How Long is the Average Golf Course? (and the World’s Longest Course)

One of the unique aspects of the game of golf is that every course is different. Some are short, some are long, and others lie somewhere in the middle. 

But, just how long is the average golf course?

The average length of the top 100 public golf courses in America (as ranked by Golf Digest) is about 7,200 yards, which is equivalent to about 4.09 miles. The average length of all the courses on the PGA tour also happens to be 7,200 yards. On the LPGA tour, the average course length drops to just 6,500 yards or about 3.7 miles. 

That’s a lot of walking between shots!

As golf club technology continues to improve, golf courses have been getting longer to accommodate the longer distances commonly seen from the modern player. 

In 1980, the average driving distance on tour was just under 257 yards. Fast forward to today, and the average distance tour pros are hitting the ball off the tee has jumped to nearly 300 yards!

golfers can play golf courses from the middle tees

And who knows what the future might hold. So, chances are courses will continue to keep growing in length as time goes by.

The Longest Golf Course in The World

In terms of physical distance, the Nullarbor Links in Australia is the longest golf course in the world, and the statistics here will shock you. 

Situated along the Eire Highway that runs across the immense Nullabor Plain, the course runs for almost 150 miles and even crosses the border between Western and Southern Australia. 

Depending on which direction you’re driving, the course begins in the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, and ends at the coastal town of Ceduna, in South Australia.

But don’t worry, the actual course itself doesn’t cover the entire 150 miles. 

In fact, you need to drive between holes to play the whole course, which in itself only covers about 6,750 yards. 

some players play tees that make the length of the hole challenging

The average drive between holes (by car, not cart) is 41 miles, with two of the holes situated almost 124 miles apart. So, don’t try and walk this course!

But, as mentioned above, the playable part of the course is only 6,750 yards long. So, in terms of actual playing distance, this course isn’t really the longest in the world. 

For that, we need to hop over to the Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club in Lijiang, China. It comes in at a whopping 8,548 yards (and surprisingly, only a par 72), and is located in the Chinese Himalayas.

The course is over 10,000 feet above sea level and is the second-highest championship graded golf course in the world. (That honor goes to the La Paz Golf Club in Bolivia at 10,965 feet.)

There’s a very good reason why the Dragon Snow Mountain course is so long; golf balls travel further at altitude. 

The stats are impressive. The shortest par 3 on the course is an incredible 236 yards, and the par 5 5th hole is the longest par 5 in the world, measuring a staggering 711 yards. 

But at that altitude, even the shortest of hackers might be able to hit the green in regulation.

golfers play golf courses from the forward tees for a shorter course length

If you really want to see how far you can hit a ball, you might want to try the Yak Course in India. It’s not a public golf course, seeing as it’s located on a military base, and you’ll need permission to play there. 

But at 13,000 feet, you might just hit the longest drive of your life! That alone might make it worth the trip, snow permitting.

How long is a hole in golf?

Working out the par score for a hole is relatively simple. If played in regulation, a par three will include one drive and two puts. A par four will take two shots to reach the green, plus two puts. A par 5, three shots, plus two puts. 

You get the idea. 

Most golf courses have a par of 72 over 18 holes, but this can vary between clubs and courses.

The current yardage guidelines from the USGA specify that a par 3 can be up to 250 yards for men and up to 210 yards for women. A par 4 hole can be between 251 and 470 yards for men, and between 211 and 400 yards for women. A par 5 hole can be between 471 and 690 yards for men, and between 401 and 575 yards for women. Anything longer than that will be considered a par 6 or 7, although these are very rare. 

the length of a golf course can change what golf clubs players use from the back tees

Assigning the right mix of par holes is an art form when it comes to designing golf courses. 

The course architect aims to design a course that will take between 70 to 72 shots to achieve a par score. 

Of course, you could simply have 18 par 4 holes on a course, but where’s the fun in that! Most course architects will aim to include four par 3s (two on the first nine, two on the last nine), 10 Par 4s (five per nine), and four par 5s. 

But these objectives can change depending on the architect’s wishes, or even the terrain of the land.

Some smaller courses only have 9 holes that you need to play twice to complete the full 18 holes. 

Some larger courses have more than 18 holes that you can play in different configurations to complete a full round. 

So, as usual with golf, there is no normal.

What is the longest golf hole in the world?

At 711 yards, you might be thinking that the par 5 5th at the Dragon Snow Mountain course would be the longest hole in the world. And it is the longest par 5 in the world. 

the average golfer will likely play from the middle tee box

But there are par 6 and par 7 holes that are even longer.

