Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
The golf scramble is among the most popular golf tournament formats. It’s a commonly preferred format for fundraiser events such as charity events. The team composition of scrambles results in a stronger team spirit, quicker rounds, and lower scores than in the stroke-play format.
The Golf Scramble — A Quick Look
In a scramble, team members hit their balls from the same position. Depending on where each player’s ball lands, the team determines the best position to play their next shot. As a result, penalty shots and shots from difficult positions such as the rough or bunkers are uncommon because it’s highly likely that at least one player will land their ball in a good spot.
The Rules for Playing Golf Scramble
The golf scramble format is popular for charity events because it’s casual. It’s not subject to the official rules of golf. The event organizer can modify the rules.
Generally, a scramble features teams with four members, each of whom tees off on each hole. The team compares the positions where each of their balls lands and chooses the best one from which to take the next shot. Each player then takes their next shot from this position. The team repeats this process until they hole a ball.
Once the best shot is selected, other team members may each place their ball within one club-length of the selected shot. This is called improving the lie, for which there are limitations. Team members are not allowed to improve the lie by placing their ball closer to the hole than the selected shot.
Likewise, team members are not allowed to improve the lie to a different part of the golf course. For example, if the selected shot is on the fairway, team members may improve their lie only within the fairway. The same goes for the rough, hazards, and green.
On the green, team members may improve their lie, by hand, within four inches of the selected shot, no closer to the hole. When a player addresses the ball or makes their next stroke, the ball is in play. The team completes the hole when they hole their first ball.
These rules are the foundation of a scramble. However, keep in mind that these rules may vary widely from one scramble match to another.
The Variations of the Golf Scramble
Golf scramble has no limit on the size of a team. However, most scrambles use teams of three or four players to encourage participation and speed up the rounds. A three-player scramble features teams with three players. The tournament typically pits two teams against each other to encourage friendly competition.
Similarly, a four-player scramble features teams with four players. In most cases, the team typically plays the round with no other team besides themselves. The rounds are usually quicker than they would be if the game used the stroke play format.
Some scramble games require team members to have different abilities. For example, some organizers require a team to comprise a high handicapper, two mid-range handicappers, and a low handicapper. In this case, team members are often required to play a minimum number of the high handicapper’s shots, such as their drives.
Strategies for Winning a Golf Scramble
A team’s chances of winning a golf scramble depend largely on its composition. Winning teams tend to have a skilled putter, a big bomber, and an accurate plater. A player with all three abilities is a huge asset.
Having players with different abilities increases a team’s likelihood of going low. Likewise, having multiple exceptional putters greatly improves a team’s winning chances. After assembling a good team, take time to plan the optimal order in which team members will take their shots.
In general, you want the most accurate player to take the first shot from the tee or fairway. If they take a great shot, it will encourage the other players to make bold swings. The team member with the longest shot should go last. That way, they can try to blast the ball as far into the fairway as they can as long as one other team member has hit the fairway.
Similarly, if the accurate player lands a good shot from the fairway, the others can take a gamble. For example, on a par 5 hole, they can aim to get to the green in two shots. On a par 4, they can take even more aggressive chances. Once the pressure is off to hit a high-stakes shot, players tend to make impressive shots.
On the green, players are often required to stand one behind the other to putt. The first one to putt should be the second-best player. Doing so lets the others see the line of the putt and improves the likelihood of them holing out.
The team’s best putter should be putt last so that they can observe the others putt and increase their chances of hitting the ball into the hole. The least skilled putters should be in the middle of the line so that they’re able to take a low-risk shot.
Use mulligans wisely by trying not to waste it on a tee shot or a 30-foot putt. Mulligans are most beneficial when you use them on chips, wedge shots, and shorter puts. Remember to exhaust all your mulligans. If you still have several unused mulligans by the 18th hole, you either didn’t take enough risks, or you’re a clear winner.
Keep in mind that the shot closest to the hole may not necessarily be the best shot. Consider other factors, such as the break on the green or the lie on the fairway, as they may render a different ball the most suitable for the next shot.
Enter or organize a golf scramble
Golf scrambles give players at different skill levels an opportunity to enjoy the game together. All players have fun and may learn one or two things. If you need help organizing a golf scramble, contact Our Golf Clubs. We’re happy to help.
The golf scramble is among the most popular formats for golf tournaments. Learn what the golf scramble is, the rules, the variations, and more.