40 Balls


"40 Balls" is the name of a golf tournament format for teams comprised of four golfers. On each hole of an 18-hole round, the team must decide which team members' scores will count on that hole. At the end of 18 holes, 40 such scores must have been counted, and those 40 scores - or 40 balls - make up the team's final score.

There are two ways to play 40 Balls. In both cases, our Team is made up of Players A, B, C and D:

• Method 1: Before teeing off on Hole No. 1, the team decides it will use the scores (or balls) of A and D on this hole. (Use net scores, not gross.) That's two balls of the 40. On the second hole, only B's score is used. That's three balls of the 40. On No. 3, A, C and D's balls are used. That's six balls of the 40. And so on, until 40 scores have been recorded.

• Method 2: In the second method (which is actually the more common way to play 40 Balls), the choice of which balls to use is made after completing each hole. So all four players complete Hole 1; before reaching the next tee, the team decides to use the scores of A and C for No. 1. After completing Hole 2 but before reaching the third tee, the team decides to use the scores of B, C and D for No. 2; and so on, counting 40 scores total over 18 holes.

As noted, net scores are used in 40 Balls. A requirement that is often applied is that the 40 scores are divided equally among team members - 10 scores from each member of the team must be used over the 18 holes. Another typical requirement is that at least one ball of the 40 must be used on every hole - no skipping of holes because Hole 12 is a very tough par-5, for example. (Four team members times 18 holes equals 72 scores, so a little more half of the balls played throughout the round wind up counting in 40 Balls.)

Method 1 is the more difficult of the two options for 40 Balls format because it puts extra pressure on those golfers whose scores are selected for use on the upcoming hole.

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Also Known As: 40 Scores, 40 Scores for 40 Balls

Alternate Spellings: Forty Balls

Examples: "The Ladies Golf Association is playing a 40 Balls tournament on Saturday."