What is a four ball in golf and is it the same as foursome?

What is a four ball in golf and is it the same as foursome?
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With the Solheim Cup taking place this weekend and the Ryder Cup set to start in Rome on Friday, the world of golf has very much turned its attention to team matchplay. As golf is primarily an individual sport, these types of tournaments don’t happen often so there is plenty of terminology that may seem alien to fans across the world. If you are one of these people then here is everything you need to know.

What is a four ball in golf?

A four ball in golf is a competition format where two teams of two players are paired with each other and play against each other on a hole-by-hole basis. Each player will play their ball and take each shot as normal as they would do in a normal stroke play competition.

At the end of each hole, each team’s lowest scorer will be put forward as the “official” score for that hole. If one team’s lowest score is lower than their opponents’ then that team will gain a point. If the scores are level at the end of a hole then the overall score will remain the same.

The two teams will continue playing until one team is uncatchable (they are more points ahead than there are holes left) or until the end of the 18th hole. In the Ryder Cup, there will eight four ball matches played over two sessions across Friday and Saturday.

What is a foursome in golf?

A foursome is another format that is typically used in team matchplay events. Foursomes is similar to four balls in the sense that the group of four consists of two teams of two players playing against each other.

However, the key difference in foursomes is that only two balls are played with as opposed to four in four balls. Instead of each player playing their own ball as they would do normally, each player takes alternating shots with their teammate. For example, one player will tee off and then their teammate will play the second shot from where the tee shot landed and so on until the ball is in the hole.

Whichever team has gets the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots will gain a point on each hole and they will play until one team is uncatchable over 18 holes. In the Ryder Cup, there will be eight foursome matches played over two sessions across Friday and Saturday.

What other formats are there in the Ryder Cup?

The current Ryder Cup format dictates that across the opening two days, there are four sessions of golf where eight four ball matches and eight foursome matches take place. On the Sunday, there will then be twelve singles matches where every member of both teams will play directly against an opponent. The overall score will then be calculated and the winning team will be awarded the famous trophy.

Which tournaments use foursomes and four balls?

The Ryder Cup, which pits the best twelve male European golfers against the best twelve male American golfers, is the most prestigious and famous tournament to use foursomes and four balls. The Solheim Cup, which is the women’s version of the Ryder Cup, also uses both formats as does the Presidents Cup, which puts the best American male golfers against the best male rest of the world (non-European) players.

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