Official Golf Scramble Rules

Using the Golf Scramble Rules format at your next golf event is sure to be a hole-in-one!

Scramble rules can give less experienced golfers a chance to win, creating a more competitive overall atmosphere. Simultaneously, this format can alleviate the stress put on individual golfers.

There are multiple variations in which a Scramble golf tournament can be held, however, the basic rules are always the same.

The Basics

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Golf scramble events are made up of teams. Teams can be as small as two players but are typically made up of four golfers.

Each team posts one score per hole and for scoring purposes, that score acts as one single golfer.

All team members tee off. The team will then choose the best shot and all team members will move their ball to within a club’s length of the selected shot. All team members will hit their second shot from this position.

After hitting their second shot, the team will repeat the selection process and play their third shot and so on.

Once on the green, the ball must be marked (ideally with a tee) and all puts must be made within a putter’s head length of the tee (no closer to the hole).

Scoring only counts the selected shots. Teams are expected to score much lower than an individual scores on their own.

Golf Scramble Rules Breakdown

  1. Teams are selected with 2+ members.
  2. All team members tee off on every hole.
  3. Team members must select the most desirable shot and all team members hit their following shot from this ball position. This repeats on every shot until the hole is finished.
  4. Team members must hit all shots from within one club length of the selected shot.
  5. Once on the green, the selected shot must be marked before any put is taken.
  6. All puts must be made from within 1 putter head length of the marked location.
  7. Players may not use the club or putter head length to move closer to the hole.
  8. Players moving their ball to the selected shot may place their ball for the best lie, however, they may not move the ball to improve the type of lie they have (cannot move the ball out of a hazard, out of the rough, or onto the green).
  9. The player whose ball is selected may not improve their lie.
  10. The score is recorded as if the team is a single player.

Rules Variations

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A golf scramble can have multiple variations and you are likely to encounter “House Rules” at the event you are playing.

There are an unlimited number of possible golf scramble rules variations. These are the 5 most frequently used.

Variation 1 – Rotating Shots

A common variation is rotating the shots that are eligible for selection. In this variation, the player whose previous shot was selected is not eligible for selection on the current shot.

This variation can invoke strategy.

For instance, if a team has a tap in putt, it is wise to have their worst tee player make the putt.

Variation 2 – Limited Tee Selection

This variation requires all players tee shots to be selected a minimum number of times.

This can really hurt a team with only one strong player but can help teams with multiple average players.

Variation 3 – Different Player on Every Shot

Similar to rotating shots, this variation requires a team to select a player’s shot who has not yet been used (per hole).

Once all players’ shots have been used on a hole, all players’ shots again become eligible for selection.

Variation 4 – Three Player Team

Three player teams can be a variation, or it can be used if you’re one golfer shy in an event.

With three player teams, rules continue as normal, just with three players.

When a team is short a golfer, the fourth can be rotated on each shot among the three team members.

In this instance, a team member will get to shoot twice on each shot.

Variation 5 – Strict

All team members must drop their ball at shoulder height when moving to the selected area.

Unlike normal rules, in this variation players may not fluff their lie.

While it may not seem like a big deal at first glance, this variation can play heavily into shot selection. In normal scramble formats the rough is not always terrible. The strict variation will make you think a little harder about the shot you select.

Picking Golf Scramble Teams

Scramble teams are usually informal and put together by a team captain. Handicaps may be used to equalize scoring but are rarely used in team selection.

There are a few key components every successful golf scramble team has. When you’re putting together your team, keep these in mind:

The Longman

The Longman
Courtesy Golf Digest

His short game sucks, but oh, man can he hit it long. To achieve the low score you’re looking for, you’re going to need some 300+ yard drives.

Scramble is a great format for long hitters because being in the fairway is not overly important. Being able to place your ball in the rough makes a Longman an important grab when filling up your team.

The Crafty Old Guy

From inside 100 yards, this guy is deadly. Yeah, he uses a hybrid or a wood on any shot over 150, but his putt and chip game is on point.

You may not use a single one of his drives, but you’ll end up using all his shots around the green.

The Crafty Old Guy is sure to knock off some strokes.

Mr. Consistent

Someone has to put it out there 270 and straight just in case the Longman ends up a few holes over.

Mr. Consistent is the glue that will hold your hodge podge team together and put you up on the podium.

Often the first to step up to the plate and swing, Mr. Consistent is a must have on any competitive golf scramble team.

The Gambler

He’s a 15 handicap when no money is on the line, but bet him a dollar and he transforms into Brooks Koepka.

The Gambler is most effective on putts where the rest of the team choked and drives where the first three swingers went O.B.

The Gambler is the ultimate anchor that plays his best when the rest of the team is at their worst. A great stroke decreaser and morale booster.

Bonus: Miss Longman

Maybe she played in college or maybe her dad just really liked golf, but either way, this girl can bomb the ball.

Stick her on the red tees and you officially have the longest drive on every hole.

Equally as great, women are innately fantastic putt and chip’ers. Not only is this girl making every par 5 reachable in two, she’s also knocking off strokes around the green.

Basic Golf Scramble Strategy

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Courtesy Golf Monthly

There are many ways to play. Having a strategy can not only decrease your score but also make the game more fun too.

Chances are you’ll be checking the real-time Scrolf Leaderboard to see where you stand. If you want to see your team’s name at the top, these are a couple strategies that seem to benefit teams more often than they let them down.

Off the Tees

Let your most consistent players tee off first. Putting something in the fairway or close to it will take the stress off other team members and gives big hitters the chance to swing free.

Laying Up

When your team is between going for it and laying up, have the first hitter up lay up.

Ideally, use a player who has no chance of going for it to lay up.

Putting

Have your worst putters go first to let your better putters see the line.

Beware, sometimes bad putters are bad because they cut their puts and their ball will have exaggerated or less break than normal.

Chipping

Have your best chippers go first. If they mess up have players more likely to duff a chip putt from that location.

Playing it Safe

Playing it safe may get you on the leaderboard, but rarely does it win you a trophy.

The best teams will likely be well below par and it is important you take some risks.

Most Important

A golf scramble is supposed to be an enjoyable event. If you find yourself slamming your club on the ground and cussing up a storm, you’re doing it wrong.

Crack open a couple beers and enjoy your time on the course. Scrambles can be a great way to get to know other members of your team as you’ll be playing every shot together.

Have fun out there and be a good teammate.

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