Can you play golf with 5 players? (What is the player limit?)10 min read

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Can you play golf with 5 players

Many golfers find themselves in a quandary when they have four friends that want to play a round of 18 holes. However, either one of those friends doesn’t know how to play or is not allowed on the course. But there are ways for you to enjoy an afternoon with all your pals still! In this article, we discuss how to play golf with 5 players.

Based on the rules of golf, many golf courses do not allow more than four (4) players on the golf course. This is because they need to speed up the gameplay, and the more players there are, the slower the game. However, there are some options you have for playing golf with five players.

In some of our other golf articles, we have discussed whether you can play golf shirtless, and how to ask someone their golf score politely. We have also done a guide on what not to say after winning and ways to say golf luck at golf. For the tough times, we have discussed what to say and do after losing a game.

Golfers wait for the foursome in front of them to finish up on the green.
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How many players can play a round of golf?

Playing golf with five players is not the same as playing a round of golf with four players. Some rules and policies govern how many people are allowed on the course, and those rules and policies change frequently.

For example, if you’re on a public course open to all, nothing is stopping you from playing with five people. However, on most private courses, there is a limit to the maximum number of players, which is often four (4).

Why don’t golf courses like the “fifth player”?

Many golf courses do not like the idea of a “fifth player.” As a result, designations such as “fifth player,” “fifth member,” etc., do not exist in golfing parlance whatsoever. Only four players are often allowed on the course at any given time.

Many golf courses only allow a maximum of four players because they believe the game of golf requires a lot of concentration and coordination. There is also the idea that limiting the game to four players would increase the golf game’s pace.

The idea of playing golf with five players comes from people who do not think that four players are enough. Alternatively where one would like to play with their four (4) friends. In this case, it is good to go ahead and ask the rules at the specific course you are planning to play.

How to play golf with five (5) or more players

First, some basic information, the course you’re playing on will be your key factor in what you’re going to do.

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If it’s a very short course, such as a friendly nine-hole course, you should all play golf. It would be much better than splitting up. However, if it’s a very long course (more than nine holes), you’re going to want some way of dividing up the course.

There are some interesting five-player golf games that do not slow down the gameplay. However, this would mean that you would be playing more for fun than for the actual competitiveness of playing an accurate round of golf.

Playing Wolf – one of the best fivesome golf games

A good example of an alternative golf game that a fivesome or even a sixsome can be played is called Wolf. In this game, the extra player(s) can either choose a teammate or become the lone wolf.

If they choose a teammate, their team would be playing against the other players. If they choose to be a lone wolf, they would be competing to beat the entire group’s score on their own.

With this variation of golf where you play with the Wolf game, it is possible to play the game with more than four (4) players while keeping the time relatively low and having lots of fun during gameplay.

High handicappers vs. Low handicappers

There are different variations of five-player golf games. A second variation is the high handicappers playing against the low handicappers.

In this game, the high handicappers go in a team of three (3) while the low handicappers form a team of two (2) players. The aim of the game is that the three (3) high handicappers compete to have a lower score than the two (2) low handicappers.

Since the high handicappers have a larger team, their score will be considerably higher, and they would need to have very low scores to beat the low handicappers.

Two carts only

In this variation of the five-player golf game, you only bring two carts on the course. Since each cart can only carry a maximum of 2 golfers at a time, it means that one (1) golfer would always have to walk to the next hole.

There are then two (2) variations of the two carts game that you can play. The first is where the player with the highest score has to walk to the next hole, while the second is where the player with the lowest score has to walk to the next hole.

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In the first instance where the player with the highest score has to walk to the next hole, the incentive is for each golfer to bring their A-game to the course. If the player has the highest score they would inevitably need to walk to the next hole, which can be quite tiring. However, when their score is in the top four (4) lowest scores, they would secure their place in the golf cart.

However, the second variation requires the golfer to calculate their moves carefully. The golfer would need to sacrifice their prowess on the far apart holes (to secure a place in the cart). At the same time, they would be trying to get the best scores on the holes close to each other since the walk would be shorter. Choosing their moves this way would be much more complicated, and overall, winning would be more difficult.

Does the actual playtime increase as you add more players?

Let’s do some quick math.

In theory, it is possible that a highly disciplined fivesome or even sixsome could play a full round of golf at the same pace as a foursome. However, in reality, you will find that every additional player adds up to 30 extra seconds on each stroke. If we assume that the full round is 90 strokes, that would mean it would take an extra 45 minutes for each additional player.

So where a game of four players would take 4 hours, a game of 5 players would effectively take close to 5 hours. If we add the time it takes to celebrate or mock players for best or horrible shots, or time it takes to discuss best angles and more. In the same spirit, a sixsome would take about 6 hours to finish a round.

The other thing to remember is that while we all assume that a foursome should take 4 hours to finish a round of golf, they often take much more time than that.

Men golf golfer golf club
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Etiquette at the course when playing a fivesome

If you are looking to play golf as a fivesome, this is a great idea. The one criteria to keep in mind is that you should each be able to carry your own clubs and balls, and perhaps a cart.

When arriving to play

The first thing to do would be to find out if the course can allow a fivesome. Most courses have enough room for this type of activity if they are not that busy. However, some don’t, so you might want to check with the course before your next trip there.

You can also choose to arrange a ride-and-play or carpooling system to get there. It is definitely going to be the same as if you were going solo, but this way, everyone benefits from lower costs.

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While on the course

When playing the game itself, be aware of where you are on the course and try not to take unnecessary risks.

Be sure you know the laws of the course and follow them as well. Also, be aware of your physical limitations and play at your own pace.

Be respectful of other players. For example, make sure to be as fast as possible on each hole to avoid holding up the game for other players behind you. As we have shown, just adding one (1) extra player can easily add an hour to the gameplay.

Person holding golf club near girl and woman
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Frequently asked questions around playing golf with five (5) players

What do you call a group of golfers?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it is hard to find an effective term.

People who play golf refer to a group of golfers as a “foursome” for four (4) people playing the game. However, there are times when it is obvious that there are three (3) players out on the course, which would make them a “threesome.”

There are many other options in terms of what you call a group of five (5) golfers, but the most common one is “fivesome.”

Alternatively, people would refer to the group by the number of golfers and the word ‘ball’ at the end. For example, they are referred to as a “4-ball” if there are four players or a “2-ball” if there are two (2) players.

Is it fun playing golf with five (5) players?

Yes! People who are interested in playing golf with five players will find that it is very much so. As a matter of fact, many members at the golf club will consider it a more fun way to play than the traditional foursomes.

Consider playing with friends, family, or even colleagues. You’ll get to spend time with them and still get to enjoy a round of golf. This is rarely seen at golf clubs, and that’s a good thing.


Some golf courses love to see the crowds and the large number of people who show up for the game. Those who aren’t a fan of the “noise” will typically shy away from hosting such a game of golf.

Activity bunker club course
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Final thoughts on playing golf with five (5) players

So now you know all of the aspects of the course when you play golf with five (5) players.

You’re ready to go out and enjoy the game!

We hope you have found the information on playing golf with five (5) players valuable and exciting. Now you’re ready to get out and enjoy some golf.

You can continue playing foursomes, or you can go ahead and play a round of golf with five (5) players. Just make sure to find out from the golf club if they allow a fivesome at their course.

Michael G

I love investing in people! Michael is on a mission to help organizations and individuals become better. Michael has had a distinguished 10-year career spanning through non-profit and the corporate world. Michael's life purpose is in helping to simplify complex problems to define actionable solutions, which is why through public speaking, Michael is focused on inspiring and impacting people towards the right personal growth formula and generating sustainable business growth.

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