How to play as many holes of golf as possible in one day

Are you the kind of golfer who, when on a trip, starts playing golf in the morning and literally can't stop until the sun goes down?

Then you must love the week of the summer solstice, home of the longest days of the year. Growing up in Michigan, I always looked forward to a twilight round of golf at my home course in mid-June. I felt it was the best way to "beat the house," managing a full 18 on my 5,000-yard course before dark on a reduced, $7 green fee.

There are golf destinations that are legendary for long days. In places like Northern Michigan, the solstice sunrise is 5:52 a.m. and the sunset is 9:32 p.m. It's no surprise there are many multi-course resort courses that cater to all-day binges.

Farther north, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a course I could play every day (twice a day, all summer long) has daylight from 5:26 a.m to 10:26 p.m. Or you could play JPL, then make the three-hour drive down to Banff Springs for the PM 18.

You don't need to play golf on the solstice to play a ton of holes in one day. If your idea of a great golf vacation is 36, 54 or more holes every day, there are a few ways you can tip the odds in your favor. Here are 18 tips to keep in mind if you want to play as much golf as possible in one day.

To you golf junkies out there, I'd be eager to hear your tips on how to play a ton of golf.

  1. Stay-and-play at a multi-course golf resort

    Both times I've visited Garland Resort in Northern Michigan, I've played at least 54 holes in a day. It's a property that brings out the golf junkie in me because it's easy to do for a variety of reasons, the chief of which being there are four first tees within a stone's throw of one another. You don't have to drive to another facility. Literally the second you finish the 18th, you can check with the starter and know which course is the most wide open.

  2. Don't play the most popular/expensive courses

    The best courses in any given destination are in all likelihood among the most popular with less space on the tee sheet. Instead opt for lesser-known, hidden gem-style resorts that are less busy. And you shouldn't rush a pricey round, either. When you're playing fast golf, you're not exactly savoring the architecture, anyway.

  3. Go off peak

    Summertime in the northern hemisphere is when there is the most daylight, of course, so if you want wide open tee sheets, you'll want to avoid the crowds and play midweek.

    In the south, summertime is off-peak in many destinations, so you should have wide open tee sheets, especially after noon. You're more likely to encounter thundershowers in the southeast compared to the west, so point your compass towards the desert. Stay plenty hydrated and lather yourself up with sunscreen (and re-apply).

  4. Seek out unlimited golf packages

    Most resorts, especially mid-week, offer unlimited golf packages. Generally speaking, your afternoon/evening rounds are based on space available, so go to resorts with a lot of options. Check out our Stay and Play package page which has over 100 golf packages in North America to choose from.

  5. Get the private club hookup

    Getting on a private club is usually the best way to ensure an open tee sheet, especially if it's midweek and the membership is largely national and not local.

  6. Tee it forward

    If you are planning to embark on a total golf binge, don't play the Tiger Tees. Those long-iron swings and missed greens will sap energy and add minutes.

  7. Do it for charity

    A few years ago, the 100-hole-hike was founded by a golfer in Colorado named Jim Colton, who wanted to raise money for a paralyzed caddie at his club. Now, there are many golfers raising money for a charity of their choice by playing as much golf as possible, and around the solstice that's a good proposition.

  8. Play somewhere with a short course (or two)

    Consider playing a short course in between full-length 18s to give your body a breather. The different challenge of short courses should keep you more mentally engaged as well. Playing the Big Cedar Lodge "cycle" - Top of the Rock, Mountain Top, Buffalo Ridge Springs and Ozarks National - all in one day is a junket I'd raise my hand for.

    5 Min Read
    December 30, 2019
    From par-3 courses to executive and nine-hole tracks, the best of short golf courses in the U.S. according to your reviews
    By Golfers' Choice

  9. Travel to where the days are long

    In the summer, the farther you head towards the poles, the longer your days will be. Alaska is an extreme case. In Fairbanks, the sunrise-sunset times are just two hours apart on the summer solstice. The Scottish Highlands are a nice alternative, with sunrise happening just past 4 a.m.

    Of course, we don't condone teeing off without checking in with the pro shop. So if you would like to be first out, do call ahead and see what can be arranged.

    August 13, 2018
    Northern Michigan is one of the deepest and affordable golf destinations on earth. Let our editorial staff experts help you plan your ideal golf trip.

  10. Don't play stroke-and-distance

    Save the re-tees on this day and play all lost balls and O.B. as lateral penalty areas.

  11. Play some forgiving layouts

    Speaking of, look for courses light on O.B., water and sand traps. Instead seek out forgiving fairways and ample playing corridors.

  12. Play 'Speed Golf.' Literally

    I've played Speed Golf - where your total score is strokes plus minutes - on several occasions, and you can get in 18 holes in about an hour. You could theoretically get in a marathon of miles in one day by playing 4-5 rounds of golf.

  13. Cruise around on Golfboards or bikes

    One of the big trends in golf these days is alternative (and fast) on-course transportation. A golf cart isn't the quickest way to play if you have someone else in it. But with new products like Golfboards, Finn Scooters and golfbikes, golfers can cruise quickly to their ball (and no one else's).

