How Many Holes On A Golf Course? [Explained]

The game of golf is known for its tradition, its nuances, and, perhaps most recognisably, its iconic course design.

From some of the oldest in the game to new masterpieces, from the UK to the United States, golf has plenty of amazing places to play golf.

But how many holes do these courses have? Let’s find out.

How Many Holes Are On a Golf Course?

How Many Holes Are On a Golf Course?

How Many Holes On A Golf Course?

A standard golf course will have 18 holes. This will be broken into the front 9 and the back 9 holes, and include a mixture of par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s. Some golf courses will also include a par 6 but these are less common.

These 18-hole golf courses will usually have a par for the course of around 72, but this can vary greatly depending on a number of factors.

Each of the 18 holes has a unique layout and style depending on the golf course architect’s designs.

Some long and some short, all with different hazards and challenges such as bunkers, rough, trees and water hazards.

Most courses will have an individual tee box, fairway and putting green for each hole. However, there are in fact many golf courses where some of the holes share tee boxes, fairways and putting greens.

An example of this is at St Andrews, where the oldest golf club in Scotland and key influence in why golf is 18 holes, the Old Course, features seven holes with shared greens and eight shared fairways.

The shared greens at St Andrews are almighty in size and have two holes so that golfers playing the separate holes don’t coincide with each other.

Other Types Of Golf Courses

Although the 18-hole golf course was established by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1764, it’s also very common to see golf courses with fewer or more holes than 18.

Here’s a quick look at a few other types of golf courses with a different number of holes.

9 Hole Golf Courses

A nine-hole course is quite common and gives golfers the chance to either play nine holes or play the course twice so that 18-holes are played.

Nine-hole golf courses will usually have the same greens and fairways, but quite often each hole will have two tee boxes. This allows golfers to play from a separate position when playing the course twice.

Nine-hole courses are great for beginner golfers or players that don’t have much time on their hands, as 9-holes will take much less time than 18-holes.

Par 3 golf courses tend to only be nine holes, although in some cases you can have a full 18-hole course. Par 3 courses feature only par 3 holes and are great for working on your short game.

I love a nine-hole course as it’s super quick and easy to just pop out and get some golf in. Perfect for an evening after work, where time is limited but I can still get some good practice in.

27 Hole Golf Courses

Although quite rare, there’s also possible to see a 27-hole golf course in the golf world.

These courses are usually three separate sets of nine holes, which can either all be played or golfers can choose which set/sets of nine they wish to play.

27-hole golf courses offer a great variety of golf to visitors and members, giving many options to play golf.

12 Or 6 Hole Golf Courses

With the growth of the game in recent years, golf has seen an increase in other courses such as 6 and 12-hole golf courses.

A 12-hole golf course gives something slightly more than a 9-hole course, but uses less space and can be finished in less time than an 18-hole golf course.

In more built-up areas, where space is a premium, 6-hole golf courses are becoming more popular. These courses offer a place for the average golfer or busy person to get out for a few quick shots that can be completed in under an hour.

How Many Par 3 Holes On A Golf Course?

For a standard 18-hole golf course, there will usually be about four or five par 3 holes.

These can be short or long, up to a certain level, and will vary for every 18-hole course.

For a nine-hole golf course, they’ll likely be between one and three par 3 holes on the layout.

There’s no limit set out by the United States Golf Association (USGA) or the R&A for how many par 3s a golf course should have. Ultimately it’s down to the club and the course architect to decide how many they wish to have.

Some golf courses may have no par 3s and some golf courses may only be par 3s.

How Many Par 5 Holes On A Golf Course?

Typically, for most 18-hole golf courses, the number of par 5 holes will be between two and five.

There will be some cases where a course has no par 5s and some courses will have more than five.

Nowadays, with a greater focus on hitting the ball far, golf course designers are including more and more par 5s to accommodate.

Golfers love playing par 5s because it usually gives the best opportunity of making a birdie or an eagle, so courses like to include them in the set-up.

Final Thoughts

The number of golf holes that a course has can vary, but typically you’ll see courses with 18 holes.

Whatever the number of holes, ultimately, the essence of the game is still the same. Whether you’re trying to break 100 over 18 holes for the first time or you’re going for your best score on a 9-hole course, strategy and skill are required to play your best.


How many holes can a golf course have?

Although there’s no limit on the number of holes a golf course can have, traditionally a golf course will have 18 holes, spread across a mixture of short holes, medium holes and longer holes.

Is there 18 holes in a golf course?

Most golf courses will have 18 holes on them, however, some courses may have 27 or 9 holes. There is no requirement for a golf course to have a specific number of holes.

Is there such a thing as a 27-hole golf course?

A 27-hole golf course is a fairly common occurrence in golf and is usually a combination of three separate 9 holes. Golfers can choose to play all 27 holes or a combination of the 9s.

How many holes is pitch and putt?

A pitch and putt golf course will usually have 9, 12 or 18 holes on it. These holes tend to be between 50 and 150 yards long.

How many holes does a professional golfer have?

Most professional golf tournaments are played on 18-hole golf courses, usually across four rounds. More recently, new formats have been introduced, where players play on fewer holes. However, the most common number of holes is an 18-hole golf course for playing golf.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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