Four-Ball Stroke Play


In four-ball stroke play two competitors play as partners, each playing his own ball. The lower score of the partners is the score for the hole. If one partner fails to complete the play of a hole, there is no penalty.

The Rules of Golf, so far as they are not at variance with the following specific Rules, apply to four-ball stroke play.

Representation of Side

A side may be represented by either partner for all or any part of a stipulated round; both partners need not be present. An absent competitor may join his partner between holes, but not during play of a hole.

Maximum of Fourteen Clubs

The side is penalised for a breach of Rules 4-3a (iii) and 4-4 by either partner.


The marker is required to record for each hole only the gross score of whichever partner's score is to count. The gross scores to count must be individually identifiable; otherwise the side is disqualified. Only one of the partners need be responsible for complying with Rule 6-6b.

Order of Play

Balls belonging to the same side may be played in the order the side considers best.

Wrong Ball

If a competitor makes a stroke at a wrong ball that is not in a hazard, he incurs a penalty of two strokes and must correct his mistake by playing the correct ball or by proceeding under the Rules. His partner incurs no penalty even if the wrong ball belongs to him.

If the wrong ball belongs to another competitor, its owner must place a ball on the spot from which the wrong ball was first played.

Disqualification Penalties

a. Breach by One Partner
A side is disqualified from the competition for a breach of any of the following by either partner:

  • Rule 1-3 Agreement to Waive Rules
  • Rule 3-4 Refusal to Comply with Rule
  • Rule 4-1 or -2 Clubs
  • Rule 5-1 or -2 The Ball
  • Rule 6-2b Handicap (playing off higher handicap; failure to record handicap)
  • Rule 6-4 Caddie (having more than one caddie; failure to correct breach immediately)
  • Rule 6-6b Signing and Returning Score Card
  • Rule 6-6d Wrong Score for Hole, i.e. when the recorded score of the partner whose score is to count is lower than actually taken. If the recorded score of the partner whose score is to count is higher than actually taken, it must stand as returned
  • Rule 6-7 Undue Delay; Slow Play (repeated offence)
  • Rule 7-1 Practice Before or Between Rounds
  • Rule 14-3 Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment
  • Rule 31-4 Gross Scores to Count Not Individually Identifiable

b. Breach by Both Partners
A side is disqualified:

(i) for a breach by both of Rule 6-3 (Time of Starting and Groups) or Rule 6-8 (Discontinuance of Play), or

(ii) if, at the same hole, each partner is in breach of a Rule the penalty for which is disqualification from the competition or for a hole.

c. For the Hole Only
In all other cases where a breach of a Rule would result in disqualification, the competitor is disqualified only for the hole at which the breach occurred.

If a competitor's breach of a Rule assists his partner's play, the partner incurs the applicable penalty in addition to any penalty incurred by the competitor.
In all other cases where a competitor incurs a penalty for breach of a Rule, the penalty does not apply to his partner.