How to Play a Golf Scramble
Playing a scramble is one of the most enjoyable ways to play golf with your friends.
Unlike regular stroke play, a scramble takes your team’s best shot to create a score on every hole.
Scramble golf is a popular tournament style where teammates combine individual strengths. Success requires strategy, communication, and coordination.
This guide explains what golf scrambles are, how scoring works, forming a winning team, a winning best ball strategy, and why you should play to your strengths.
Whether you’re a veteran or a beginner, follow these tips to master the scramble format and take home the trophy at your next tournament.
What is a Scramble Tournament?
One of the most popular fundraisers for charity events is a scramble tournament. Having golf tournaments with this format allows event organizers to unite hundreds of people to form scramble teams and play for prizes while raising money for great causes.
With a scramble golf format, a 4-person scramble team plays 18 holes. Starting at the tee box, each player hits their drive. Then, the team decides which drive puts them in the best position to attack the green.
From the spot of that drive, each player then gets a one-club length area from the original shot to hit their next ball.
The entire team hits their approach shots. Then, the team once again determines where the best ball for their next shot lies.
Most likely, the ball is sitting on the putting green for a birdie opportunity. The process repeats itself until a team member makes their shot, and a score for the hole is recorded.
Another aspect that makes scrambles so popular is that it helps weaker players feel a part of a team and gives their team the potential to play their ball when they hit a good shot.
Rather than depending on their score for 18 holes, the scramble format takes the best shots of their day to help their team.
3 Types of Scramble Games
1. Texas Scramble
The Texas Scramble golf format is a popular team-based tournament style of play.
In a Texas Scramble, players form teams of two to four golfers. All team members tee off each hole. The team then decides which tee shot is best and marks that spot. Each player hits their own ball from that chosen spot until it is holed out.
Only one team score is recorded per hole. The total number of strokes is tallied for the team at the end of the full round. This format rewards collaboration, as the best shots from any team member can be utilized for each hole.
Communication and strategy are key in successfully playing a Texas-style Scramble.
2. Las Vegas Scramble
The Las Vegas Scramble is a popular variation of a golf scramble tournament. In this team format, players form groups of two to four golfers, and each player tees off at the beginning of a hole.
However, instead of choosing the single best drive, the team picks two tee shots and marks both spots.
All players then play their second shots from each of those locations, resulting in two balls in play per team. The best of the second shots is selected, and then the process repeats until a ball is holed.
Only the best ball score is recorded per hole. This twist adds excitement and more strategy to the traditional golf scramble rules.
3. Florida Scramble
The Florida Scramble is played like most scrambles by event organizers at charity events. As with other scrambles, players form teams of two to four golfers, each hitting a drive to start a hole.
After all team members tee off, the group selects the best drive and marks that spot.
However, in a Florida-style Scramble, each player hits their own second shot from the chosen drive location. The team then picks the best of the second shots and marks that new spot.
This process continues with all players hitting from the latest marked spot until holing out the ball. At the end of the golf event, the group with the lowest round wins.
5 Tips for Building the Best Scramble Team Strategy
1. Always Hear Your Teammates
One of the biggest mistakes players can make in a scramble golf format is dominating the choices on the course and not listening to their teammates.
If you are playing with other golfers who like to hit draws into the green, you’ll want to play more drives from the left side of the fairway to allow that natural shot shape.
Too many casual golfers get caught up in taking the longest tee shot. They don’t consider which drive is best for their team’s strengths.
2. Take Advantage of One Club Length Rule
If your golf scramble rules allow you to find the best lie within one club length in the best ball format, ensure you find the spot that lets you play a level shot. Too many teams play shots where the ball is above or below your feet, causing wayward shots that don’t stay along the target line.
Scrambles are great because you can take more aggressive lines into the green, so your approach shots need the best footing possible for striking good shots.
Also, you don’t want to play from the same spot when hitting shots. A good golfer will find that perfect patch of grass to get the most from their second ball.
3. Have Your Longest Hitter Go First On Tee Box
One of the biggest strategic decisions that scramble teams face is where to put their longest driver in the lineup off the tee.
While there are pros and cons for the longest hitter to go first or last, I believe winning teams place their longest golfer first because if that player hits a good shot, then it takes the pressure off the rest of the team.
If the long bomber does not hit the fairway, then having accurate drivers behind them helps put the golf ball in a position to attack the upcoming green.
Since the second shot is crucial in a golf scramble, having at least one player hit the fairway is vital to posting the lowest score possible on the hole.
4. Have Your Best Putter Go First on the Green
I love having the best putter in the group go first because they typically read the greens the best. Plus, if they miss, chances are they give the other three players the best line possible.
If the other three players take the information of the previous shot into mind, chances are incredibly high that someone in the group is making the putt to post the lowest score possible.
5. Believe in Your Team’s Process
After your group determines their style of play to post a lower score, you should stick with that plan throughout the round to pay dividends.
Most golfers like to change their strategy after just a couple of holes, but with most tournaments, finding your groove may take a few holes, so you should never become discouraged if you start slow, especially if you are playing something unique like match play.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the rules for a 4 man scramble in golf?
In a 4-man scramble, teams of four players compete together. All four golfers hit tee shots to start each hole.
The team selects the best drive and marks that spot. All four players then take their next shot from that chosen spot.
Again, only one ball from the second shot is chosen and marked. This pattern continues with all four teammates hitting from the latest marked spot until holing out the ball.
Just one team score is counted per hole. Lower scores can be achieved by using the best shots from each teammate.
How do you score a golf scramble?
Scoring in a scramble works by totaling the team’s strokes at the end of the full round. For each hole, all players on a team tee off. The best drive is selected and marked.
All players take their next shot from that spot, and the best second shot is again chosen. This continues until the ball is holed.
In this team format game, only one team score is counted per hole. At the end of the round, the scores from each hole are added together for the team’s full scramble score. The team with the lowest total score wins the tournament.
What is a successful scramble in golf?
A successful scramble score in golf depends on the difficulty of the course, but in general, a team score under 60 is considered excellent.
On an average par 72 course, the top teams in a 4-person scramble will likely finish 18 holes with a score between 56-58 strokes.
For experienced players, anything under 55 strokes is an outstanding score. For beginners or high handicaps, finishing a scramble under 65 strokes is admirable.
Keep in mind that scrambles allow teams to combine the best shots, so scores are typically 20+ strokes lower than individual play. Focus on communication and strategy rather than raw talent to post a competitive scramble score.
Final Thoughts: How to Play a Golf Scramble
Golf scrambles require strategy, communication, and teamwork. With the tips in this article, your team will be prepared to take any course.
Remember to organize practice rounds together, emphasize putting skills, determine strengths, choose a wise club selection, and maintain positivity.
Scrambles are meant to be fun by supportive teammates who keep things lighthearted. While the competitive spirit kicks in at tournament time, stay focused on playing your best rather than the end result. Follow these pointers and enjoy the camaraderie of scrambles.
With the right teammates and preparation, you’ll have what it takes to come out on top.