Every so often my country club hosts a weekend tournament that is a foursome tournament with two best balls, both net and gross. If you are new to tournament golf you likely do not know what this means. A two best ball tournament means you take two of the best scores on each hole. If your team had a 4, 5, 8 and 9 on the hole your cumulative score would be a 9 as you would play the 4 and the 5, the two best balls.

The difference between net and gross is the handicap system. A gross score would be the score your team posts without any strokes or a handicap being applied. In the aforementioned example, the gross score would be a 9. If the golfer that had a 5 received one stroke or one “pop” on that hole the handicap would bring their score down to a 4. This would make the net score an 8 and the gross score a 9.

The handicap system can be very difficult for new golfers to understand. In essence, know that you will get a certain number of strokes per round based on your handicap. If you are a 10 handicap you will likely get between 9 and 11 strokes per round based on the slope and course rating. This means you will have around 10 holes in which you receive a stroke – the 10 hardest holes on the course.

Those that have a high handicap, above 15, are not expected to par every single hole. In fact, they will likely have zero pars on the scorecard which is why golf has the handicap system. The teams that do the best in tournaments often have golfers that score well on their “pop” holes.

If you are playing in the gross division of a two best ball tournament you’d better have some scratch golfers on your team. The gross division will be comprised of players that can shoot at or around par. If you are a 6 handicap or higher you should not be playing in the gross tournament unless you want to get crushed.