New Team Format

New Team Format

This week marks the first time since 1981 that professional golf will recognize a team event as an official win.

At TPC Louisiana this week, there will be 80 teams playing two different formats.  For rounds one and three, teams will play foursomes stroke play and for rounds two and four they will play four-ball stroke play.

Foursomes Format or commonly known as “Alternate Shot”


There are several modified versions of alternate shot that could be played at your home club or at a State Championship. However, this week for rounds 1 and 3, teams will play a “pure” alternate shot.  There will be four players per group (two teams) and each team playing (one) golf ball.  Each team will decide which player will tee off from the odd holes and which player will tee off the even holes.  Players will play their golf ball alternately into the hole.

A common question about this format is, will penalty strokes affect the order of play?  The answer is no.  Penalty shots do not affect the order of play. If a player hits a shot into a water hazard his partner must drop a ball and play the next stroke.

Another interesting part of this format is, what happens if the team plays out of turn?  If this happens, the team would be penalized two strokes and must correct the error prior to playing from the next teeing ground or the team will be disqualified.

For more interesting information on foursomes checkout Rule 29.

Four-Ball Format or more commonly known as “Best-Ball”


This format is played every weekend at your home club, and State & Regional Golf Associations have hundreds of these types of competitions each year.  Once again, we have four players per group (two teams), but in this format each player is playing his own golf ball and each team will take the best score for the hole.  There will be a few interesting Rules scenarios to look out for this week.

First, this format allows the team furthest from the hole to play first in whatever order the team feels is best. Generally, a team will exercise this right for strategic reasons.  However, in doing so, the side must not unduly delay play.  (See Decision 31-4/2)

Secondly, Players could breach a Rule of Golf, which the penalty is disqualification, but instead of being disqualified from the competition, the player would only be disqualified from that hole.  Here’s an example… A player plays a wrong ball and doesn’t correct their error before teeing off the next teeing ground.

Lastly there is a misconception on how this format is scored.  Question: Can a team record only the team’s best score for each hole?  The answer is no.  Each score per hole needs to be individually identifiable.  Which means, the Committee needs to know if player A or player B (on the team) scored 4 on the first hole.  If the score was recorded by player B and he didn’t finish the first hole or scored higher than a 4 and the team returns the score card to the Committee, the team signed for a score lower than they actually scored and the team would be disqualified.

For more interesting rules on Four-Ball Stroke Play checkout Rule 31.

This week is shaping up to be a very interesting week for the PGRA members working at TPC Louisiana.  Refereeing this week will be a big change from our normal week. We are in store for an exciting week here in New Orleans!


  • TracyAllen Posted April 29, 2017 2:08 pm

    Adding to my Major List is Peter D.

  • Mike Lonergan Posted May 31, 2017 8:49 pm

    Peter was a great teacher when I was associated with the FSGA as a Referee.

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