Foursomes In Golf: How does it work

Golf is a challenging sport, but it doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, some people find that golf can actually be enjoyable and relaxing. One of the most important aspects of this game is pace of play- how quickly you're able to complete your round. There are many factors that contribute to pace of play including number foursomes on the course at one time.

To ensure an enjoyable experience for all players, there are rules about who should wait when two or more groups want to tee off from different tees at the same hole or when they reach a green in turn.

This article will explore these rules and provide tips for playing with foursomes in golf.

What is 4somes in golf

Foursomes is the term for a form of alternate shot golf where two players are paired together and play against another two-player pair. The order in which each team hits is 1st-2nd, then 3rd-4th. A best ball or foursomes handicap or stroke play competition may be played between teams with different handicaps.

There are variations of the game in which one player hits both balls (known as fourball) or each pair hits their own ball alternately (alternate shot). Regardless of format, the order is usually 1st-2nd, then 3rd-4th and play continues for a full round.

Foursomes should not be confused with fourball, which is a type of match play competition.

Why 4somes are used in golf ?

Foursomes were originally introduced in golf to accommodate the lower-handicapped players, as match play was thought to be too much for beginners and casuals. Foursomes allows beginners to learn the game while playing with someone of a similar skill level and helps increase confidence.

Arguably, this has led to the majority of competition play being in the format.

Foursomes is still used extensively by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and many other golfing authorities (for example, foursomes was used on both days of the 2012 Ryder Cup).

How to play a foursome game of golf?

  1. A golf foursome consists of two players, three balls and usually a golf cart to ride in
  2. Each player should play the ball with which he was assigned by the "honor system"
  3. The turn is complete when both players have played.
  4. First player drives, followed by the second player hitting their drive and so on till the ball is holed
  5. The winning course has the lowest total number of shots over 18 holes
  6. If a tie, deadlock or stalemate occurs, it is settled according to rule 1(b) of golf (dropping of balls)
  7. Awards are given to players who achieve a hole-in-one or record another key golf statistic

Foursomes is sometimes played as a match play, but more commonly on stroke play rules

When playing on strokeplay it is usually recommended that the competition format be stableford or betterball. When playing stableford, the number of strokes is amended after each hole.

Benefits of playing with partners and friends on the course instead of alone

  1. Personal support and encouragement
  2. Having someone to talk about golf with
  3. Knowing that somebody is there can prevent you from getting distracted or discouraged by a bad shot
  4. Golf foursome helps improve your swing, mental focus and good attitude
  5. Foursomes is often a fun way for families to have a more casual outing and pick up some tips for improvement

Downside of playing with friends

  1. The game is generally slower than match play, especially when playing with an inexperienced player
  2. Could lead to arguments over who should hit the ball next, how far they should hit it, etc.
  3. The competition would be less even than a match play or stroke play tournament
  4. Sometimes players can get too friendly with their partners and become intimidated when playing against opponents who are strangers

Reciprocal rules for Foursomes:

A reciprocal rule of golf is a form of handicapping that allows golfers to compete on an equal basis. When playing golf with friends, it is common to ignore the handicap of one or more people in a foursome. This can create unfair matches because some players will not be as skilled as others. To solve this problem, many courses have reciprocal rules for foursomes so that everyone has an equal chance at winning every match.

The 2 Ball Rule:

One form of handicapping is the two-ball rule, which requires that each player play one shot with each ball. For example, in a foursome match, the first player plays both balls from tee to green and then hands off one ball to his partner for the next shot. This continues throughout the round. If one player hits a better tee shot than the other, then he can choose which ball to play from that point on.

If there is an odd number of players in a foursome match, someone may have to hit their own ball twice or use the less preferred club for the second stroke.

The Nines Rule:

Another common handicapping system is the nines rule. This rule requires that each player take his turn using only nine of the 18 holes in a match. For example, if there are four players in a match, each player will use each hole three times during the round; however they will play six different combinations of holes throughout the course. A player might hit two shots from hole No. 1, play a chip shot onto hole No. 2, and then knock in his putt for par on the last stroke of that hole.

Brothers Rule:

In this variation of the nines rule, each player who is playing must use nine holes, including those played by partners. For example, if there are three players in a match, then each player must use every hole except No. 12; however each player would play three different combinations of holes throughout the course. A player might hit two shots from his tee shot on No. 1, chip onto No. 2 and then putt for par on the second stroke of that hole.

This variation encourages team play by requiring one player to use every hole, so that two partners cannot work together to give one person an advantage. It also reduces the possible confusion of which holes are being combined and prevents players from using only the best combinations of holes.

What is the difference between greensomes and foursomes?

The term 'foursomes' is used to describe a type of game in golf where 2 people play as a team. The other set of players will be playing the same holes but as singles (1 person per hole). In greensomes, the two teams play from alternating tees on the front nine and then swap over for the back 9, where they will play in the opposite direction.

In foursomes, if one player hits into a bunker and takes a drop, his partner still has to hit from right next to him. In greensomes, both players on that hole would then take their 'drop' (hit from where the ball landed). This is important to note because of the wording in the rules regarding 'touchers' and when you have to give back a stroke. In foursomes, if one player hits into a bunker and takes a drop, his partner still has to hit from right next to him. In greensomes, both players on that hole would then take their 'drop' (hit from where the ball landed).

How do you calculate foursomes handicap?

When calculating your foursomes handicap, you will use the standard measures for your course. The problem is that most courses don't have a rating for foursomes play.

However, it can be calculated; just divide the number of players in a group by three and then add one to get the overall average score. This formula works for more than foursomes games as well.


Foursomes- A great game that is played often in golf. It's fun to play for the while time and it's easy to play with friends or family regardless of their ability. However, if you would like a challenge, try the greensome variation. If you have any questions about this article or anything else to do with golf, please leave a comment below. Please like, share and subscribe if you enjoyed this article. Thank You!


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