Golf Scramble Tournament: Rules, Strategies, And Variations

A golfer has hit a shot and other golfers are watching his hot on the golf course.

A golf scramble is a great way for teammates to play the course together in the direction of winning. From understanding the rules to coming up with strategies to maximize your team’s success, we’ll have everything you need to know to make the most of your game!

Golf is an increasingly popular sport. It has inspired the emergence of many modified formats. But one form that has achieved fame from coast-to-coast is golf scramble! 

If you’re not familiar with this game yet, here’s a detailed overview to help you up.

What is a golf scramble?

The golf scramble is a fun and dynamic way of playing a round of golf. It allows players of different skill levels and ages to play together to achieve their best possible score. 

Most tournaments usually have teams of three or four people; however, solo scrambles also occur. While you can play this format outside official tournaments, this format tends to be more popular in organized events.

In the scramble, simultaneous shots are taken from the same spot, and the team members choose and hit their best ball for each shot. This process continues until they finish the hole. 

This type of format eliminates any need for penalty strokes or hits in areas such as trees and bunkers since one team member generally puts it into a better position than before.

How to play a scramble in golf?

Playing the scramble in golf can be very enjoyable for novice and advanced players. You need to know the format and rules to play scramble better and enjoy the game.

Golf scramble format

A golf scramble typically involves teams of four players. Each player on the team takes a tee shot, and the team selects the best shot and plays their next shot from that spot. This continues until the ball is holed, and the team records one score for each hole.

The objective of the golf scramble format is to achieve the lowest score possible for the round, with each team member contributing to the overall score.

When a team achieves the lowest score in a golf scramble tournament is said to have “won the Scramble.” The team members are acknowledged for their accomplishments, and it can be a significant achievement in the golfing community.

Breakdown of Golf Scramble Rules

  • Teams consist of at least two members.
  • Each team member tees off on every hole.
  • The team selects the most favorable shot, and all members play subsequent shots from that position.
  • Shots must be played within one club length of the chosen shot.
  • On the green, the selected shot is marked before any putting.
  • Putts must be attempted from within one putter head length of the marked spot.
  • Players cannot use their clubs to advance closer to the hole.
  • Moving a ball to the selected shot allows for optimal placement, but without improving the lie.
  • The player whose shot is chosen cannot enhance their lie.
  • Team score is recorded collectively as if they were one player.

Different types of golf scramble

Playing the scramble in golf can be very enjoyable for novice and advanced players. You need to know the format and rules to play scramble better and enjoy the game.

In some cases, the team may have to decide to play a scramble golf variation that speeds up the pace of play. Some of the common variations are mentioned below.

1. Texas scramble

Texas scramble is quite similar to the conventional scramble fold format, which includes four team members and standard rules. However, the Texas scramble has minor differences in some parts, such as every player must contribute at least four drives throughout the duration of play.

2. Florida Scramble

For this variation of golf, one team member will be chosen randomly after each stroke to take the next off. This means that every player takes alternating strokes throughout the entire round, except for their drive on each hole.

3. Las Vegas scramble

This variation enables four teams to compete, making use of 6-sided dice. You can roll the dice on each hole during the round and decide which member’s drive will be used for that particular hole. An enjoyable game with exciting surprises waiting!

4. Ambrose

Combine a scramble with a team handicap, and you will play golf using net scores based on everyone’s handicaps. This variation is perfect for groups with players at different levels!

5. Bramble

This scramble variation brings together the best of both worlds, scramble and best ball. Players begin by forming a team to play a scramble off the tee. After that, every golfer is on their own until they make it into the hole!

Variations in Rules

Golf scrambles often feature various rule variations, including “House Rules” specific to each event.Multiple variations exist for golf scrambles, with the following five being the most common.

Different player on every shot: In this variation, every player must take turns hitting the first shot, and then the team chooses which ball to play from for the second shot. This continues throughout the round, with each player taking turns as the designated first shot hitter.

