Is There a Time Limit for Playing a Stroke or Round of Golf?

Golf Rules FAQ

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What do the Rules of Golf say about time limits for playing a stroke or completing a round of golf?

Nothing concrete - only that a player may not "unduly delay" play, and if the player does, he incurs a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play (see Rule 6-7).

What constitutes an "undue delay"? The rules don't say.

How long does a golfer have to play an individual stroke? The rules don't address this at all. How long to complete a round? Again, the rules do not address it.

Although the rulebook makes no ruling on the issue, rules committees do. That's why you sometimes see Tour players warned by tournament officials to pick up their pace of play.

The rules committee for a golf club or competition may set any time limit it wishes to encourage a faster pace of play. In competition, you should always know the pace-of-play regulations in effect before beginning play (or better yet, play quickly enough that you never have to worry about it).

There are some time limits in the rules, however. For example, you have five minutes to search for a ball before you must take the lost-ball penalty; if a putt hangs on the lip of the cup, you have 10 seconds following your walk to the cup to wait for it to fall.

For more on tour policies, see our FAQ about the PGA Tour's slow play policy and penalties.

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