How to Play Best Ball

By Herm Otto

Best ball is a form of competitive golf in which two or more players (partners) play a match against two or more other players. Each team or pair of partners is called a side. This article describes the basics of best-ball match play.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Determine each side (pair or team) of partners.
Step 2
Determine the order of play for each side, at the discretion of each side.
Step 3
Play each player's ball from the tee through the green to hole-out according to the USGA's "Rules of Golf" for stroke play (also called medal play) and Rule 30-3.
Step 4
Calculate each player's individual score for the hole.
Step 5
Record the lowest individual score of each side for that hole. If one player has picked up, the remaining individual score(s) is considered in determining the score for that side for that hole.
Step 6
Total the hole scores for each side for all holes played to determine the side's score for the round. The lower score wins the match.

Tips & Warnings

Sides can be balanced by equalizing the total of each side's individual handicaps. For example, if a side is a pair of players, a 15+25=40 side is considered equal to a 10+30=40 side. If a side is four players, a 5+15+20+25=65 side is considered equal to a 2+13+15+35=65 side. When a player is disqualified for a hole because of a breach of the rules, the remaining player(s) on that side continues to play for the side without disqualification. One player can represent a side for all or any part of a best-ball match. Pick up your ball if your in-progress score for a hole has no chance of bettering your partner's or partners' score. This accelerates the pace of play.
Sides can be balanced by equalizing the total of each side's individual handicaps. For example, if a side is a pair of players, a 15+25=40 side is considered equal to a 10+30=40 side. If a side is four players, a 5+15+20+25=65 side is considered equal to a 2+13+15+35=65 side.
When a player is disqualified for a hole because of a breach of the rules, the remaining player(s) on that side continues to play for the side without disqualification.
One player can represent a side for all or any part of a best-ball match. Pick up your ball if your in-progress score for a hole has no chance of bettering your partner's or partners' score. This accelerates the pace of play.
Carefully read Rule 30-3 before playing a best-ball match. There are specific rules within this rule that pertain to breaches that result in disqualification of a player or a side and to the effects of penalties on a player or a side.

About The Author

Herm Otto is an architect and was a university instructor for over 25 years. He is also an avid golfer who began golfing 10 years ago. As a Demand Studios writer, Otto writes golf and travel articles for GolfLink. He now resides in Arizona.

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