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What Is a Scramble in Golf?

What Is a Scramble in Golf?

If you're new to golf, you know the game can be hard to get into. From choosing the right ball to mastering your swing, there's a lot to keep track of.

One way to make the learning process more palatable is to play with buddies. The four-person scramble is the perfect format for this purpose. Instead of competing (badly) on your own, you'll have a team to support you.

What is a scramble in golf, you ask? To answer that, let's go over how this format works and how to make it work in your favor!

What Is a Scramble in Golf?

The scramble is one of the most popular golf team events. The most common variation involves four-player teams, but this isn't a hard-and-fast rule.

In a scramble, all players start by hitting their tee shots. The captain decides which shot they like best, which will often be the longest drive. After marking this spot, all players will hit from this spot in the next round.

In essence, this format gives you four attempts for each shot. If you're the longest hitter, you become the team's hero. If your shot is off the mark, you can still rely on your team to pick up the slack.

Scrambles are a popular way to play golf because they produce less pressure to score well. You can also try shots you'd usually consider too risky. The relaxed nature of this format makes it a great fit for charity events.

Golf Scramble Rules

As an informal format, golf scrambles don't have official rules. Here are some things the organizer may tinker with to make the game more fun.


A mulligan gives you a "redo" on a previous stroke. It's not allowed in official tournaments, but it's very popular in scrambles. Even so, you usually can't just get a free replay if the entire team misses an easy tap-in.

The most common way to use mulligans is to buy them before the round. In charity events, buying them can contribute to the cause of the tournament. Some events limit mulligans to the first couple of shots.

Number of Drives

Many golf events require a minimum number of drives from each player on the team. The number of drives varies based on the event, with three and four drives being the most common requirements.

A minimum number of drives per player adds to the challenge. It ensures a team can't rely on a single player to do everything. It also adds pressure in later rounds if the team needs a shot from a particular player.


In the case of a tie-breaker, the organizers have several methods of resolving it. The most common one is to draw a random hole number. The team that had the lowest score on that hole will be the winner.

Another way to do it is to draw a random hole number and have the team progress from it. To speed up the proceedings, teams may play for bogey or another specific objective.

Other Variations

Like most golf formats, a scramble lends itself well to different styles of play. Here are some of the most common golf scramble variations:

  • Texas scramble: Each player must contribute four drives
  • Florida scramble: The player whose drive is used sits out a round
  • Vegas scramble: Teams roll a die to determine which drive to use
  • Ambrose: Teams incorporate their members' handicaps
  • Bramble: A combination of scramble and best ball formats

Golf Scramble Strategy

Now that you know how a scramble works, let's talk strategy! Here's how to optimize your golf swing throughout a full round.

Tee Shots

Your tee box strategy in a scramble should revolve around distance. Scores in this format tend to be low, and hitting bombs makes a big difference. This is why it's essential to have a reliable driver in your golf club bag.

One key tip is to let your most accurate player hit first. Chances are, they'll consistently be able to get the ball in the fairway. This gives other team members more freedom to swing harder.

Decision-making plays a key role here as well. If you're choosing between a drive in the fairway and a 5-10 yards longer drive in the rough, go with the former. Fairway shots are more consistent, particularly with the spin.

Approach Shots

With approach shots, it's generally best to attack the pin with anything inside 150 yards. If you're outside this range, you may want to focus on getting on the green. In a scramble, few things are worse than missing the green.

The best strategy here is to play it safe with the first couple of shots. That way, other players can hit more aggressively. The best players in the team tend to go last, as this gives them time to judge the wind conditions.

Around the Green

If you do end up missing the green, consider holing out some chip shots. If you're hitting out of a bunker, though, focus on setting up an easy putt. The exact strategy will often depend on the specifics of your golf course.

On the green, the key is to be as aggressive as possible. If you're not the first putter, stand behind them to get a better look at their putt. The best putters should go last, as they'll have the most information.

If you can buy mulligans before a putt, do it. Using them on the greens provides a better return on investment than drives and approach shots. The only time you may want to break this rule is if you're on your final hole.

Play a Golf Scramble Today!

So, what is a scramble in golf? It's a fun format that allows beginners to learn to golf without facing too much pressure. The above guide will help you get acquainted with the format and do well playing it!

Feeling ready to put the theory into practice? At Golf Club of the Everglades, we offer a first-class golf experience on an 18-hole, Rees Jones-designed course. It's a members-only club, so become a member today!