[Explained] What Is Greensomes In Golf? And How To Win.

You’ve probably heard your mate talk about the time they won the pairs Greensomes competition at the local club or golf course, and thought to yourself ‘What an earth is that?!’.

Golf is full of funny terms, but when it comes to golf Greensomes – it’s actually a really fun type of playing format for a game of golf.

The Greensomes golf format is one of the most commonly used formats in club golf as it’s a fun and relaxed way of playing. It’s largely the same as foursomes, in that it is an alternate shot but with one key difference as we’ll explain.

In this article, we’re going to go into detail about what Greensomes is, how to play golf Greensomes and how does greensomes work in golf.

what are greensomes in golf
Alternate shots between you and your playing partner.

What Is Greensomes In Golf?

What Is Greensomes?

Greensomes golf is an alternate shot format in golf that is played in a pair. Both golfers tee off, and then they choose the best shot of the two tee shots, picking up the other ball.

Whichever tee shot is chosen, the second shot is played by the other player whose tee shot was not chosen. Then you continue to play alternate shots between players until the ball is in the hole.

It’s very simple indeed. If your drive was the best and chosen, your partner would play the second shot from your ball, then you would play the next one after that, and so on. Effectively, you only play half a round.

Greensomes golf comes with many different names, but they all mean the same thing. Names such as Scotch Foursomes or Canadian Foursomes have been used but they all stand for an alternate shot format where both players hit a tee shot.

You might have heard of another common golfing format known as Foursomes. This is widely used in professional golf, most notably during the Ryder Cup. Both formats are identical in that they’re alternate shots. The only difference, in Foursomes only one golfer tees off each hole, unlike Greensomes where both do. So a player could tee off on the odd-numbered holes and vice versa.

Greensomes is a really fun way of playing golf and tends to be less stressful than Foursomes because of the fact that both golfers tee off. This always means that you have two drives and two chances, in case one player has hit a bad shot.

How To Score In Greensomes?

Greensomes can be played in many ways. You can play Greensome strokeplay or Greensomes Stableford in a competition, or you can even play Greensome golf in a matchplay setting.

You score on the card like you would if you were playing singles strokeplay. After each hole, add up the number of shots taken by your pair and write that gross score in the scoring column.

Depending on any Greensomes rules laid out by the competition organisers, you may have to take a minimum amount or just one drive from each player. If this is the case, a good way to mark the card would be to put the gross score in one of two columns, depending on which player’s tee shot was used.

Once you’ve finished, work out the total score and take away your pair’s greensomes handicap allowance to give you your net score.

golf greensomes

How To Work Out Your Greensomes Handicap?

The handicap allowance for this golf format is worked out in accordance with the CONGU’s (The Council of National Golf Unions) recommendation.

For both strokeplay and matchplay, the handicap should be 60% of the lowest handicap and 40% of the highest handicap combined.

For example, for a pair of players with a 1 and a 20 handicap, your handicap for a golf Greensomes format golf competition would be:

(0.6×1) +(0.4×20) = 0.6 + 8 = 8.6

If you’re playing a matchplay competition with four golfers, it works the same as any other format but with two teams. Each pair will work out their handicap using the 60/40 rule, takeaway the lowest handicap from the highest handicap in the other team to work out how many shots should be given.

How To Play Greensomes In Golf?

Work out your handicap

Using the 60/40 rule as explained earlier, work out how many shots your pair will be getting over the 18 holes.

Both Hit A Tee Shot

Both players tee off. In a Greensome format both players hit a tee shot on every hole, so you’ve always got two balls to choose from.

Pick The Best Tee Shot

Because both players tee off on each hole, it means that you can choose the best drive on each hole. Sometimes it may not always be the best drive you choose, as you have to think strategically about which will be best for the second shot depending on the level of golfers.

Alternate Shot

Keep on alternating who plays the shot and play an alternate shot until you’ve got the ball into the hole. Repeat this alternate shot process for the remaining holes.

How To Win Playing Greensomes In Golf?

So now we know how to play Greensomes, but how do we win? There’s no denying it’s a super fun golf format for golfers of all levels to enjoy, however as with any team event, there’s some greensomes tactics to follow so you don’t let your partner down.

Let’s take a look at how you can win when you play your next Greensomes competition.

Get The Right Partner

Finding a partner that fits well into your game is important. You need someone that can match up to your style of play for a couple of different reasons.

Firstly, they might be a little wild off the tee and may excel in scrambling from tricky positions. You on the other hand might be a good driver, hitting easy fades down the middle.

