Playing Foursomes Can be Fun with the Right Approach
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Alternate shot formats are very popular across the world in club events. Active tournament amateurs play foursomes often. Practice these simple strategies in your next alternate shot match/stroke play tourney and you’ll be closer to holding the trophy when it’s done.
1. Eliminate your inner Phil.
Foursomes do not favor risky decision making or play. PGA Coaches cannot stress this enough. Great alternate shot players are steady. They always keep the ball in play and seldom put their partner in trouble.
The risk you take ends up being placed on your partner. You aren’t placing yourself in trouble with a poor result. The more you keep the ball in play with a smart conservative strategy, the lower your final score will be every time.
2. Alternate, but participate.
One of the biggest mistakes amateurs make is to walk away from their partner as they play a shot. You must participate in the shot. You may not get to hit the ball but getting involved in the decision making will keep your golf brain engaged.
Even if it is just mentally, you have to participate as if you were hitting the shot yourself. This will keep you more involved. Hitting every other shot is tough mentally, this will help.
3. Leave the putting to the putter.
Unless you are extremely familiar with your partners putting strategy and habits, let them putt on their own. If he or she asks you for help, go ahead, but otherwise let them do their thing.
Putting is a very specialized skill. Most players see the line based upon their personal stroke. Players who like to hit putts hard, play less break. The chances of you and your partner always seeing and agreeing subconsciously on the correct line are minimal. Adding your opinion will only add doubt in most cases to your partner’s approach. Let them make it.
4. Plan to take advantage of your strengths.
If you are playing true alternate shot just like the Ryder Cup you will always alternate on the tee shot. Look at the course carefully. You can seriously help your chances of playing well if you and your partner take advantage of your strengths.
If you’re a great iron player make sure you hit the tee shot on as many Par 3’s as possible. If your partner is super long off the tee, make sure they are driving the ball on as many long holes as possible. Don’t overlook this simple key. Prepare with a tee shot strategy and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.
5. Never say you’re sorry.
Unless you aren’t trying your best, don’t say “sorry” for a bad shot. Agree beforehand to do away with the apologies and your team will be able to let bad shots go much easier. Doing this can be very uplifting and will make a huge difference.
Foursomes are some of the most entertaining ways to play the game. Seeing the men in the Ryder Cup play alternate shot provides great theater. Keep these keys in mind as you watch them compete. Watch closely, the teams who use these keys most effectively will be the ones putting points on the board.