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Foursomes (Alternate Shot)

22.1  Overview of Foursomes (Alternate Shot) RandA Rule 22.1

Foursomes (also known as Alternate Shot) is a form of play involving partners (in either match play or stroke play) where two partners compete as a side by playing one ball in alternating order on each hole.

Rules 1-20 apply to this form of play (with the side playing one ball being treated in the same way as the individual player is treated), as modified by these specific Rules.

A variation of this is a form of match play known as Threesomes, where an individual player competes against a side of two partners who play alternating shots under these specific Rules.

22.2 Either Partner May Act for Side

As both partners compete as one side playing only one ball:

  • Either partner may take any allowed action for the side before the stroke is made, such as to mark the spot of the ball and lift, replacedrop and place the ball, no matter which partner’s turn it is to play next for the side.
  • partner and his or her caddie may help the other partner in any way that the other partner’s caddie is allowed to help (such as to give and be asked for advice and take the other actions allowed under Rule 10), but must not give any help that the other partner’s caddie is not allowed to give under the Rules.
  • Any action taken or breach of the Rules by either partner or either caddie applies to the side.

In stroke play, only one of the partners needs to certify the side’s hole scores on the scorecard (see Rule 3.3b).

22.3 Side Must Alternate in Making Strokes

On each hole, the partners must make each stroke for the side in alternating order:

  • One partner must play first for the side from the teeing area of all odd numbered holes, while the other partner must play first for the side from the teeing area of all even numbered holes.
  • After the side’s first stroke from the teeing area of a hole, the partners must alternate strokes for the rest of the hole.
  • If a stroke is cancelled or otherwise does not count under any Rule (except when a stroke is made in the wrong order in breach of this Rule), the same partner who made the stroke must make the next stroke for the side.
  • If the side decides to play a provisional ball, it must be played by the partner whose turn it is to play the side’s next stroke.

Any penalty strokes for the side do not affect the partners’ alternating order of play.

Penalty for Making a Stroke in the Wrong Order in Breach of Rule 22.3: General Penalty.

In stroke play, the side must correct the mistake:

  • The right partner must make a stroke from where the side made the first stroke in the wrong order.
  • The stroke made in the wrong order and any more strokes before the mistake is corrected (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count.
  • If the side does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the last hole of the round, before returning its scorecard, the side is disqualified.

22.4 Starting the Round

a  Partner to Play First

The side may choose which partner will play from the first teeing area in starting the round, unless the Terms of the Competition say which partner must play first.

The side’s round starts when that partner makes a stroke to start the side’s first hole.

b  Starting Time and Starting Point

Rule 5.3a applies differently to each partner based on who will play first for the side:

The partner who will play first must be ready to play at the starting time and starting point, and must start at (and not before) that time.

The partner who will play second must be present at the starting time either at the starting point or on the hole near where the ball played from the teeing area is expected to come to rest.

If either partner is not present in this way, the side is in breach of Rule 5.3a.

22.5 Partners May Share Clubs

Rule 4.1b(2) is modified to allow partners to share clubs, so long as the total number of clubs they have together is not more than 14.

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