Foursomes, as the name suggests, is a game of golf that involves four players. Two teams of two who each play alternate shots. For many women, the thought of playing only one ball and relying on someone else to hit good shots, or worse that they are relying on you to do so, fills them with dread.
For this reason the format is quite often unpopular at clubs. That’s despite the fact that it is one of the most exciting golf formats to watch when televised. I absolutely loved the energy and enthusiasm between the pairings in the morning foursomes of the Solheim Cup, they were having so much fun, and when you relax and enjoy your golf you play better. Let’s face it, it’s the one time when we can play this otherwise solitary sport and genuinely feel like part of a team.
Know Each Other's Game
I grew up playing county golf for Dorset and played a lot of foursomes matches: I love the format as it suits my reasonably consistent style of play. My long-time friend and county foursomes partner, Harriet Legg, is an equally steady player. It has always made us an unbeatable pairing.
We know each other’s game inside-out and hit our irons the same distance, which definitely helps with decision-making. If I leave her 100 yards from the pin, it is her favourite distance - a full wedge shot. I know that she doesn’t enjoy having to manufacture a fiddly half or three-quarter swing from closer range with her wedges. Equally, I also know that if I leave her any putt inside four feet she will hole it.
You Need To Like Your Partner!
Consistency is clearly a key attribute that you want from a good foursomes partner, but I also think that being great friends is incredibly important. You need to play golf with someone that you enjoy spending time with, who you trust, who you can have a laugh with.
Look at any of the great foursomes pairings in history and they were fantastic friends, the Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal and the late, great Seve Ballesteros automatically spring to mind. The young rookie pairing of Swedes Linn Grant and Maja Stark, who made their Solheim Cup debuts for Europe in Spain in September, could well be the women’s golf equivalent in the making.
Linn and Maja have grown up playing junior golf together in Sweden, they went to college together, were roommates at Arizona State University, and now they are competing on Tour and travelling the world together. They are best friends and a brilliant golf partnership that will no doubt play in many more Solheim Cup teams for years to come.
The sort of partnership you want to avoid is one where you don’t enjoy playing golf together. This can easily happen in drawn games at clubs. You could find that you get paired with someone who is a very opposite character to you.
There’s the famous saying that opposites attract, however, I certainly don’t think that this applies to the golf course! A negative person whose cup is half empty, not half full, will simply not work with an upbeat and positive person. Your golfing personality matters and a clash of characters is a scoring disaster.
As for handicaps, I think that it works really well in match play, when shots are given, to team a low-handicapper with a high-handicapper. Especially if that high-handicapper has got some brilliant shots in their locker but just doesn’t always string them together.
The more skilled low-handicapper will be able to recover from pretty much anywhere the high handicapper puts them - rough, bunkers, a long way out - and in the meantime they get to benefit from all those extra shots that partnering a high handicapper gives them.
Long And Short Hitters
Another style of foursomes pairing that works really well is matching a long hitter with a shorter hitter. I played for my home club in the Dorset county foursomes competition with Charlotte Brook, a talented young junior who plays off plus four. As she was a longer hitter than me, she took the drives on the odd numbered holes, as it meant that on the majority of par 5s she could bomb her drives away. This shortened the hole, leaving me an easy approach shot with an iron or rescue club, so that I could pepper the pin. We won the title!
Ultimately there’s many reasons why certain pairings will be more successful than others and I could spend all day sharing them with you, but I’d prefer to hear your thoughts. Does your women’s section have a foursomes knock-out competition and is it popular? Or maybe you have been in a foursomes duo for decades like my best golfing friend Harriet and I. Let me know your stories…
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Carly Frost is one of the golf industry’s best-known female writers, having worked for golf magazines for over 20 years. As a consistent three-handicapper who plays competitive club golf at Parkstone and the Isle of Purbeck courses in Dorset every week, Carly is well-versed in what lady golfers love. Her passion for golf and skill at writing combine to give her an unbeatable insight into the ladies game.
Carly’s role at Golf Monthly is to help deliver thorough and accurate ladies equipment reviews, buying advice and comparisons to help you find exactly what you are looking for. So whether it’s the latest driver, set of irons, golf ball, pair of shoes or even an outfit, Carly will help you decide what to buy.
Over the years Carly has been fortunate to play some of the greatest courses in the world. Her view ‘from the ladies tee’ is invaluable. She ranks Sea Island, Georgia, USA, where she met her husband, world-renowned golf coach Dan Frost, among her favourite golf resorts. Their aptly-named eight-year-old son Hogan is already hitting the ball as far as Mum and will undoubtedly be a name to watch out for in the future.
Carly is a keen competitor and her list of golfing achievements are vast. She is a former winner of the South West of England Ladies Intermediate Championship, a three-time winner of the European Media Masters and she once beat an entire start-sheet of men to the title of Times Corporate World Golf Champion. She has played for both the Dorset and Surrey County Ladies first teams and is known for her excellent track record at matchplay.
Carly holds the ladies course record (68) at her home club Parkstone and her lowest competition round (seven-under-par 65) was carded in the pro-am of the Irish Ladies Open at Killeen Castle, playing alongside Solheim Cup superstar Anna Nordqvist. Although her current handicap index has crept up to 3.7 since Covid she has her sights firmly set on achieving that elusive scratch handicap and hopefully playing for her country when she’s 50.
Carly’s current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Callaway Epic Max, 10.5°
Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM2, 15°
Hybrids: Titleist TS2, 19°, 21°, 24°
Irons: Mizuno JPX900, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX, 52°, 56° and 58°
Putter: Scotty Cameron Futura X5
Ball: 2021 Callaway Ladies SuperSoft
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