How Many Acres Is A Golf Course? Golf Course Sizes Explored In Detail

Golf is a truly global sport, with golf courses found in 80% of nations in the world.

Golf courses come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller 9-holes to sprawling 18-holes with plenty of amenities.

The size of a golf course is determined by several factors, including number of holes and the type of golf course.

In this article, I’ll be addressing the question, “How big is a golf course?” and delve deeper into different golf course sizes.

In this article, we will cover:

  • How Many Acres Is A Golf Course?
  • Factors That Affect Golf Course Acreage
  • Golf Course Size Around The World
  • Wrapping Up: How Many Acres Is A Golf Course? 

Let’s dive in!

View of a golf course from the sky, with words in the foreground saying how many acres is a golf course?

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course?

The average acreage of an 18-hole golf course is between 120 and 200 acres, though golf courses can vary in size.

Over 350 acres can be used to build a professional golf course. 

This comprises the rough, tees, fairways, greens, and additional areas like water hazards, sand traps, and out-of-bounds zones. 

Some courses may also have additional features, such as driving ranges, practice greens, and clubhouse facilities, which can increase the total amount of land.

One of the most famous properties in the world is the 400-acre Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. 

This consists of the 18-hole golf course along with additional areas, including the practice areas, maintenance facilities, and clubhouse.

So how big is a golf course?

Let’s take a closer look at the varying sizes of golf courses and the factors that can affect their acreage:

Green golf course with a sand pit and trees in the background.

#1: Nine-Hole Golf Courses

A 9-hole golf course is a course that only has nine holes instead of the typical 18. 

This option provides a similar experience to playing a traditional 18-hole course but takes less time to complete.

9-hole golf courses are usually found in rural or remote areas where resources and land are limited. 

They’re also popular at smaller clubs or municipal courses where space and costs are concerned. 

Even though they are smaller than traditional courses, 9-hole courses still provide a fun and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels.

#2: 18-Hole Golf Courses

As designed by St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1764, standard golf courses feature 18 holes. 

The original Old Course had 12 holes. Ten were played twice for a total of 22 holes in one round

However, golfers modified the course by turning the first four holes—which were too short—into two, resulting in the current 18-hole layout.

These courses typically cover between 100 and 200 acres of land, with the average golf course acreage being around 150 acres.

Sprawling green golf course with a white golf flag and blue sky in the background.

#3: Executive Golf Courses

If you’re looking for a golf course that’s not too long and has different types of holes, then you should try an executive golf course. 

On average, executive courses cover between 50 and 100 acres of land.

Initially, these courses were intended for the business world, which is why they have the “executive” name. 

Some companies even had their own courses for their employees, though usually, only the top-level staff could play a round during work hours.

However, these days executive golf courses are open to the public across the country. While they’re not as common as other types of golf courses, they still pop up here and there. 

They’re particularly great for people who are new to golf or anyone who wants to complete a full 18-hole game in just a few hours.

#4: Championship Golf Courses

Championship courses are usually more challenging and maintained to the highest standards. 

By giving this course the title of “championship,” the course can charge a higher price for playing on it, making it more attractive to first-time visitors.

The acreage of championship golf courses can range in size to over 200 acres. 

The PGA National Champion Course, for example, spans 215 acres and boasts a difficult layout complete with water hazards and narrow fairways.

Sometimes people refer to a championship course because it has hosted tournaments, whether at the local, state, or professional level.

Golf ball sits on golf tee with trees lining either side of the fairway.

Factors That Affect Golf Course Acreage

What is the average golf course acreage? A golf course’s acreage is affected by several factors, including the number of holes the course has, the terrain, and the facilities available.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors:

Terrain

The terrain of a golf course can significantly affect how many acres it has.

Courses with steep hills, water hazards, and other features may need more acreage to accommodate the course layout than courses that are relatively flat and featureless.

A course with a large lake or pond, for instance, might require extra land to accommodate the fairways and greens around the water hazard. 

Similarly to this, a course with steep slopes may need additional land to accommodate the plan without producing dangerous or unplayable areas.

Facilities

Golf courses that have substantial amenities like clubhouses, driving ranges, and practice greens may require additional land to accommodate these features. 

For instance, additional acreage might be needed to offer enough parking and convenient access to a course with a large clubhouse and pro shop.

In a comparable way, a course that has multiple driving ranges, practice greens, and bunkers might need more land to accommodate all of these amenities. 

