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Foursomes vs. four-ball: Match-play format variations, defined

The Ryder Cup makes use of two distinctive staff codecs in foursomes and four-ball.

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After two years of ready, the Ryder Cup is lastly upon us. Marco Simone Golf Membership is the venue this yr, and the stakes are as excessive as ever. The Individuals need to break a 30-year drought throughout the pond, whereas the Europeans are hoping to proceed their home-field dominance with a crop of latest younger stars. It guarantees to be an thrilling weekend in Rome.

When the matches kick off on Friday morning, the duos for every staff might be using a four-ball format. And after they return for the afternoon session, they’ll be competing within the foursomes format. That is typical of staff competitions just like the Ryder Cup (and Solheim Cup), however the nuances of every format should be unfamiliar.

Foursomes and four-ball might need comparable names, however they’re distinctly totally different video games. And with the codecs coming to the forefront this week in Italy, it’s necessary to know the variations. Watch the video above, or learn under for a short rundown of what makes every format distinctive.


Foursomes is a type of staff match or stroke play lined beneath Rule 22 within the Guidelines of Golf.

In line with the Guidelines of Golf, “(Foursomes is) a type of match play or stroke play the place you and a companion compete as a aspect by enjoying one ball in alternating order on every gap. You and your companion should alternate in teeing off to begin every gap.”

This format is also referred to as alternate shot and has been a little bit of a specialty for the Europeans over time with a 62½-49½ lead since 1993.


4-ball can also be a type of staff match or stroke play, and it’s lined beneath Rule 23.

In line with the Guidelines of Golf, “4-ball is a type of play (in both match play or stroke play) involving companions the place you and your companion compete collectively as a aspect, with every of you enjoying your personal ball, and your aspect’s rating for a gap is the decrease rating of the 2 of you on that gap.”

This format is also referred to as finest ball or low ball.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for the place he spends his days running a blog, producing and enhancing. Previous to becoming a member of the staff at GOLF, he attended the College of Texas adopted by stops with the Texas Golf Affiliation, Workforce USA, the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all issues instruction and covers newbie and ladies’s golf. He will be reached at



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