What Is 3 Ball Better Ball In Golf?

3 Ball Better Ball In Golf

3 ball better ball in golf is a tournament style in which teams of three golfers compete against other teams of three. For each hole, the best score among the team of three is counted as that team’s score for that hole. At the end of the round the team with the lowest overall score is the winner.

Better ball style tournaments are common within the golf community, but are typically played with only two players. Adding a third ball adds a third player to each team and more opportunities for a team to get a lower score.

3 Ball Better Ball Rules

On every hole, all three members of the team play the hole as normal; however, only the best score on the team counts. This means the other two player’s performance on a singular hole does not matter. At the end of the 18 holes, the team adds up their total score, and the team with the lowest combined score in the tournament is deemed the winner. This style of format is also quite popular in teams of four golfers.

3 Ball Better Ball Example

In 3 ball better ball, all three teammates take their tee shots. After each person has taken their tee shots, they will continue to play their own ball for each successive shot, as they would in regular stroke play. Once all three teammates have successfully put their ball in the hole, they will record the score of the teammate with the lowest amount of strokes. The team repeats this process at each hole until the round is over. In the end, all of the recorded scores are added together to indicate the teams final score.


Golfers who carry a handicap may apply strokes in a 3 ball better ball competitions to level the playing field. Each player should apply their handicap to their final score. The final score will be determined by the difference in handicaps between players on opposing teams. For instance, if a 10-handicap is playing a 5-handicap, the 10-handicap will receive 5 handicap strokes to apply on the 5 hardest holes.