. For a Men’s Par 3 golf course, up to 250 yards is considered a normal length. For female golfers, around 210 yards is considered a Par 3 golf course.
When it comes to Par 4 courses, these will of course be larger than Par 3 designs. Around 470 yards is considered a Par4 for men, while 400 yards is the Par limit for women. This trend continues for Par 5 courses, with the length differing for both men and women.
The Par distance is set so that a player can comfortably cover the distance; while sinking the ball in the set number of strokes.
For example, in a Par3 golf course, the player should be able to hit the ball in one stroke to cover the distance and then use 2 putts to hole the ball. A hole is given a Par 3 ranking because the course designer believes a total of 3 strokes are definitely achievable with enough skill.
The concept of effectively playing to the length of a course also comes into play when discussing the hole length.
Length of Grass on a Golf Course
There is clear evidence that the demand for faster-putting greens continues to increase. The best way to increase speed is to cut the grass shorter. Special mowers are used on golf courses to cut grass.
The Bed-knife fitted at the bottom of the lawn mower can be adjusted to raise and lower the blade to enable the desired cut and height of the grass. Half an inch of grass is cut in the fairways while those near the trees are cut to 4/10 of an inch.
Greens are cut short about 1/10 of an inch or sometimes a little more. The roughs are cut using a standard rotary motor and are in the range of 2-2 1/2”.
Urban Vs Resort Setting
Unlike the traditional golf courses, urban golf is nothing but regular golf played around an urban settings. The origin of this type of golf course can be traced back to Scotland in the year 1741.
A different golf course setting you may have played at is in a resort setting. A resort setting is where artificially made bunkers are created along with carefully placed trees.
A resort setting as the name suggests is built around a 4 or 5 star rated resort. It has a luxurious setting and are designed with relaxation in mind.
Most of the resort golf settings are larger than urban golf courses. The urban style courses are created out of necessity and can be set up in the suburbs or large remote fields.
The main difference between a urn and resort golf course is that one course is naturally made, while a resort course is artificially made.
Resort courses do offer a more luxurious and sophisticated golfing experience. There is more lee way with designing the exact course the designer wants, and is really only limited to his imagination.
Driving Range Area
A driving range is a place where people who would like to learn the skills of the game start their learning process guided by a golf instructor. Without any extreme contours, 300 yards of the driving range is ideal.
8 hectares or up to 20 acres is considered a good size for a driving range. Buffer areas on either side of the range’s fairways enable easy finding and picking of wayward golf balls.
In the earlier days of the sport, golfers just teed up on greens. However back then golfers felt that a separate teeing zone further away from the regular play area improved not only speed but also gave a level starting point with improved safety.
As years passed by, the size of tees became larger and longer. Nowadays tees are aesthetically and artistically designed to equal the size of greens and bunkers.
The size of the tee area is 150- 200 sq.ft per 1,000 rounds for the tee surface.
Private clubs with limited play say 20,000 rounds are 4,000 sq.ft. Tees available on a public course that play more than 40,000 rounds can be 6,000-8,000 sq.ft. . These yardages measure approximately 7,400 yards in length and sometimes are in the range of 4,500-7,500 depending on the course location.
Golf courses must possess a certain standard when used to host tournaments. The PGA advocates narrowing of a course’s fairways. If you have a golf course with more roughs and fewer fairway space; it offers ideal worthy challenges for the best golfers. Fairway guidelines of the PGA tour expect fairways in the range of 25-30 yards for Par 4 and Par 5 holes.
The Nationwide and Champions tour also apply the same guidelines with respect to fairways. The PGA has also given instructions for exceptional situations where fairways can be wider than normal. This is only allowed if the size of fairway caters to their guidelines, and that the bunkers are forced deeper enough within the rough. Under such situations, wider fairways are permitted by the PGA tour.
Size of a Golf Bunker
The size of a golf bunker varies with the size of a golf course. Large bunkers come into play when you have a course with wide fairways, greens, water bodies, and large trees.
Smaller bunkers are found where the courses are small with narrow fairways and where the construction cost and maintenance costs are maintained to a minimum.
The size of a golf bunkers is 4 feet (48”) for a fairway bunker to 6 feet (72”) for the green side.
Rough is an area that every golf player tries to avoid having their ball in. Only superintendents and the maintenance crew deal with the rough on a regular basis. It’s very important to maintain the roughs properly and in perfect condition.
It has been estimated that it takes on an average of around 90 to 130 man-hours to cut and neatly trim the grass in these areas. During the season when grass grows fast, a lot of man-hours are required to make sure that the area is presentable.
Cleaning up the debris on a periodic basis is very important and is done by the maintenance crew. Superintendents are specially appointed to oversee these tasks. The amount of the area allocated for a rough will vary between the private clubs and the posh ones. The posh clubs will have a well-maintained rough area which gives it an aura of sophistication.
The normal and not so exclusive clubs will have a smaller rough area and will be maintained at a lower cost.
Around 10% of the total labor force is generally allocated to maintain this area. Finding the perfect balance between a rough look, while also making it look elegant, is a challenging task for designers.
There is no particular concept of a definitive size for a green area. If you’re considering designing your own green area, you can do so based on certain factors.
You should calculate the size you require based on certain conditions. The precision greens will be smaller compared to the other greens.
For example, if you’re looking to build a green which offers greater accuracy, then you might just need a smaller piece of land.
On average, the golfing greens will be less than 200 yards in size, but this will of course be different for every hole.
For a bogey player, less than 200 yards is ideal whereas for a scratch player a size of over 300 yards in considered normal.
If your approach shot is around 140-180 yards, your green width, as well as the depth, can be about 14%.
A decent green size would be around 5,000 sq. feet to 6,500 sq. feet. Anything above this size is a bit difficult to maintain.
As the size of the green increases, the cost factor also increases proportionately. You will want to construct or design a green which will be easy enough to maintain as well as have a decent size which suit your requirements.
I must say that size does matter! I recommend reading my other articles which discuss various size elements of golf equipment.