Three player team: As the name suggests, this variation is played with only three players instead of four. The team selects which player will sit out each hole, rotating so everyone has an equal number of sitting outs.

Limited tee selection: To add an extra challenge, some variations limit the number of tee options available on each hole. This forces players to strategize and adapt to different starting distances on each hole.

Rotating shots: Each player takes turns being the designated shot hitter for the entire hole. This means that the player must hit the tee shot, approach shot, and putt for their team. The rotation continues throughout the round so all players have an equal number of designated shots.

Captain’s Choice: In this variation, the captain or designated leader for each team makes all decisions on shot selections and strategy. This can add a different dynamic to the game and test the leadership skills of each team’s captain.

Handicaps in Scramble Tournaments

In scramble tournaments, there aren’t strict rules regarding how handicaps should be implemented. The USGA and other handicapping bodies don’t provide specific guidelines. This means tournament organizers have the flexibility to create their own rules for team handicaps.

However, the following team handicap allowances are commonly used when calculating net scores in a scramble:

For a four-person scramble: In a scramble tournament, every golfer in the team determines their course handicap. Then, 20% of the A player’s handicap, 15% of the B player’s, 10% of the C player’s, and 5% of the D player’s handicaps are added up. This total represents the team’s scramble handicap.

For a three-person scramble: Combine 20% of the A player’s course handicap, 15% of the B player’s, and 10% of the C player’s to determine the team’s scramble handicap.

For a two-person scramble: Add 35% of the A player’s course handicap to 15% of the B player’s handicap to calculate the combined handicap for the team.

Other Variations in a Scramble Tournament

When organizing a scramble tournament, there are several variations that can be adopted to add an extra dimension of strategy to the game. One of the most popular variations requires teams to use at least one drive (or two) from every player on the team. This means that the best lie will not always be chosen for every shot, making the game more challenging and exciting.

However, there is also a cruel variation known as the reverse scramble. In this format, golfers from the team hit subsequent shots from the worse location rather than from the best. This makes it even more difficult for the team to achieve a low score and requires them to rely on each other’s skills and expertise to overcome the challenges. 

Strategies To Help Win At Scramble Golf.

Let’s have a look at few strategies to help you win at scramble golf:

Order of play: In scramble golf, it’s important to strategize based on each player’s strengths and weaknesses. Weaker players should tee off first, while the best putter should play the final shot on each green.

Selection of ball for approach shots: Prioritize the ball with the best lie and view of the hole. The goal is to reach the green with the fewest strokes possible.

Team composition: A successful scramble team comprises players with various skills, including great putters, accurate drivers, and long hitters.

Teeing off: Typically, the most accurate player should tee off first to ensure the ball lands in the fairway. The longest hitter goes last, with other players positioned accordingly.

Putting: During this phase, the weakest putter should go first, followed by the next best, and the best putter taking the final shot for accuracy.

On par-5 holes: Shorter hitters should play first, allowing big hitters to follow up and gain distance towards a lower score.

Communication is Key: Good communication between team members is essential in a scramble. Make sure to discuss strategy before each shot and communicate any changes or adjustments throughout the round.

Tee Box Strategy

Distance is Key: In order to score well in a golf scramble, it’s important to hit long shots off the tee, as this can give you more opportunities to make birdies and eagles. Having shorter shots into the green will also make it easier to hit accurate approach shots and make putts.

Play Order Matters: When deciding on the playing order, it’s a good idea to let the most accurate player go first. This will increase the chances of getting a ball in the fairway, giving the other players the freedom to take more aggressive lines and hit harder shots.

Take Risks: Be bold and take risks with your shots, as scores in scrambles are typically low.

Have a Long Hitter: To succeed in a scramble, it’s helpful to have at least one player on your team who can hit the ball a long way, as this will increase your chances of getting on par 5s in two shots and setting up good looks at eagle putts

Consider the course layout: Take into account the distance, obstacles, and layout of the hole before hitting the tee shot. Some holes may require a draw or fade shot to avoid hazards, while others may favor a straight shot. For example, if the ball is 30-40 yards in the rough and not too thick, it might be worth going for the longer drive.

