What is a Golf Scramble?

A golf scramble is one of the most popular tournament formats for groups. Each team has two or more players, depending on the tournament style and the total number of players.

Each team member will hit their own ball throughout the round. However, the team hits from the same spot. Once all players hit the shot, the team captain will determine which ball is the best result. From there, the team will all play their next shot from the chosen location. This same process continues until all holes are complete.

Golf scrambles are a fun game for any situation. This article explains everything you need to know about the game and its structure. We explain the rules, the strategy, and the different variations. Team games are a great way to build camaraderie with your golf friends and compete in an exciting tournament format.

Below we dive into the following topics:

  • How to play – we explain the steps to playing
  • Golf scramble standard rules – we highlight the regulations and how to play the game in a fair way
  • Strategy – we discuss how teams deploy creative strategies to win the game
  • Best ball vs. scramble – we talk about the main differences between the similar games
  • Types of scrambles – we dive into the four different scramble variations

How to Play

Golf scrambles go by stroke play format, meaning the total number of “team strokes.” Because the next shot occurs from the best possible spot, scores are usually very good. Depending on the overall skill level, most scramble tournaments end with a winner at 18 under par (or better).

The golf scramble is the perfect format for charity golf tournaments because of the easy rules and minimal pressure on each team member. In a standard golf tournament, an individual player is responsible for their ball throughout the round. A team can strategize and play to each player’s strengths.

Golf Scramble Standard Rules

There is less pressure in a golf scramble because players may improve their lie for every shot. As long as the ball rests within one club length of the previous shot, it is fair game.

The first step in the golf scramble is the tee shot. Most scramble tournaments start with a “shotgun” format, where each team begins on a different hole. The tournament committee or organizers will determine which hole each team starts on it. Players can tee off with any club in their bag.

After everyone hits, the team captain will choose the best drive. On par 4 or par 5, the captain will usually select the furthest drive or the shot with the best angle to the hole. On par 3, the captain will smartly choose the tee shot closest to the pin.

Once the team chooses the best show, someone should mark where the ball lies. From there, each team member must ensure they place their ball within one club length. The other team members can retrieve their balls and move them to the designated spot.

Repeat this process until the ball is in the hole, including putts. Depending on the tournament rules, some charity events will allow teams to “buy” a mulligan. If all players hit their shots and the team is not satisfied, they can use a mulligan for an extra shot.

Scramble Strategies

As with any golf game, the scramble golf game requires strategy. The first tactic is the playing order because each team will have players of different skill levels. It would be wise for a team to let the weaker players hit first, and then instruct the best players to hit last. If the first player misses, the best player can endure the pressure and hit a safe shot to keep the team in prime position.

Another strategy is choosing which shot to hit next. When you decide which ball to play next, you should always choose the one with the best angle of view to the hole. It is also advantageous to play the ball with a better lie. You should favor a ball in the fairway over a ball in the rough. Doing so will ensure that your team can achieve the best score possible.

Players on the team may also have different strengths to your game. One player may be weak off the tee, but they have a strong putting game. Therefore, you do not need to stick with the same order for every shot. For each tee shot, the most accurate player should go first and put the ball in the fairway. That way, the stronger hitters can try to bomb a long drive, which is prone to inaccuracy.

When it comes to the putting green, the same concept applies. The weaker putters should putt first and leave the skilled players to finish it off. The team must study the first putt to see which direction the green breaks. That way, they can realign the aim for the later putters.

Best Ball vs. Scramble

We defined a scramble, but it should not be confused with a “best ball” format. The best ball format involves a 2-person squad where each team member will play their own golf ball throughout the entire golf round. Instead of huddling around the best shot, the players will finish with their scores for the hole. 

From there, the best score is kept for the official scorecard. For example, player A scores a 4, and then player B scores a 5. The team’s official score for that hole is a 4. The “best ball” is always the lower score.

Different Types of the Golf Scramble

We explained the concept of the golf scramble. However, there are multiple variations of this fun game. Below are the different formats of the golf scramble and how to play.

Florida Scramble

The Florida scramble is a variation that adds a lot of pressure and strategy to the game. Whenever a team member contributes a shot, they must sit out the rest of the hole. So if player A hits the best dive and the team takes it, the team cannot use player A’s shot until the next hole.

Texas Scramble

The Texas scramble is very similar to the standard golf scramble. The same rules apply to a 4-person team. However, each player needs to contribute four or more drives to the competition. This rule adds a little pressure and ensures everyone contributes a tee shot.

Las Vegas Scramble

The Las Vegas scramble adds some flair to the game. Instead of taking the best drive off the tee, the team uses a 6-sided die to decide which drive the team will take. You roll the die before the tee shot, which adds extra pressure to the team member selected.

Bramble

Bramble combines the two concepts of scramble and best ball. The tee shot starts in scramble format as the team can choose to take the best drive. But from there, the team will play the best ball for the remainder of the hole. So essentially, the team will hit from the same spot on the initial drive and second shot, and then finish out their ball.

Conclusion

As you can see, the golf scramble is a fun team game that takes the pressure off of each player. When you have other people on your side, it makes the game of golf that much more exciting. There is always an opportunity to play the scramble format, and you are sure to make memories with your golf buddies.