What Is An Executive Golf Course? (Can You Play There?)

Many newcomers to the game of golf may not be aware of what executive golf courses are. They sound fancy in name but aren’t a private country club or members-only setup. Others think these courses are an 18 or 9 hole course.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about executive courses.

Executive Golf Course Meaning

Why Are Some Golf Courses Called Executive?

Executive courses got their nickname because business executives would play these courses on their lunch breaks or conduct quicker business deals while playing them.

These courses are shorter in length compared to regular golf courses.

When built, the course designers implemented more par 3’s and shorter par 4’s. Sometimes par 5 holes were added but usually, if that was the case it was usually just one.

📋 Keep in mind: These courses require golfers to hit fewer shots and travel less distance, therefore they can complete these courses quicker.

What Are The Key Differences Between An Executive Golf Course and A Regulation Golf Course?

Regulation golf courses usually take up most of the day when played.

Especially on the weekends when the course is filled with foursomes and threesomes.

📋 Keep in mind: There will be a lot of waiting and if you’re in a multi-person group, it can take even longer.

Depending on how fast you play, it can take up to 6 hours sometimes to finish a round at a normal course.

Walking also makes rounds longer, especially at typical-lengthed courses.

The quality of an executive course is on par with a traditional setup.

All golf courses should be well-maintained and taken care of. Unfortunately, some courses suffer during the winter and have smaller budgets than others regardless of if executive or traditional.

How Long Does It Take To Play An Executive Golf Course?

At executive courses, you can finish rounds faster and they are easier to walk. If you’re looking to sneak in a twilight round after work, you might actually have a chance to finish.

📢 Need To Know: Playing an executive course alone or with only one partner can lead to an ultrafast round.

It could potentially be around 2-3 hours. Some solos might be able to finish in 1.5 hours.

With 3-4 players in the group, it can take around 3.5 to 4 hours depending on how fast each individual plays and if they’re taking mulligans.

Using a cart will make the round fly by much quicker than walking.

How Big Is An Executive Golf Course?

Below is a list of some examples in differences in size and setup between a regular course and executive course:

Regular Course

About 5,800 yards to 7,500 yards for all 18 holes depending on the tees hit from. 

It will contain multiple long par 5s and many varying in length par 4s on the course.

Par: 70-73

More space usually such as some holes with wide-open fairways.

Executive Course

About 3,000-5,000 yards for all 18 holes depending on the tees hit from.

Usually no par 5s, a few par 4s and a lot of par 3s.

Par: 62-66.

Less space usually. Can have tighter fairways.

Par 3 vs Executive Golf Course

Par 3 courses and executive golf courses are often mixed up among the golf community.

A par 3 course is normally only nine holes and consists of strictly par 3s with a par of 27.

These courses are much quicker to play and shorter than executive courses. They will be around 900-1,300 yards in distance depending on the length of the par 3 holes.

Executive golf courses have par 4’s and sometimes a par 5, unlike a par 3 course.

A lot of amateur golfers love hitting the big stick, so an executive course allows them to smash the driver where on a Par 3 it wouldn’t be possible.

Who Is An Executive Golf Course Suitable For?

People Who Don’t Have A Lot Of Time

Since executive courses are so short, people with busy schedules are able to sneak in a round.

They’re also good for golfers who enjoy playing twilight rounds after work and want to fit in a round without it becoming dark on them.

Golfers Who Want To Spend Less Money

Executive golf courses are usually a lot cheaper to play than normal golf courses. Some courses can be very pricey with green fees and cart fees.

📋 Keep in mind: Since executive courses are friendlier to walk, cart fees can be wiped away from the receipt.

Seniors or People Who Don’t Want To Exert Themselves

Golf can be a strenuous sport especially if you want to walk a full course.

There can be large hills to trek up and this is an inconvenience for certain players.

Seniors who want to play multiple times a week can get tired easily and this can negatively affect their golf game.

Playing a shorter course conserves more energy and can make you feel fresh next time you play. Significantly on back-to-back days.

Players Who Want To Use Rounds For Practice

Going to the driving range and hitting balls does help improve your game but facing on-course scenarios makes the world of a difference.

Using executive courses to practice saves time, allows you to use the driver and forces you to face pressure chips and putts.

People With Short Attention Spans

If you find yourself bored or losing interest on the back nine, executive courses are the perfect courses for you. Since there is less yardage to deal with, you can stay locked in throughout the day.


What is an executive 9?

Executive 9 golf course is a shorter, easier-to-play variant that you can play in a limited time. It consists of only two types of holes – par 3s and 4-holers, which are generally much lower than typical courses. Executive courses have an average score of around 60; on standard layouts, it would be higher, that is 72!

What is the yardage of an executive golf course?

The yardage of an executive golf course is 5,200 yards. This shorter length makes the course more suitable for beginners or those with less time to play. Executive courses also typically have fewer hazards than traditional courses, making them easier to navigate. 

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with Augusta.com. He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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