    3 Min Read
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    Finn Scooters, GolfBoards see significant sales increases.

  14. Just say 'no' to stroke play

    Rather than grind out a score, play modified Stableford, Wolf, match play or any other games that let you pick up once your partner or opponent is in the hole. If you're a GolfPass member, you have access to our Trip Manager, which provides a wealth of different team games to choose from including stableford, skins and more.

    (More: Try these alternatives to stroke play).

  15. Dress right

    You may want to change clothes between rounds if it's humid out to stay fresh. Changing socks or even your golf shoes could give your feet a jump start. I like to change out of my golf shoes during lunch or any other down time just to relieve certain pressure points before heading back out. By the way, if you're walking, using a push cart should save your back.

  16. Go somewhere with night golf
    Golf under the lights at Mission Bay Golf Course near downtown San Diego.

    Who says you have to stop when the sun goes down? Jason Deegan recently chronicled all the places you can keep playing after dark in the U.S.

  17. Don't make dinner plans

    Have you ever been on vacation and the only thing standing between you and a glorious emergency twilight round is a dinner reservation? Keep your belly full enough with granola bars or other protein-on-the-go options, and then celebrate with a big meal afterwards. Make sure the resort's restaurant is still going to stay open for you.

  18. Bring medicine (or swing fuel)

    I'd advise against an all-day alcohol regimen when you're looking to play a lot of holes. But I will admit that some swing oil late in the day will keep the aches at bay. Or, pack Advil or other painkillers.


Updated 6/24/20, 11:55 AM: Updated related links and information
Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
13 Comments
Commented on

The Summer Solstice is the perfect day to complete 54 holes in one day. Become a member of Club 54. Membership is available at Club54.us.

9b809494-e984-5a8b-a233-f5ef17ef9d78
Commented on

Playing a ton of golf is really just a function of how open the golf course is. I played 54 in a day in Myrtle Beach back in May on 3 different courses. Riding in a cart, it really shouldn't take much more than 2 hours to play 18 if you're a single.
I also played 72 in a day on the RTJ Trail in Birmingham, walked the first 54 (at Oxmoor Valley) and rode the final 18 at Ross Bridge.
I've also done Colton's Hundred Hole Hike and I played the full 100 holes at the RTJ site in Mobile, AL, getting about 4 hours cut out in the middle of the day from a thunderstorm.
I knew a guy who did a golf marathon using a cart...he played from daylight until dark, averaging about 45 minutes per 18...played over 300 holes in a day.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Try Midnigth golf in Norway under the midnigth sun
https://www.golfbreaks.com/lofoten-links-golf-club

Commented on

I was in Wisconsin a few weeks ago and played The Ridges Golf Course and 2 hours later I played the Snndbox as Sand Valley Resort for 36 holes my first time ever doing that ! So I have now for filled a bucket list of playing 36 holes in one day

Commented on

My friend, Ken Peterson of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, has played a golf marathon each year for nearly a decade to raise money for the Autism Society of Minnesota. This year, he played 171 holes in one day. He has raised nearly $50,00 over the duration of his marathons.

Staff
Commented on

Wow! Thanks for sharing.

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Commented on

About 30 years ago I participated in the Longest Day of Golf to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. We teed off at sun up and played until sunset. There were 4 golfers with substitutes for lunch and dinner breaks. We did not keep score and just hit the ball and went on. We were also given power carts. The team completed 16 holes and I personally played 180 holes. Needless to say I had to take a couple of days off of work. I was in my 30's at the time and had a great time but it was still the hardest thing I have ever done. I also won a trip to Bermuda in a draw based on the amount of money raised. I believe it was 1 ballot for every $100.00 dollars raised. I had 5 ballots.

Staff
Commented on

By back hurts just thinking about this.

Commented on

I play at least 2 rounds a day when I play. My method is to tee off in the first or second group in the morning. Then I'm guaranteed my second round will be within 3 hours of my first round. Breakfast is served after the first turn. The most holes I played was decades ago on a 4th of July weekend carrying with a friend (54 holes). I wasn't aware of the extended daylight in Michigan. Now it's on my list for a June golf trip. Thanks Brandon.

Commented on

Shooting for 80 tomorrow in a Dawn2Dusk charity event... *fingers crossed*

Commented on

Years ago did the 100 holes of golf for charity - raised $2500 on my own. Never again (too old now), but took me several days for the swelling to subside! Good fun, worthy cause, but too much!
Golf buddy trips to northern Michigan used to be 54 holes for 3 days - again not any more. Now more like; 27 day one, 36 day two, then 18 or 27 and a 4 hour drive back home!

Commented on

Brandon--Great article--I love your work. Check out or Man VS. Golf package: http://treetops.com/deals/man-vs-golf/
63 holes in one day--plus you get your name on a plaque! And get to play one of the highest ranked Par 3's in the World.

Staff
Commented on

Good deal Barry. Thanks for sharing. I've played 45 at Treetops in one day before, including Threetops.

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How to play as many holes of golf as possible in one day