Best Ball Strategy in Golf

When it comes to golf, there are various formats and strategies that players can employ to enhance their chances of success. One of the most popular and effective strategies in golf is the “Best Ball” strategy. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the Best Ball strategy, exploring what it is, how it works, and offering valuable tips to help you and your team master this winning approach on the golf course.

Rangefinder on Discount

Understanding Best Ball

What is Best Ball?

Best Ball, also known as Four-Ball or Better Ball, is a golf format that involves two or more players forming a team. Each player on the team plays their own ball throughout the round. However, the team only records the lowest score among its members on each hole. In other words, it’s like having multiple opportunities to make the best shot and capitalize on your team’s strengths.

Why Choose Best Ball?

Best Ball is a popular choice for team tournaments and friendly matches for several reasons:

  1. Fosters Teamwork: Best Ball encourages collaboration and teamwork among team members. It’s not just about individual performance; it’s about the collective effort to achieve the lowest score on each hole.
  2. Reduces Pressure: Since you’re not solely reliant on your own performance, there’s less pressure on each player. Mistakes can be compensated for by your teammates’ strong play.
  3. Fast-Paced: Best Ball can be played at a quicker pace compared to other formats, making it an ideal choice for tournaments with time constraints.

Strategies for Success

To master the Best Ball strategy in golf, consider the following key strategies:

1. Capitalize on Strengths

Identify each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. Assign roles accordingly. For example, if one player excels at driving while another has a strong short game, strategize so that the long hitter takes the tee shots on par 4s and 5s, while the short game specialist handles the approaches and putting.

2. Risk Management

In Best Ball, there’s room for risk-taking, but it should be calculated. If a player has a difficult shot but the team already has a good score on the hole, it may be better to play conservatively and avoid unnecessary risks.

3. Communication is Key

Effective communication is vital in Best Ball. Discuss strategy before each shot, including club selection, intended landing areas, and putting reads. Clear and open communication helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

4. Maintain Positivity

Golf can be mentally challenging, and a positive attitude is crucial. Encourage your teammates, stay focused on the current shot, and avoid dwelling on mistakes. Remember, it’s the best score that counts, not the worst.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To succeed in Best Ball, it’s essential to steer clear of common pitfalls:

1. Neglecting Team Chemistry

A team that lacks chemistry is less likely to perform well. Spend time practicing and playing together to build trust and understanding among team members.

2. Overconfidence

Overconfidence can lead to reckless decisions. Even if your team is leading, continue to play smart and make decisions based on the situation.

3. Poor Time Management

Best Ball can be fast-paced, so it’s crucial to manage your time wisely. Avoid excessive delays and keep pace with the group ahead to ensure a smooth round.

Tips for a Successful Best Ball Round

In addition to the strategies discussed earlier, here are some more tips to help you excel in Best Ball golf:

5. Know the Rules

Understanding the rules specific to Best Ball is crucial. Familiarize yourself with how ties are handled, and make sure your team knows the penalty rules in case of infractions. This knowledge can prevent costly mistakes during a round.

6. Embrace Team Spirit

Celebrate your teammates’ successes. When a teammate makes an excellent shot or sinks a crucial putt, show your appreciation. Positive reinforcement can boost team morale and performance.

7. Adapt to Course Conditions

Weather and course conditions can change during a round. Stay adaptable and be prepared to adjust your strategy based on factors like wind direction, greens speed, and course layout.

8. Practice Together

Practicing as a team is essential to understanding each other’s playing styles and tendencies. Spend time on the driving range, practice greens, and even play practice rounds together to fine-tune your teamwork.

Sample Best Ball Scenario

Let’s walk through a hypothetical Best Ball scenario to illustrate how the strategy works:

Hole 1: Par 4

  • Player A hits a solid drive down the middle of the fairway.
  • Player B’s drive goes into the rough.
  • Player A’s approach shot lands on the green, 15 feet from the hole.
  • Player B’s second shot also lands on the green but is 30 feet from the hole.
  • Player A makes a birdie putt.
  • Player B misses the birdie putt but makes a par.

In this scenario, the team records Player A’s birdie as the score for the hole, as it is the lowest score among the team members. This puts the team at 1 under par for the hole.

Best Ball Variations

Best Ball can be adapted to various formats, including:

1. Four-Ball Stroke Play

In this variation, each player on a two-player team plays their ball, and the lower score on each hole counts for the team’s score. This is a common format in professional team events like the Ryder Cup.

2. Texas Scramble

Similar to Best Ball, a Texas Scramble involves a team of players. However, in a Texas Scramble, each player hits their shot, and the team selects the best shot to play from for the next shot. This continues until the hole is completed.

3. Chapman System

The Chapman System is a two-person Best Ball format where teammates swap balls after their tee shots. They then select the best ball and alternate shots from there until the hole is completed.

Player Pairings

Player 1Player 2HandicapPreferred TeeStrategy

Hole Strategies

Hole No.ParPlayer 1Player 2ScoreStrategy

Club Selection

Hole No.Player 1Player 2Club 1Club 2Club 3


Hole No.ParPlayer 1Player 2Total Score
14JohnSarah3+3 = 6
25MikeEmily4+4 = 8
33DavidLisa2+3 = 5
44ChrisMegan3+4 = 7
53MarkEmma2+2 = 4
64KevinLaura5+4 = 9
75SteveOlivia4+4 = 8
83BrianJessica2+3 = 5
94AlanSophia3+4 = 7
104TomAva4+4 = 8

Best Ball Results

Hole No.Best Ball ScoreStrategy


The Best Ball strategy in golf is an exciting and rewarding way to enjoy the game while playing as part of a team. Whether you’re competing in a tournament or having a friendly match with friends, mastering Best Ball requires teamwork, effective communication, and a good understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses.

By following the strategies and tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of Best Ball golf and have a fantastic time on the course. So, gather your team, practice together, and put your newfound knowledge to the test. With the right approach and a dash of team spirit, you’ll be on your way to Best Ball success in no time!

Best Ball Strategy in Golf


  • Ryan Spino

    Ryan Spino, our Executive Editor since January 2022, has been instrumental in shaping The Golf Mine. His vision, backed by a Golf Management MBA and extensive editorial expertise, has expanded our coverage, ensuring that every article upholds our commitment to quality and accuracy in the golfing realm.

Leave a Comment