What is greensomes and how do you play it? Here's what you need to know about this fun golf format

Greensomes is a pairs golf format and variation of foursomes where all players get to tee off on every hole.

Also known as ‘Scotch Foursomes’, greensomes sees two players form a team to play the same ball on each hole using alternate shots – but with a slight twist.

That’s because unlike in foursomes, both players tee off on every hole, with the best shot then chosen and played using the alternate shot format.

How to play

Four players are divided into two teams consisting of pairs. All golfers tee off on every hole, with each pair then electing which of their two balls they would then like to play for the second shot.

Once decided, the other ball is picked up (if found of course) and the golfer whose tee shot is not being used must hit their team’s second shot. Each pair then takes it in turns to play a shot until the ball is eventually in the hole.

Like in foursomes, greensomes can be played using match play or stroke play format. In match play, the team that completes each hole in the fewest shots wins the hole. In stroke play, the team that completes all 18 holes in the fewest total strokes is the winner.

Playing with handicaps

As per R&A recommendations, the handicap allowance for greensomes is 60% of the lowest handicap combined with 40% of the highest handicap.

For example: Team A consists of a 6 handicapper and an 18 handicapper, meaning their greensomes handicap would be 11: (6 x 0.6) + (18 x 0.4) = 3.6 + 7.2 = 10.8, rounded up to 11.

In match play greensomes, the difference between the calculated allowances of each pair determines how many shots are given.

For example: Team A plays against Team B, whose handicaps are 5 and 15. Team B therefore give Team A 2 shots in the match:

Team A: (6 x 0.6) + (18 x 0.4) = 3.6 + 7.2 = 10.8, rounded up to 11

Team B: (5 x 0.6) + (15 x 0.4) = 3 + 6 = 9 

Overall, greensomes allows for much better scoring than normal foursomes, as each team always has two chances of hitting a decent drive on every hole. For many, this makes the format much more fun and stress free, especially if your partner is having a good day off the tee!

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