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Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie holes the winning singles putt at the 2004 Ryder Cup

As well as playing against someone else, there are ways in which you can involve four people in a game of golf.

The Ryder Cup, held every two years, shows how pairing up can produce some exciting matches and real camaraderie.

It is played in a matchplay format but feature singles, foursomes and fourballs.


Singles golf is played as a match between two people.

The system of 'handicapping' means players of different abilities can compete equally.

There are several ways of scoring - strokeplay, matchplay or stableford.


This is a popular form of team golf where two pairs of two people compete against each other using only one ball per team.

Each partner takes turns to tee off at alternate holes and each partner takes alternate shots during each hole.

In foursomes you need consistency. You need to keep the ball in play and avoid making mistakes.

Penalty strokes do not interfere with the natural order of play. If you play out of turn in matchplay, you lose the hole.

In strokeplay it means two shots must be added to your score for that hole.


Another form of team golf where two pairs compete against each other.

Paul Casey and David Howell
Paul Casey and David Howell formed a good partnership at the 2004 Ryder Cup

Fourballs are exactly that. Each player has one ball and all four play the hole at the same time.

Whichever player takes the least shots, wins the hole for their team.

Because each team has two players going for the hole, players can afford to gamble as they look to take a winning advantage and make a birdie.

Some clubs only allow fourballs to play at quieter times as they take longer to complete a round, so check before you set off.

Having a good relationship with other players is crucial, particularly in foursomes and fourballs matches.

Partners need to stick together even if one of them is playing badly.

In big competitions, professionals say that "sorry" is a word that is hardly ever used.


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