Four-player best ball is a variety of golf in which all four players in a group are working together to achieve the best possible score. Since only the best individual score counts for each hole, a squad has the ability to shoot a much lower round than they would on their own.
Best Ball Basics
When playing as a foursome in a best ball event, all four players in a group are working together as part of a team. Each player tees off and plays the hole in the order of the team’s choosing, with each player completing the hole with their own ball. At the end of the hole, only the best score handed in by any player on the hole is counted as the team’s score. If, for example, Team A plays a hole and the players shoot 3, 5, 5 and 6, respectively, and Team B has all four players with a score of 4, Team A would have the better score for the hole, 3 to Team B’s 4, even though A had 19 total strokes to B’s 16.
When playing shots in a normal round of golf, the order off the tee is determined by the scores of the players on the previous holes, and all future shots are determined by the player farthest from the hole. In best ball, however, as all four players are working together, the team may select the order of the shot for all four players as they see fit. Often, teams will elect to have at least one player who is consistent play conservatively. That way they can be relied on to score decently on each hole. Another player may be asked to play more aggressively. When the aggressive players risks pay off, their lower scores can be used, and holes where they struggle allow the consistent players to prevent the team from having to hand in a high score.
A team is not punished for a minor violation of the rules by an individual on the team that affects the score on one hole. For example, in the event that a player on a team accidentally plays the ball from an illegal position, that player is disqualified for the hole and cannot be counted on to be used as the team’s score for that hole. But the team can still submit a score for the hole. The team as a whole is penalized, however, for major rules violations that affect an entire round, such as a player playing with too many clubs in the bag. In instances such as this, the team’s final score is assessed a penalty equal to the penalty assessed to an individual in a normal round for the same infraction.