What are Greensomes and Foursomes?

What are Greensomes and Foursomes?

What are Greensomes and Foursomes?

These are two golf game formats in which four players are divided into two separate teams and compete against each other. The difference between the formats comes down to how you play your shots.


Players are normally organised into groups of four, split into two teams of two. On each hole, all four players hit a drive. Each team can then choose which of their two drives they would like to play and the other ball is picked up. The player whose drive is not being used hits the second shot, and the pair takes it in turns to hit the ball until it is in the hole.

This format means that if you can hit solid, safe drives into the fairway most of the time, your partner is free to be aggressive and take chances, as you know that their drive will only be needed if it is good. Equally, if one of you are driving the ball a lot better than the other, that drive can be used on every hole if necessary.


Again, players will be in pairs. This time, only one player from each pair hits a drive. You have to take it in turns to drive, so you might tee off on the odd-numbered holes, and your partner will do so on the even-numbered holes. After this, you simply take turns to hit the ball until the hole is completed. This format can be a testing one for any friendships that may have existed prior to the round, as, every time you hit a bad shot, your partner is the one who has to extricate the team from any trouble. Safety and accuracy are important, and steadier players will tend to thrive.

Which format is best?

Foursomes is an extremely testing format to play, as there are no second chances if you makeĀ a mistake. A group of lower handicappers may enjoy the challenge, but pairs of higher handicappers may fall out! Another drawback of this format is that bigger hitters may feel constrained to be cautious, to avoid invoking their partner’s wrath, and may enjoy themselves less. Greensomes shares many of the characteristics of foursomes, but, by allowing both players to drive, it gives some freedom to more aggressive players. This means that Greensomes is often more fun for social competitions and golf days. Foursomes may be better kept for more serious events.

Want to try a twist?

If you want to add a Machiavellian edge to proceedings, there is a lesser-known version of greensomes called ‘Gruesomes’. This is just like greensomes, except that the other team chooses which of your two drives will be played. This is even harsher than foursomes, as higher handicappers may spend much of the day in the trees, but can be fun if played with the right attitude!


If you are running an event with a number of high handicap players, then a Greensome might be the better choice. If you want to make it more challenging, a Foursome will give you what you are looking for.

Which of these formats do you prefer? Add a comment below.

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