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fourball vs foursome golf

Let’s settle the foursomes and fourballs debate!

The reassurance of fourballs, or the knife-edge nature of foursomes? NCG’s editorial team debate which of golf’s great formats is superior…

 

We are about to be treated to two weeks of exhilarating fourball and foursomes golf with the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup.

Many golf fans would agree that match play is the best form of the game, the sphere where all the drama and U-turns happen.

At the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup, the best players from Europe and America will battle it out in a series of foursomes and fourball matches.

Club golfers up and down the country also compete in these formats, but occasionally, one or the other doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy.

Do you want to just play your own ball in fourball? Or do you enjoy the dynamic, strategic nature of foursomes?

NCG’s Matt Chivers and Steve Carroll wanted to have a verbal sparring session on the subject, and they did…

Which format is better?

‘Most golfers aren’t good enough for that type of pressure. Don’t flatter yourselves

I really hate foursomes, writes Matt Chivers. When family members ask if I want a game next weekend, but we have to play foursomes, I immediately feel like making other plans.

I have played a fair amount of alternate shot at Royal Cinque Ports, and various other venues on the Southeast coast where I’m from, and I don’t enjoy it.

I don’t want someone relying on me, and internally being annoyed with me, after I hit a wayward drive or miss a short putt. I’m already boiling inside, so I don’t need another mouth breathing down my neck.

When I’ve played foursomes, I remain calm and unfazed when my partner puts me in a bad spot because I’ll no doubt return the favour at some point. But what are we doing then?

I remember turning down a game at Royal St. George’s and passing it on to my brother when I realised we’d be playing foursomes – the disdain is real.

I want to track how well I play and ideally, shoot an individual score. I get that it primarily speeds up play, which I am fully behind, but I’d rather play well than quickly (preferably both).

Some people enjoy the responsibility and the onus of foursomes, and in my view, pretend to thrive from it when really, they just want to play 18 holes quicker than anywhere else.

It might be a “do or die” format to some, but most golfers aren’t good enough for that type of pressure. Don’t flatter yourselves.

fourball vs foursome golf

It’s a thinker’s game, too. Maybe that’s why Matt hates it so much

What’s the beef? asks Steve Carroll. I really don’t know how anyone can dislike foursomes. It’s the purest form of golf.

It’s a thinker’s game, too. Maybe that’s why Matt hates it so much.

You can’t just stand up and smash it. I love the strategy. Which ball are we using? Who is teeing up on the odd and even holes?

Which holes suit you, and which suit me? Where do you want me to leave you?

There is ultimate accountability in foursomes. It is do or die. If you shank it, you’re going to pay for it.

Only the weak get second chances. And never apologise. A well-crafted score at foursomes always feels like an achievement.

Spare me your complaints about only hitting half the shots and embrace the challenge.

Go to any of the really top clubs in GB&I and try and tee up fourballs and see what happens to you. It will probably be an escort to the car park.

For the likes of Royal St George’s, Royal West Norfolk, and (yes!) even Matt’s home club of Royal Cinque Ports, foursomes play is bread and butter.

It’s golf’s ultimate pairing, and I love it!

What is the difference? Foursome vs fourball golf

Foursomes is also known as alternate shot. In a team of two players, one player tees off on the odd holes and the other tees off on the even holes.

Once one player tees off, the other player hits the next shot and so on.

Fourballs is a team of two players playing their own ball and in a match play situation, the best score from that pair counts on the hole.

This is the difference between foursomes and fourball golf – What side do you take in the fourball vs foursome golf debate? Tell us on X, formerly Twitter!

fourball vs foursome golf

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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