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How Does Four Ball in Golf Work?

This article will explain how the Four Ball format in golf works. Golf is an amazing game and there are many ways to enjoy it. One playing format is called Four Ball, also known as Best Ball or Better Ball (4BBB), in which two teams compete against each other. So, how is Four Ball in golf played and how do players keep the score? We’ll answer this question and explain some other benefits of the Four Ball format in this Golfing Gimmicks article.

How to play with the Four Ball format in golf?

How to Play Four Ball In Golf?

So, what is 4BBB? How is Four Ball in golf played? Better Ball is a versatile format that can be adapted for different players’ skill levels. It promotes competition among golfers via teamwork, collaboration, and communication, fine-tuning your golfing skills while improving your personal skill set as well. It’s a popular choice for casual rounds along with competitive tournaments. It is not difficult to understand how Four-Ball works.

What is Four Ball in golf?

Best Ball, Better Ball, or Fourball is played as a team game. Two golfers will form a team and compete against another two-person team. The objective is to complete every hole in as few strokes as possible. Your team’s better score will be counted i.e., if you score lower than your teammate then your score will counted as your team’s score. You can play this game either as stroke play or match play. In stroke play, the total score will determine the winner.

How does 4BBB even Work?

Fourball isn’t complicated at all. It consists of just two teams containing a couple of players each competing against each other. All four players will come with their golf balls, trying to play from the tee to the green and into the hole. At the end of every hole, the lower score between the two teammates is recorded as the team score. For instance, if Player A scores 3 on a hole and Player B scores 4 then the team’s score will be 3 for that score. If the Player B doesn’t play, the score will still be 3 in this case. The team that completes the round with the fewest total strokes wins the match. This is the summary of how Four-Ball in golf works.

But you can always change the rules on how to play Four Ball in golf. 4BBB can be played as stroke play or match play. Here’s how these two variations work:

  • Stroke play: In stroke play, the total number of strokes over the entire round determines who’s the winner.
  • Match play: In match play, the team with the lower score on a specific hole wins it. The team that wins the most holes is declared the victor.

Four Ball in Golf: USGA Rules

We’ve answered this question: “What is Four Ball in golf?” You may have understood the laws of Fourball as well. 4BBB is governed by the USGA’s rules and principles. The 23rd rule of the USGA’s rulebook states some basic laws about how Four Ball works. In simple words:

  • Each player will tee off and choose the best tee shot among them.
  • Both players play their golf balls until they complete that particular hole.
  • If your ball isn’t in play, you can still play your ball but independently on the team’s chosen ball.

Hopefully, you can now understand how 4BBB works. If you still have trouble or doubt about how to play Four Ball in golf then hit up the USGA website and carefully study the rules of this format. Also, we’ve linked a YouTube video at the end of this article where a man recites those very rules for your convenience. Therefore, learn the rules, memorize the guidelines, and realize that it’s a simple strategy. It’s meant to be fun, fostering teamwork and healthy competition.

Why is Better Ball a Great Experience?

How is Four Ball in golf played and enjoyed? The Four-Ball format is very popular among golf experts and offers a wide range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Team Play

The team format of this game fosters camaraderie and a sense of belonging among golfers. It’s a fun way to enjoy golf in social settings.

Enhanced Strategy

The Four Ball format in golf makes every golfer play with their ball independently, allowing for better strategic discussions and shared insights among teammates.

Reduced Pressure

Having a teammate reduces individual pressure, helping you play more freely. You know that your partner can cover for you if you need some help.

Learning Opportunity

Playing Fourball with experienced golfers will give you more experience. So, novice players can learn a lot by trying out Four ball in golf.

Faster Pace

As every team has two players, 4BBB can be played at an accelerated pace. It’s carried out a lot more quickly than individual stroke plays.


Fourball offers variety in scoring and strategy compared to traditional individual play. It makes golfers think not just about their game but also about their teammate’s performance.


Friendly competition with one’s team and against one’s opponents is very healthy. It’ll add an element of challenge and excitement to the game.

Social Interaction

The Four-Ball format leads to improved social interactions. Different teams will gather after the round for post-game discussions or grab a bite after a friendly yet competitive match.


In Four Ball in golf, you can adapt this format for various skill levels, making it suitable for both casual outings among friends and competitive tournaments.

Team Bonding

There’s no sweeter sensation than bonding with your teammate and winning the game together. That’s why you can try out Four-ball with your significant other as well.

In short, Fourball golf is a team-oriented, strategic experience making the elegant game of golf a lot more enjoyable.


Let’s reiterate whatever we’ve learned about the Four Ball format in golf. In this pairs-playing format, you’ll team up with another guy and compete against another two-person team. You two will play with different golf balls. In the end, the team’s score on each hole is the lower of your and your teammate’s scores. The team with the lowest aggregate score wins. That’s how this simple format works, fostering a sense of friendship and collaboration among golfers.

FAQs – Four Balls in Golf

How do I determine my team’s score in 4BBB?

The team’s score on each hole is the lower score of the two players. For instance, if Joe scores a 5 and Don scores a 4 on a hole then the team’s score for that hole will be 4. That’s the great thing about this format i.e., you can always try to score lower than your partner to improve the team’s overall score.

Can I play Four-Ball as both stroke play and match play?

How to play Four Ball in golf both as stroke play and match play? Well, match play involves the two teams competing over a single hole; each hole is won by the team whose member has the lowest score. In other words, you can play Fourball as both stroke play and match play. It just depends on the rules of the competition.

Can I use handicapping in Fourball competitions in 2024?

Handicaps have been used since the late 17th century to level the playing field for golfers. We know that a low handicap score indicates a better player. When players of different skills team up, handicap strokes can be applied accordingly to make Four Ball fairer. Some experts have pointed out some level of unfairness in this format, however.

What are some famous 4BBB tournaments in golf?

Some international golf competitions featuring Four-Ball matches include the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. These events showcase the best-playing, top-rated golfing wunderkinder from all over the U.S. and Europe (Ryder Cup) and the U.S. and international players (Presidents Cup). One day, even you can play in these tournaments.

What is Four Ball in golf as compared to Foursome?

Don’t confuse 4BBB with foursomes, also known as alternate shots, in which a two-man team will play with a single golf ball, both members taking turns teeing off on every hole. However, variations do exist in this format as well; some foursome variations will include the Four-Ball strategy to make the game more interesting.

Can individual players in a Four Ball team use different types of golf balls?

The PGA Tour uses a one-ball rule, which means players can only use one specific brand and model of ball during a round. The penalty for using a different model is two strokes per hole that the ball is used, maximum of eight strokes.

How is the score calculated in a Four Ball match?

In golf, a four-ball match is a team-based format where two players compete as a side. Each player plays their own ball and the team’s score on each hole is the lower of the two players’ scores. The objective is to win as many holes as possible, and the team that wins the most holes is the winner of the match.

What are some strategies for success in a Four Ball match?

Choose your playing partner carefully. A good partner might make a lot of birdies, but not too many double-bogies or worse. With putting, you should be aggressive and try to get the ball to the hole. You can also give your group a good look at the break and speed of the putt. You can play conservatively and swing for the fences. Keep the ball in play and let your opponent defeat themselves by hitting the ball into the net or outside the court. Also, just try to ignore your opponent.

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