What Is 4 Ball Format In Golf?
A four ball formatted match is one of the most common match play formats in a golf tournament. It involves four golfers who play against each other in pairs, two on one team and two on the other. The basic rules of match play are typically used in this format, with whatever team scores the lowest winning each respective hole, but stroke play can also be used. However, different from other formats, the 4 ball format involves each player playing their own ball throughout the round instead of alternating shots or any other type of format. Since each player plays their own ball, it is also referred to as “best ball” as well as four ball.
Strategy of Four Ball
A four ball match plays out a lot differently than other forms of match play, even though the scoring is ultimately not much different. Since each player plays their own ball, there is usually a lot more aggressive play as one player can make up for other mistakes if need be. Most of this strategy starts on the tee, with one player putting their ball in play normally so the other can take a more aggressive shot. This type of action occurs throughout the round and gives four ball matches a certain flair that other formats don’t have.
The opponent’s abilities can also be analyzed more carefully in this format. As the match goes on, a team can force the other team to take more aggressive shots that they aren’t prepared for to keep up on the scorecard.
Four Ball Rules
- Four Ball can be played in either match-play or stroke play format.
- Two players are on the same side.
- Each player on a side uses their own ball (not the same ball like in foursomes).
- The lowest score of the partners is used as the side’s score on the hole.
- The scorecard must show clearly the score of each partner on each hole.
- Partners can choose who goes first based on their preference.
- Partners can share their clubs as long as the total 14 clubs or less.
- Players on the same side are allowed to mark the spot of the ball, lift, and replace each other’s ball.
- Partners and their caddies are allowed to help each other and offer advice.
- Penalties may be given to one partner or both partners based on the type of penalty.
- Penalty strokes only apply to the offending player.
- A wrong ball penalty only applies to the offending partner.
- If one player gets disqualified, both partners are disqualified.
Other Names for 4 Ball Format
- Four Ball
- Best Ball
- Better Ball
- Two Ball Best Ball