While these amenities might improve the golfing experience, maintaining them can require more land and resources.

View of the golf course from the sky, with trees, sand pits and paths connecting the golf course.

Number of Holes

The number of holes on a golf course can also affect its acreage.

Nine-hole courses require less land to accommodate the course layout than 18-hole courses, while executive courses require even less land.

However, it’s worth noting that the overall acreage of a golf course isn’t always directly proportional to the number of holes. 

Some 18-hole courses may cover less acreage than other courses with fewer holes, depending on the layout and terrain.

Design

The design of a golf course can also significantly affect how much acreage it has.

More land may be needed to accommodate the necessary hazards and routing on challenging courses.

Similar to this, courses that are intended to be scenic can require additional land to allow enough space for natural elements, including trees, ponds, and hills. 

While these elements might improve the overall golfing experience, they can also be more expensive to maintain and upkeep.

Golf Course Size Around The World

Global variations in golf course size can be attributed to factors including population density, land availability, and cultural preferences. 

The average size of golf courses in some of the major golfing nations will be covered below:

Sun setting over the mountains with a golf course surrounded by water being played on by a group of golfers.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In the USA?

With an estimated 16,000 courses spread out over the nation, the United States has the most golf courses per capita worldwide.

An 18-hole golf course typically spans 150 acres in the US; however, the size can vary greatly depending on the region and terrain.

Although, there are a few exceptions, with some courses being smaller or larger in size. One of the largest golf courses in the US, for instance, is the 400-acre Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In Canada?

It’s worth mentioning that Canada is home to many beautiful and challenging golf courses, such as in the Rocky Mountains and along the coastlines of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The average golf course size in Canada is around 120-150 acres for an 18-hole course.

This size range is similar to that of golf courses found in Europe and the United States.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In the UK?

The United Kingdom is another major golfing country, with a long history of golf dating back to the 15th century. 

The average golf course size in the UK is around 120 acres for an 18-hole course, although this can vary widely depending on factors such as location and terrain. 

However, there are some exceptions, such as the Gleneagles Golf Course in Scotland, which covers an area of 850 acres.

Many of the Uk’s famous courses, such as St. Andrews and Royal Birkdale, are located in coastal regions with challenging terrain.

Sloping golf course covered in green grass with a yellow flag and sunset in the background.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In Europe?

Many of the most renowned golf courses in the world can be found in Europe, including those in France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

For an 18-hole course, the average golf course size in Europe is about 150 acres, though this can vary greatly depending on the region and terrain.

It’s important to keep in mind that the actual size can change since some courses might be larger or smaller than this range. 

Additionally, smaller 9-hole courses may be half the size of 18-hole courses, although bigger championship courses might need more land.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In Asia?

Asia is increasingly becoming a world-renowned golfing destination, with many world-class courses located in countries such as Japan, South Korea, and China.

In Asia, the average golf course size is around 100-120 acres for an 18-hole course.

Although, in Asia, golf courses tend to be larger in size overall, with most courses covering over 150 acres. 

This is due to the availability of land in many parts of Asia, which allows for more expansive golf course designs. 

For example, the largest golf club in the world is the Mission Hills Golf Club in China, which covers an area of 1,200 acres.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In Australia and New Zealand?

Australia and New Zealand are renowned for their natural beauty alongside their challenging golf courses. 

The standard golf course size in Australia and New Zealand for an 18-hole course is roughly 150 acres, though this can vary greatly based on factors such as location and the landscape.

Golf ball and golf club lie in the ground with green grass and trees behind them covered in sunshine.

How Many Acres Is A Golf Course In South Africa?

There are many world-renowned golf courses in South Africa, including the Leopard Creek Country Club. 

The typical size of a golf course in South Africa is between 100 and 120 acres for an 18-hole course.

Due to the scarcity and the high cost of land, golf courses in Africa typically have smaller playing areas. 

With a few exceptions, like the Gary Player Country Club in South Africa, which covers 350 acres.

Most golf courses in Africa are between 60 and 100 acres in size.

Wrapping Up: How Many Acres Is A Golf Course? 

It’s evident that golf courses come in all shapes and sizes, depending on factors such as the terrain, the number of holes, and the facilities available.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a course out there that will suit your golfing needs.

So next time you hit the links, take a moment to appreciate the carefully crafted course layout and the natural beauty of the land around you.

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After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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