What is the difference between foursomes and greensomes?
The key difference between foursomes and greensomes comes down who plays the tee shots. Both formats are played in teams of two, and this format can be applied to strokeplay or matchplay, medal or Stableford.
In foursomes the two players on the team play one ball between them and play alternate shots with it – the format is also known in some parts of the golfing world as Alternate Shot for fairly logical reasons. One player tees off the odd-numbered holes and the other on the even-numbered ones, and they play shots alternatively throughout the hole.
In greensomes both players in the team tee off with their own ball and then the players on the team decide after these drives have been played which of the balls they will continue playing. The format then becomes alternate shot, so whoever hits the tee shot that is being used, the other playing member has to play the second shot.
Advantages of foursomes
Foursomes is a two-ball game. So if your club has tee-time slots when only two balls are allowed, but four of you want to play together at that time, this is the perfect solution.
Played properly, foursomes should also make for a quick round. The player not teeing off should walk down the side of the fairway to about the length they expect their partner’s drive to end up. This speeds up play, as not only do the two other players, in effect, act as a forecaddies in locating the drives, they are also in position to play their team’s second shot promptly.
Strategy and tactics
Opinions differ as to the ideal partnership. Some believe that pairs of golfers with similar games work best, especially on a course that these players are familiar with, such as their club one. That way they will be playing into greens from the same sort of lengths and angles that they normally would.
Others will say that divergent games are the best as, with clever strategy, you can aim to get some of the best of both worlds. For example, if one players fades the ball and the other draws it, careful planning of who plays where on the doglegs may bring an advantage. Or if one player’s strength is in approach play, and the other’s…