How to Play the 40 Balls Golf Format

"40 Balls" is the name of a golf tournament format for four-person teams. Each team member plays his or her own ball throughout, so on each hole there are four, individual scores being returned on each team. How many of those scores does the team use? A total of 40 of them over the course of the 18-hole round.

Note that 40 Balls is sometimes spelled Forty Balls, and that "40 Scores" (or "40 Scores for 40 Balls") are alternate names.

Here's how 40 Balls works. A team of four golfers (we'll call them Golfer A, Golfer B, C and D) tees off the first hole. Each golfer plays his own ball into the cup on each hole. On the first hole, let's say Golfer A makes a 4, B scores 6, C makes a 5 and D makes a 7.

How many of those scores does the team have to use? In 40 Balls, a team can use anywhere from one to all four of its members' scores on each hole. The key is not using a set number of scores per hole, but, rather, using 40 scores total over 18 holes.

Maybe our team decides on the first hole that A's 4 and C's 5 are good scores for those golfers, but B's 6 and D's 7 are not good scores for those golfers. So on Hole 1, the team uses two scores.

If it then uses one score on the second hole, all four scores on the third hole, and two scores again on the fourth hole, it has now counted nine out of the 40 scores it has to use for the full round. A common stipulation is that at least one score must be used on each hole. Sometimes, it might also be stipulated that all four scores cannot be used on any given hole, but, more commonly, that is allowed.

Another stipulation that is less frequently used, and that makes 40 Balls more challenging, is that 10 scores from each golfer must be used in making up those 40 scores.

40 Balls can be played using gross or net scores. At the end of the round, each team turns in those 40 scores, which are tallied for the final results.

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