The longest hole in the world is the par 7 3rd hole at the Gunsan Country Club in South Korea that measures a whopping 1,097 yards.

It will take you 5 clear shots to reach the green regulation, which is harder than it sounds considering the hole runs alongside a substantial water hazard. 

So, if your golf ball seems to be attracted to water like metal is to a magnet, this might be a hole to skip!

But of course, it’s not always the size that counts. 

Some of the shortest holes in golf are some of the most challenging and most iconic. Take the 106-yard seventh hole at Pebble Beach, the shortest hole on the PGA tour. 

It’s located on the edge of a gorgeous cliff and the breeze drifting off the pacific ocean makes club selection a nightmare, even for the pros!

golf fans like watching pros play on long courses

How do you choose which tees to play from?

There is a range of different tee boxes you can choose to play from.

  • Championship Tees 
  • Pro tees
  • Combo tees
  • Men’s Tees
  • Ladies tees
  • Junior Tees

The one you should select depends on your handicap and how far you can hit the golf ball. As long as you’re playing from the right set of tees for your skill level, you should be able to reach each hole in regulation. 

But how do you choose which tee box is best for you? 

Well, first off, don’t be unrealistic. It’s tempting to play from the tips just because “the pros do” but unfortunately very few are skilled enough to do so. 

Those who play from the championship tees without the required experience risk slowing down the pace of play on the golf course and becoming frustrated much quicker. 

There are two main ways to choose the tee box you should play from.

By handicap:

First, you might consider your skill level based on handicap. Better players should play from the back tees while beginners and high handicappers should play from the forward tees

course length from the middle tees is easier than from the back tees

Here’s a look at which tee box you should choose based on your handicap:

HandicapRecommended Tee Box
0-5Championship Tees
5-12Pro Tees
12-18Combo Tees
18-25Men’s Tees
25+Ladies Tees
Junior (under 14 years old)Junior/Senior Tees

By Distance:

The next way you can choose which tees to hit from is based on how far you hit the golf ball. This is helpful if you do not know your handicap.

Here’s a chart that explains which yardage you should play based on your average driving distance:

Average Driving Distance (Yards)Recommended Tee Box Yardage
175Forward Tees
150Forward Tees
125Forward Tees

Keep in mind, different golf courses might have different tee box configurations. For example, many local or municipal, or executive golf courses will only have three sets of tees per hole, while other championship courses might have as many as five sets of tees. 

When you’re trying to figure out which tee box to hit from, use the strategies mentioned above or ask the club professional what they’d recommend. 

If you find you’re having trouble reaching the greens in regulation, then move forward one tee.

Another strategy some golfers use to figure out which tees to play from is the average 5-iron distance method. Fair warning, this requires some basic math.

What you do is take your average 5-iron distance and multiply by it 36, and then choose the tees that are a yardage that is closest to that number.

For example, if you hit your 5 iron 175 yards, you’d multiply this number by 36 to get 6,300. Based on this information, you should look for the set of tees with a yardage closest to 6,300 yards. 

But in the end, sometimes it’s a matter of “feel”. If the weather conditions are favorable, there’s no reason why you can’t try a harder tee position than you’re used to. 

Or, if you’re just playing for fun, there’s no reason why you can’t jump ahead to one of the easier tee boxes. 

As always, just be sensible.

The Takeaway…

The average length of golf courses around the world depends on things like altitude and the style of each particular course.

The average length of a course on the PGA Tour is 7,200 yards while the average course length on the LPGA Tour is 6,500 yards.

Of course, there will always be some outliers like the 8,548-yard long track at Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club. 

When deciding which tees to play from, you should always consider your skill level (handicap) and how far you can consistently hit the golf ball.

Hope this was helpful! 

Average Golf Course Length FAQ’s

How Many Miles Is A Golf Course?

The average golf course is approximately 4 miles long. However, depending on how crooked and how many shots you take it can be a lot more walking than 4 miles!

What Is A Full Length Golf Course?

A full length golf course is a standard 18 hole course. Typically a par 70, 71 or 72 and consists of a mix of par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s.

By saying it is “full length” does not mean it is long, just that it is a standard 18 hole course.

What Is A Long Golf Course?

A golf course that is around 7,200 yards is considered a long golf course.

What Is The Average Length Of A Golf Course On The LPGA Tour?

The average length of a course on the LPGA Tour is between 6,200 and 6,600 yards. Ladies hit the ball shorter than the men do, playing a much different style of game.

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