Golf Tournament Games – Four Ball


The Four-Ball golf game is often played in major tournaments including the Seve Trophy, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. It is one of the most popular formats used for team games. Other known formats include singles matches and alternate-shot. The game has a simple method but winning it would need players to strategize to outplay the others.

The official format of Four-Ball

The USGA (United States Golf Association) Rules of Golf explains that the Four-Ball is where players form teams in pairs. They will play their own ball where the lower score of the team is the hole’s score. There will be no penalty imposed if the partner fails to complete a particular hole. This means that the 2 players will play their better ball against the other team’s better ball. As such, it is quite common that this game is sometimes uttered as the ‘better ball’ game.

Scoring and dynamics of Four-Ball

As mentioned, the game is played among 4 players who will form teams of two. At the end of each hole, the players will compare their scores where the lowest score is taken into account for each team. for instance, if one team’s players are playing a par-4 hole, the first and second players will take 4 and 5 shots respectively. Ince, the first player has a lower score (of 4), it will be taken into account which will be used to determine the winner. In the match play format meanwhile, the team’s score of 4 will be used to compare with the opposing team which will be the decider on who wins that particular hole. The team with the lower score will win at the end of the match.

Playing and strategizing in Four-Ball

Four-Ball got its name from the fact that since there are 4 people playing their own ball, there will be 4 balls used. It requires some extend of thinking and planning in order to come up with a workable strategy against the other team. As the game is quite straightforward, most teams will employ a similar plan in order to outwit the other. Compared to single-player, the Four Ball game is different mainly it only counts one score. Most teams will use the ‘play safe’ approach where a player will try to guarantee par while the other player in the team will try to get the lowest score possible. This is often regarded as the ‘ham and egging’ approach.


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