Then you’ve also got to think about someone that you feel comfortable being around. Greensomes format can be stressful if you’re not playing your best golf. It can make you feel really stupid and feel like you’ve let your partner down if you hit a bad second shot.

And let’s be honest, golf is too difficult to not hit a few bad shots in a round.

Think Strategically

When you play Greensomes it’s not always about taking the longest drive on every hole. In some cases, it can be more beneficial for the team to take a worse-off drive.

It could be that your partner is better out of the rough or is great at a 100-yard second shot. In this case, try to stick to each player’s strengths when deciding on which ball to play.

Putt For Dough

We all know that the flat stick is where the real money is made. But when it comes to Greensomes, you can’t get too ahead of yourselves when looking at your putting.

There are times with Greensomes where you can be 8 holes in and still haven’t had a putt over 3 feet long. So when it does come down to it and you’re looking at a 30-footer, the focus should really be on the pace. No partner wants a 5-foot putt coming back to save your score.

Never Tap It In

We’ve all done it. Missed that 2-foot putt and then (in great annoyance) went and tapped it in with the back of your putter. Absolutely fine, until you realise you’re playing Greensomes golf rules and it’s an alternate shot.

We’re so used to playing a sport based on individual performance, we sometimes forget in the moment that it’s now a team.

If you miss a short putt, the last thing you should do is walk up and tap it in. It will end up costing you penalty shots.

what are greensomes in golf

Find A Ball That Works For Both

With both players teeing off on each hole and then choosing one, there will always be two different types of golf balls on the go. For a lot of golfers, which ball you use might not be something you think about.

But to some golfers, it’s important that they use the same ball every time they play. If you’re using a nice new Taylormade TP5, but your partner is playing an old Callaway it could affect your game.

It’s always best to discuss which ball you’re both happy to use and then have two of them in play throughout.

Final Thoughts

As with any golf format, if you’re playing well, you’ll likely have a better chance of winning and the Greensome golf format will certainly test your golf game.

But if you follow some of our advice, you’ll also find it easier to compete and help you make some important decisions before teeing off.


What is the difference between greensomes and foursomes?

Both formats are very similar in that they are played in pairs and are alternate shot. However, in Greensomes both players tee off on each hole. Whereas in Foursomes, only one player tees off and they alternate who takes the tee shots on each hole. One player might hit on odd-numbered holes and the other on even-numbered holes.

Is Greensomes medal or stableford?

Greensomes can be played in both a medal or a Stableford format. A team handicap can be worked out by taking 60% of the lower and 40% of the higher combined. Then use it to work out a Greensome Stableford score per hole or minus it from the final gross score.

What is a Greensomes handicap?

The Greensomes handicap is calculated by taking 60% of the lower handicap in the team and 40% of the higher handicap golfer in the team. These numbers are combined to get the total Greensomes handicap, which can be taken away from the final score.

What is the handicap allowance for Greensomes matchplay?

In matchplay, the recommended Greensomes handicap is the combined total of 60% of the lower handicap in the team and 40% of the higher handicap. This combined handicap will go against the other team’s combined handicap.

Can you swap balls in Greensomes?

If a hole is in play, you’re unable to swap balls when playing Greensomes. Once the hole has been completed, a golfer may change balls if they wish.

Who plays a provisional ball in Greensomes?

Because both players tee off when playing Greensomes, if a provisional ball is needed, this will be played by the player that hit the original shot. This is different to Foursomes, where a provisional ball would be played by the golfer who didn’t hit the original tee shot.

What is a Greensome in golf?

Greensome in golf is a format which is played in teams of two, where both players tee off on every hole. They then chose the best tee shot and play alternate shot until the ball is in the hole.

What are Greensomes in golf?

Greensomes is a popular alternate shot golf format that’s played by a pair of golfers. It’s different to Foursomes because both players hit a tee shot in Greensomes, compared to foursomes where only one player tees off.

How do you play Greensomes in golf?

Greensomes is played in pairs, with both golfers teeing off and then choosing the best ball out of the two tee shots. Once they’ve picked the best ball, they then play alternate shot, one player hitting each shot until the ball’s in the hole.

What is Greensomes format in golf?

Greensomes format in golf is regarded as one of the best pairs formats to play. Both players tee off and then they alternate hitting shots for the rest of the hole.

What is Greensomes Stableford?

Greensomes Stableford is a format in golf where both players play alternate shot, with both teeing off and then choosing the best ball. The Greensomes Stableford rules are the same as normal Stableford, where each score made on a hole is worth points.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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