Approach Shot Strategy

In a scramble golf tournament, the approach shot strategy is crucial to achieve a low score. Golfers should aim for any shot inside 150 yards to get as close to the pin as possible, but should take note of potential hazards before deciding on an approach. If the shot is  outside the 150-yard range, it’s better to play it safer than normal to ensure getting on the green. 

Having the first or second player hit the shot safely is a prudent strategy.Better players should go last in approach shots to account for wind and other conditions.

Green Course Strategy

In a four-person scramble, it’s essential to hit greens in regulation for birdie opportunities, but if you miss, try to hit chip shots and aim for an easy par putt. Focus on hitting the green and avoiding unnecessary risks, as the team’s best shot is the one that counts.

Putting Strategy

When it comes to putting in a scramble, it’s important to be aggressive and get the ball as close to the hole as possible. This approach also helps the rest of the team get a good idea of the green’s break and speed. 

It’s common for the other golfers to stand behind the first putter to get a better look at the putt. The order of play doesn’t matter, but typically the best putter or most clutch player goes last to see how everyone’s putts react.

Golf scramble vs Golf Shamble

Golf Shamble and Golf Scramble are two popular tournament formats with some key differences: 

  • In a Golf Scramble, the best shot from each player is selected for every shot, including putts whereas in a Golf Shamble, players select the best drive and then play their own ball from there. This means players in a Golf Shamble will hit more of their own shots.
  • In a Golf Shamble, players may take at least one best gross and one best net score at the end of each hole. However, in a Golf Scramble, only one score is recorded for the entire hole. This gives players a more accurate idea of what their score would have been if they played their own ball.
  • In both formats, there are rules regarding the number of drives each team member must contribute. Typically, in a four-person format, each team member must contribute at least two drives.
  • While most tournaments are played in a four-person format, it is possible to play a two-person shamble or scramble. The pace of play for both formats is generally similar, but the scramble is usually shorter. 

It’s essential to understand the rules and strategy of each format to play your best golf.

Scramble vs. best ball

Scrambling or best ball are both format forms in recreational golf matches. This format is not used for professional play but is commonly used at recreational tournaments and international events, such as the Ryder Cup and President’s Cup.

Scrambling involves deciding on the best shot and then playing from the same shot. The most efficient ball occurs when everyone is playing one ball throughout the hole with the greatest scoring. Golf can often be a single sport, but playing with a team and combining these activities with scramble formats can be a great way.


A golf scramble is a great way to bring a group of friends together to enjoy a fun and competitive round of golf. It encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and friendly competition and can be a great way to build team spirit.


1. What Is A 2 Man Scramble In Golf?

In golf, a 2-man scramble is quite similar to a 4-man scramble, except for the number of players in each group. As the name suggests, a 2-man scramble has only two players in each group. While the rules remain the same, playing in a 2-man scramble can be a bit more challenging than playing in a 4-man scramble. Since there are only two players in each group, they do not have as many options on each shot, making it harder to go as low. In this type of event, players are paired with another to form a team.

2. Does A Hole In One In A Scramble Count?

Achieving a hole in one is rare. There are spotters on the green to verify the authenticity of the shot. Some tournaments require the player to buy drinks for everyone, while others offer lucrative prizes like cars or cash.

3. How Do Handicaps Work In A Scramble?

In golf scrambles, the tournament typically produces low scores. Adding handicaps to the equation can make organizing the event difficult for the event organizers. Therefore, most of them do not allow handicaps. 

4. Is there a dress code for scramble events?

It is best to check with the event organizers or golf course beforehand, but typically a casual and respectable attire is acceptable. Avoid wearing anything that may be considered offensive or disruptive to others.

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