What is your favourite fourball format?

The Scoop

It's The Niggle, so you know the NCG team will find something to argue about. In this edition, how do they like their fourball in the morning?

James Savage: I hate 4BBB.

Alex Perry: I hate calling it 4BBB. What do you hate about fourball?

James Savage: Hate is strong. But it reduces the team element, it doesn’t really force you to work with your partner, takes longer, allows you to tap out of holes after hitting a poor drive.

Mark Townsend: People go on about it taking too long and is unfair but you couldn’t get a more sociable game.

Steve Carroll: This.

Alex Perry: I like fourball when my teammate is a better player than me. If you’re playing with three people you generally like and you’ve got nowhere else to be, it’s wonderful.

James Savage: Think I’d rather have an individual Stableford within the fourball.

Mark Townsend: There’s a huge team element in it. There are shots flying around, tactics come into it and a plan to ‘hunt in a pair’ and play every hole together which generally means dipping out every three holes.

James Savage: It still allows players to be insular though and effectively play on their own. “I’ll knock this eight footer in for par and you can have a real go at the birdie putt” Then you miss the par putt, miss the birdie putt and halve in 5s.

Mark Townsend: But more of a team game than your individual Stableford.

James Savage: Yes but I’d rather just know I’m on my own from the outset.

Mark Townsend: You need to find a partner you like. Golf is generally too stressful and this let’s you decompress for a few hours but still be competitive.

James Savage: Give me the option to bail out and I’ll generally take it. Put more pressure on me and I’ll attempt to rise to the challenge.

Mark Townsend: Why? It’s not 11-a-side. You’re still part of a two-man team. It does take ages so best to play it when you’ve got half a day to yourself. And you can wear matching hats and everything.

James Savage: Surely you prefer foursomes and greensomes?

Alex Perry: If I played two or three times a week I’d be up for the odd greensomes match. But the amount I play at the moment I want to hit all 80-100 of my shots please. Similarly foursomes. Always get them mixed up. Where’s that glossary at?

Mark Townsend: I like both of those but, again, too anxious. You think greensomes will be a stroll but then you just slip into panic mode. Plus if I played once a week I wouldn’t want that round to be waiting halfway down a fairway and boasting about getting round in two and a half hours.

James Savage: Holing a putt after your partner has found the green – or playing an awesome approach and your mate holes the putt – are among the best feelings in golf.

Alex Perry: Missing a three-footer after your partner has just stiffed it – or pumping one in the woods after they striped one down the middle of the fairway – are among the worst feelings in golf.

James Savage: Swings and roundabouts over the course of a round and that’s what makes it so good. You never know what to expect. I just find fourball very boring and samey as it just seems to always be the format at every golf day or event I attend. It just seems like a nice treat to play something different.

Alex Perry: Which are fine if a one off every now and then for a bit of fun and a change. But you asked for my favourite.

Mark Townsend: I play fourball about three times a year. There are more options when choosing your partner in club competitions. I wouldn’t want two rounds of it in a day, but it would be my first choice. Then an afternoon’s greensomes partnered by someone with a razor-sharp short game.

Steve Carroll: All of these things pale when up against the brilliance of a Texas Scramble.

James Savage:Texas Scramble is more sociable.

Mark Townsend: Texas Scramble is even odder than a medal. Good fun blah blah blah but you’re redundant half the time before you’ve played a shot, the other half you’ve got three people banking on you. It’s too novelty.

Steve Carroll: How are you redundant?

Mark Townsend: When your team-mate off +2 nuts it 320 down the middle.

James Savage: But you’ll probably be able to get your chipper out from there.

Steve Carroll: I probably enjoy a good Texas Scramble more than any other club competition.

James Savage: It’s a good way of getting people who don’t know each other playing together. It would be a good team building exercise.

Mark Townsend: So is paint balling.

Alex Perry: Or bowling.

Mark Townsend: Or building a raft from some disused wood.

Steve Carroll: You think about these things too much.

Mark Townsend: I do. As do you. Feel like it’s a waste of my day a bit. Again good for a pre- or post-tournament bit of fun. I’m a straightforward kind of guy, two to count from three/four does me just fine. No shot clocks, no white belts, no club protectors, no ball retrievers. Just me, my bobble hat and my thoughts.

Steve Carroll: You need some variety in your life.

James Savage: The rules at Mark Townsend GC would be a thing of beauty.

Steve Carroll: Just a massive sign that says “NO!”

James Savage: The members might be a bit samey though.

Alex Perry: I’m very happy on my fence that separates Mark Townsend GC and with Savage & Carroll Country Club.

Mark Townsend: We wouldn’t have any signage at my club, everyone would know what to do. Age range would be 41-58.

Alex Perry: “Welcome to The Mark Townsend Golf Club. You know what to do.”

Steve Carroll: Yes. Turn right around.

Alex Perry: Let’s nail this down then. Favourite fourball format…

Steve Carroll: The only times I’ve ever appeared on an honours board was for greensomes, so I am picking that.

James Savage: Greensomes for me, too.

Alex Perry: Well while you two are racing ahead, Mark and I will be enjoying our day as part of a 4BBB.

Mark Townsend: But going back to my golf club – I would have blocks of times for two, three and fourballs so you can play at a pace that you want. We wouldn’t have slots for the Texas Scramblers.

Alex Perry: Why would you?

Mark Townsend: So James can make some friends and Steve can add to his board wins.

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