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 Question from Harold: We have an 8 man golf team and wish to schedule only 4 to play each week and to have each member play with one of the other 7 at least once. What is the simplest method. Number of weeks could be up to 18 or so.

Harold,

Here is a schedule for 2 teams per week for 10 weeks. Just separate the teams and you have 1 team per week for 20 weeks.

I was able to check all of the possible schedules by computer — there are well over 200 million of them — and this one is the most balanced in terms of how many times each two players are together.

The positions in each list are the players, and the numbers designate the foursomes. Day 0 gives you the foursomes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, 6, 7, 8. Day 2 gives 1, 2, 5, 6 and 3, 4, 7, 8. And so on. In all there are 20 foursomes, with each golfer in 10 of them and the pairs as balanced as possible. If you take the foursomes in order, that is Day 0 gives the first two Men’s nights, Day 1 gives the next 2, etc, then no player misses more than 2 nights in a row. It is not possible to do better than that.

Day 0 : (0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1)
Day 1 : (0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1)
Day 2 : (0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1)
Day 3 : (0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1)
Day 4 : (0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0)
Day 5 : (0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0)
Day 6 : (0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0)
Day 7 : (0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1)
Day 8 : (0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1)
Day 9 : (0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1)

Hope this works for you.
—Victoria

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