Four ball is a type of match play that golfers can engage in that pits a pair of players against another twosome. It is one of the formats employed during the Ryder Cup competition between the United States and Europe every other year and is a popular game played during various club championships, as well as in golf leagues and tournaments. The concept of four ball is not complex, but there are certain strategies that can be employed to increase your sides chances of winning.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Divide four players into two teams. Tee off in any order that is decided on beforehand. This order can change during the course of the match and be decided by such things as which team won the previous hole or which player scored best on the previous hole.
Remember that four ball is different from a best ball event. In best ball, two partners hit and then they play their next shot from where the best of the two shots lies. In four ball, both players simply play their own ball the entire hole, trying to score as low as possible. The team with the lowest score of the four on the hole wins the hole; if there is a tie for lowest score on the hole then the hole is halved, with nobody winning it.
Let your partner hit from the fairway first on par four holes, if you have a better shot to the green. In four ball, a hole is won when a player from one team has a lower score on the hole than either player from the opposing side. This means that on approach shots, you can let a partner with a bad lie or one who is further from the flag hit before you, allowing you to see what you need to accomplish after his or her ball lands. This is within the rules.
Have your partner try to hit a long tee shot every time if your forte is accuracy, especially if you are ahead. In four ball, as long as one of the partners is an accurate driver off the tee, it is worth the gamble to let the other player attempt to hit the ball as far as possible once your team has the lead. This can put added pressure on the opponent as they struggle to catch up if your partner can get some of those long drives in the fairway.
Try not to panic or press if you fall behind early. Four ball played over 18 holes will allow you many opportunities to win a hole. Avoid trying to match the other team's length off the tee if this is their strong suit and just try to keep the ball in the fairway and set yourself up for easy approach shots to the green.