How Many Holes In Golf? Brief Golf Course History

The game of golf presents plenty of questions for curious players including how many holes in golf are found on the course. Most golf courses are known to have 18 holes. There are a few reasons why it is important to know a number of golf holes on a golf course.

​Golf courses can vary in size and a number of holes. A golf course typically has 18 holes. A golf course can be small and feature 9 holes. It can also be combined with another 9 hole course to make 18 holes. This aspect is known to create a unique experience for players.


Why is 18 the Magic Number?

Why is 18 the Magic Number

The history behind golf courses and the number of holes dates back to the 1700s. Before this holes on the golf course were smaller with 12, 7, or even 5 holes. The history of the game started in Scotland at a golf course known as St. Andrews.

The St. Andrews Course had about 7 holes. The course itself included 4 short holes and 2 long holes combined. In other words, there were other courses nearby that had fewer holes. It took time for other golf courses in the region to add holes to their courses.

​It took time for other golf courses to expand the number of holes. Meaning, some golf courses had just 12 holes. There were other courses that had over 20 holes going into the 1900s. Developers found it easier to maintain golf courses with 18 holes while keeping them interesting for players.

As time moved on from the 1700s other golf courses adopted 18 holes and it became the standard number. Also known as The Old Course at St. Andrews, it became the golf course many other courses mimicked. Even though many courses today may have more holes 18 is the prime number.

Rumor and Misconception about 18 Holes

Rumor and Misconception about 18 Holes

People often have questions about the number of holes a golf course has. While some give different answers there are details to remember to help separate fact from fiction. There is an old golf myth people tend to talk about related to golf course holes dating back to the 1800s.

The myth includes a belief related to playing on the golf course with the Scotts. Some believed members of the St. Andrews golf course during the mid-1800s would play 18 holes to play off a fifth of Scotch. The Scotts then decided to have one shot of Scotch at each hole.

Then, some believed when the booze ran out the round of golf ended. It is true many players like to have a drink to relax them on the course. But this story has holes that don’t make sense because at one point St. Andrews had 22 holes. That would be more Scotch than necessary but some still wouldn’t mind.

Tips on Playing 18 Holes

Tips on Playing 18 Holes

There are a few details to keep in mind when preparing to play an 18 hole golf course. Time wise it may take a few hours to play the entire course depending on play level, experience, and course design. Some players like to play in groups of 2 or 4 (also known as a foursome).

Players can choose to walk or ride a golf cart on the course. Walking is a good exercise but it may take longer to complete the course. Using a golf cart is faster, especially after hitting a long ball, but some carts can damage the greens or be a little tricky to drive over slopes.

Get to know different types of 18 hole golf courses such as parkland and woodland since their scenery and structure varies. Know your skill level and choose the best course that is a match. Be mindful of other players when course traffic increases. Keep track of your time when teeing off.

Golf Hole Summary

So, the next time someone asks how many holes in golf you can say 18. The history of the holes dates back to the 1700s and mid-1800s. Golf courses had fewer holes but later adopted 18 holes as the standard number for a full-size course.

A common myth about the holes, including getting drunk with Scotch, proved not true in helping setup the number of holes on the course.

Today, golfers around the world enjoy playing golf from beginners to professionals. Playing an 18 hole course has its challenges, but there are a few things to remember to make your experience enjoyable:

  • Choose a course matching your play skills.
  • Be respectful of other players during busy traffic.
  • Play in groups of 2 or 4 to make play interesting.
  • Get to know different types of golf courses to make choosing easier.

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Emilia Clarke

My name is Emilia Clarke and I am the person behind In this website, we have one goal – to help you to become the best golf player that you could. We can extend a helping hand through providing you with articles that will provide basic knowledge about the sport, including how-to and buying guides.

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