What is your favourite fourball format?
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.
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.