The advantages of Foursomes golf  

Ivan Morris

Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell were paired up again for the second round of foursomes. (Photo; Niall O'Shea / Irish Golfer)

There’s no doubt that slow play is an ongoing concern, and not just in elite events. In many ways, club golf is as bad (for slow play) as the professional game. Golfers seem to prefer playing in fourballs with everyone insisting on holing out. It is so slow, especially in the cold winter months.

I don’t understand why we don’t play more alternate shot golf at club level in the winter. So many national tournaments are played in the format that you would think that golfers would be more willing to try Foursomes, and in the process come to enjoy it? After all, alternate shots golf retains the sociability of playing in a four, while playing as quickly as a two.

Two players playing the same ball alternately strikes me as not much different from doubles tennis but for reasons that escape me, it isn’t popular. Mention playing a Foursomes match often results in howls of disagreement. I never understand why?


My favourite, national golf competition was the Barton Shield. It seems that nowadays, everyone wants to hit every shot even when ‘out of the hole’ with no chance of registering a Stableford point. The trouble with foursomes, someone once said, “is there isn’t enough hitting.”

But, the joy of dovetailing perfectly with a partner and moving along briskly appeals to me. When my partner went to the tee to drive off while I waited down the fairway for the ball to arrive, was one of golf’s pleasures to me – especially when playing with Vincent Nevin who rarely missed a fairway. We mastered the art of two golfers combining as if we were one.

One reason why the Ryder, Walker, Curtis and Solheim Cups are such fun to watch are the team matches. Players who normally have very little concern in what their peers are doing have to become interested. Strategy is involved. A Foursomes partnership requires more thought than simply pairing a long hitter with a short-game expert or, putting two players of similar styles together.

In my opinion, the players emotional compatibility is more important. The individual characters of the two players have to gel (like a marriage) Opposites attract and can work very well. Does one talk too much, the other too little? Do they play at approximately the same speed? Do they speak the same language, literally and metaphorically? Do they use the same make of ball? A lot to consider but so much fun.

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4 responses to “The advantages of Foursomes golf  ”

  1. Edmond Wall avatar
    Edmond Wall

    I recently had the good fortune to play 18 holes in Muirfield with a member who informed me that most if not all the members competitions there were foursomes.

  2. Déaglán Ó Ceallaigh avatar
    Déaglán Ó Ceallaigh

    Foresomes – A form of golf where you get to play your partner’s bad shot.

  3. kevin maguire avatar
    kevin maguire

    I hope you are not using Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup or Walker Cup as an example for foursomes golf where it takes them 4 hours plus to get around…4 ball is the only way to go with your friends and plenty of craic.

  4. John Synnott avatar
    John Synnott

    Foursomes is not the answer as you are depending on someone else. Golf to me is mainly an individual sport with team events and fourballs an alternative but should never take over from singles.

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