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Best Ball Games

Each month we will try to bring to you straightforward examples of popular - and not so popular - games on the course; games that will make your rounds more challenging and fun to play. In this next installment of games of the month, we introduce and discuss the handicap implications of one of the more popular club tournaments: 'Best Ball'

Best ball is a fairly simple game to play, but can be played in several variations:

Two-Person Best Ball: Two golfers play as a team, each with their own ball. The best score on each hole is taken as the 'Team' Score. Best ball games can be played as match or as medal for 9 holes, 18 holes, or even as a Nassau.

Three-Person Best Ball (a.k.a Canadian Best Ball): In Canadian Best Ball, two golfers team up and play against a third (usually the low handicapper). The two partners play their best ball against the third.

Four-Person Best Ball: Here, the best ball team is composed of all four players. Again, the lowest score on each hole counts as the tam score. Games can also be played that use the best two scores or best three scores of the foursome.

Allocating Handicap Strokes for Best Ball Games
    % of Course Handicap
Game   Men % Women %
Two-Person Best Ball (stroke)  90%95%
Two-Person Best Ball (match)  100%100%
Four-Person Best Ball  80%90%
Four-Person Best Two Balls  90%95%

The following example depicts a Two-Person Best Ball stroke play match between four players: Jack and Rohin versus Dave and Alok. Jack and Rohin have course handicaps of 10 and 16, respectively - 90% of which is 9 and 14. The other team, consisting of Dave and Alok, have course handicaps of 20 and 30, respectively - 90% of which is 18 and 27. Thus, Jack plays as scratch, Rohin receives 5 strokes, Dave receives 9 strokes, and Alok receives 18 strokes. The scorecard below illustrates the first few holes of the match.

Best Ball Scorecard

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