by Bill Winters
A game of four-ball golf is a form of play either in stroke play or match play that involves partners where two-player compete cooperatively as a side or team. Each player plays their own ball, and the side score of a hole is the lowest score of the two players/partners on that hole. In simple words, four-ball golf is a format in which two partners team up and play together for their team score.
If you ever got the chance to watch Seve Trophy, Solheim Cup tournament, President Cup, and Ryder Cup, then you know about a four-ball golf match. As mentioned earlier, a four-ball golf format is hands down the most famous team play format used in the plays. This format of golf match is pretty popular at the local golf tournament and even at the club level.
Along with the single matches and alternate-shot, a four-ball golf game is pretty standard in any team competition because the concept of this match is quite simple. The success at the four-ball match is a classic example of utilizing the strategy of making the team score good than each partner could on his own.
According to the USGA, the golf rule is that the four-ball play is "a competition that involves competitors that play as partners and each one of them plays his own ball. The least number score of any partner is the score of that hole. In case a partner fails to finish the play of the hole, then there is no penalty for that." The simple definition could be "a match or play in which two golfers play their best ball against the best ball of the other two; golfers." As a matter of fact, you might have heard of this format being referred to as the "Best-Ball."
The other name for a four-ball golf match is best-ball, in which two members of the team play together and score their own ball on every hole. The lowest score by one team player would be counted as the team's result on that hole. This uncomplicated and straightforward format can be used in match and stroke tournaments. They have a similar way of comparing the score, like in individual games.
In contrast to scramble format and alternate-shots, a four-ball match allows the golfers to play their own ball. This feature makes it a popular format for destination courses tournaments because golfers who travel to some prestigious facility mostly like to take part in the course on their own ball.
There is also a difference between the penalties and procedure because of the team aspects. The definition of these differences by USCA is Rule 31 for the stroke play and Rule 30 for the match play.
The matter of scoring in a four-ball match is pretty simple. Four-player creates two teams of two members, and each one of them plays from his own ball. After playing every hole, each team member compares their results, and the least number of the score is considered as the team result. For instance, one of the team members is playing a par-four hole, then Player One takes up to four shots, and Player Two takes a total of five shots.
And because the score by Player One is better than Player Two, the team result would be 4 if the game is a stroke play. In a stroke play, the side gross result for every hole must be recorded on a single scorecard. While in a handicap competition, every player's handicap should also be recorded on the scorecard.
In a match play, the team result of 4 would be compared against the second team-best result to decide which team would win the hole. When the match is concluded, the two-golfer team with the least score wins the game in both situations.
The four-ball strategy is a bit different than a single-player strategy as the only single score is considered or counted, and a certain sum of gambling is not only contemplated but is considered wise.
A classic strategy for one member is to "play safe" and try to guarantee par while the other member "goes for it" attempts to make the least score possible. The team players with a wise and successful strategy are mainly described as "ham-and-egging it," and the 50s score stroke is nothing unusual.
Furthermore, here are some extra strategic actions that you can adopt to score better to win in the four-ball match.
The most crucial strategy involves choosing the right partner for the four-ball match. A golfer who does a lot of birdies most often slips up with a double bogey or, much worse, make the best four-ball partner. If you are adept enough to command par on the holes and your team member squander, you could take advantage of all those birdies your partner made without bearing the blow-up holes.
The order on the tee is also essential consideration to the four-ball strategy. If you let the shorter-hitter and highest-handicap tee off at first, this move will dictate the performance of the more skilled players who play the hole.
In case the highest-handicap golfer pipes a drives along the middle, which can free up the best player to indulge in play the hole and birdie-hunting in a more aggressive way. Or, in case the first golfer strikes their tee shot off-limits, then the better member will automatically know that the team depends upon their ball for that hole and may choose to play easy par or play for safe.
Let the aggressive player go and play his tee off first if your team has a steady, chill golfer and rip-it and grip-it golfer. This ensures that such player swings freely, and in case they miss, then the more conservative golfer can ensure safe getting the team into the fairway.
If you are playing a four-ball match, then you do not have to be afraid or hesitate to employ an aggressive strike upon any risky targets. You both have two shots at the flagstick among the two of you. If you are confident that using a fierce shot or swing will pay off, don't hesitate to go for it.
The most common, popular, and simple golf format is four-ball golf played in some small stage and big stages of the game. Keeping in mind the strategies and rules will assist you a lot in some upcoming four-play matches.
On the 28th of June 2009, ninety-four four-ball teams gathered at the South Korean country club Gunsan Country Club to create a world record of most played holes in twenty-four hours by four-ball teams. A caddie was present with every team with a specially designed scorecard. Ralph Hannah, the Adjudicator of Guinness World Record, was also present who patrolled the course to ensure the rules were followed. Finally, all the teams thrivingly played 6974 holes which means every team played 74 holes averagely.
About Bill Winters
Those who have not yet tried the sport just can’t imagine what is driving these golfers to brave the sun’s heat and go around a course bigger than several football fields combined. It seems like an awful lot of work considering that the ball is quite small that is must be hard to hit, the ground of the course is not flat and, most annoying of all, there are sand traps lying around seemingly bent on preventing a player from finishing the course.
The game of golf may seem like an awful lot to take on when one considers that the ball is quite small, must be hard to hit and carry through windy conditions with little chance for error. The ground course has hillsides which make it challenging enough without adding sand traps who seem bent on preventing players from completing their round!