Golf Format Explained

Golf Scramble Rules

A scramble in golf has members of a foursome competing as a team against all other teams in the field. Each golfer hits his own ball throughout the round but does not necessarily hit subsequent shots from where his ball has come to rest. Rather, the ball best hit by the group will determine the location from where everybody will hit next, and so on. Only one ball – and thus one score – counts per hole for each team and the team with the lowest total score for the round wins the golf scramble tournament.

How to Play Scramble Golf

In scramble, each golfer hits his own ball from the tee box. The group then walks over to where those balls landed and elect only one whose landing position is deemed most desirable. Each golfer will then hit his own ball from that one chosen spot and proceed likewise until the lowest score for that hole is recorded. The same process will begin anew on the next hole until the end of the round.

How to Win Scramble Golf

The best one score for each hole are added up and the team with the lowest total wins.

Appeal of Playing Scramble

Primarily, scramble golf games are often set up in order to speed up the pace of play when very high handicap players are invited. Indeed, rather than have bad or casual golfers play from bad lies and recording every shot, these players can hit shots from good lies (the best of the four balls) and don’t have to hit more shots than their teammates in reaching the hole.

Scramble golf is often set up by event organizers to be less intimidating – and more welcoming – to golfers of all skill level. Charitable organizations often hold scramble golf tournaments as part of fundraising events in order to accommodate as many people as possible, rather than attract only better golfers.


While the scramble golf game format is usually embraced by casual golfers, those who are keener or with good handicaps may find it unfortunate that they don’t get to play a full round using their own ball – from its corresponding location – throughout. Or they may find that when grouped with lesser skilled golfers they might see their odds of winning the tournament diminished because they are somewhat alone in contributing to the effort of the team.

Tips for How to Organize a Golf Scramble

In order for scramble tournaments to be considered fair close attention needs to be taken regarding the makeup of each team. Ideally, each foursome and team will feature a similar number of good and bad players which will help ensure a close match. Also, having at least one good golfer on each team should provide teams with a constant flow of good shots and good lies from where to hit.


There are several variations that one can adopt when organizing a scramble tournament. In one of the most popular you may require that teams use at least one drive (or two) from every player on the team. This will add an extra dimension of strategy to the game where the best lie will not always be chosen for every shot.

A cruel variation is called the reverse scramble. In it, golfers from the team will hit subsequent shots from the worse location rather than from the best.

Alternative Name: Vegas

Scramble vs Best Ball

In a best ball tournament each golfer hits his own ball throughout the round but must hit each shot from where his previous shot landed. Similarly to the scramble, only 1 score per hole counts and the team with the best score after the round wins.

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