Fourball Better Ball

Fourball better ball, one of the most well known golf formats. But what is it and what are the rules? 



What is Fourball Better Ball? 

Put simply, it's a teams format where each golfer plays their own ball and the lowest score from your team of two provides the score for that hole. This format is sometimes just known as 'Four ball'. 

You can use this format for Matchplay or Stroke play. A good example of this would be in the Ryder/Solheim cups. 

Each team only needs to record the better score on the card and they must ensure they show which player it was. If handicaps count then make sure you bare the stroke index in mind as one of you may have a shot.  

Under the World Handicap System each player gets 85% of their handicap for Stroke play or 90% if it's Matchplay


How to win Fourball Better Ball? 

Its fairly straightforward, in stroke play the lowest total score net or gross (depending on the format) wins. With Matchplay you score the same way you do in the singles format. 

A few little pointers to consider which may help you get that win...

In Fourball Better Ball it doesn't matter which order you and your partner play your shots, therefore if you find yourself in a position where you're putting for a par from 3 feet, but your partner has a birdie putt from 10 feet, you should take your putt first. 


Well if you successfully hole your putt it gives your partner a free hit for the birdie knowing that if they miss, they don't need the par. It takes that bit of pressure off and may mean they can attack the shot more. 

You can take a similar approach off the tee. You may have a short par 4 that one of you can reach with a driver. If that's the case then the other player should play it safe and tee off first. If they end up in a good position it gives the big hitter a good chance to go for the green. 

Consider this method wherever you can whether it be your tee shots or when approaching the green. 



Fourball Better Ball tactics? 

Although there's no right way to play, this writer generally feels that you should have one player playing aggressively, and the other conservatively. There's little point you both scoring the same on a hole so you may as well have one player taking a 'birdie or bust' approach. 

In Matchplay this approach should change a little depending on the score. At the start you should have one conservative and one aggressive player. If you're winning the match then you may be better both playing conservatively. If you're losing then at some stage you should both play aggressively. The decision as to when you change your approach needs to be decided between the two of you at the time. 

There's also an argument to say you should still have at least one aggressive player even if winning to ensure your opponents can't come back into the match.


See other popular articles:

What is a shotgun start in golf?

What is foursomes in golf?

What is greensomes golf?


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