What Is Golf Scramble; How to Play (2 and 4 Man Strategy)

People playing a golf scramble game

Golf is usually a complicated game to play, with many rules and regulations. Every player has to read the rule book and understand them before participating in tournaments. It can get pretty tedious for players not interested in playing the major leagues to have to do this.

Many golfers just want to enjoy a fun based game without any hassles. Most beginners don’t realize that different variations of the game of golf exist.

Golf Scramble is perhaps the most popular format out there. It’s truly a fun pick-up-and-play game which has all participants strategizing together. This format can be played without following any complicated rules either.

In this article I’ll share with you exactly what Scramble is, the basic rules, and how to play this game so you can beat your friends!


What Is Golf Scramble

Golf scramble is a casual format of golf which requires 2 teams to face each other. The idea of the game is that all players tee off from any hole. The best shot is then chosen and marked. All players must then take their next shot from this marked location until they get their ball in the hole.

In most cases, the team will choose the longest shot in the fairway as their best shot. This spot will be marked, and the other players will play until the ball is hit into the hole.


What Does Scramble Mean in Golf

Scramble golf refers to a fun and relaxed type of golf game that is played in the form of a tournament. There are no fixed rules and regulations for this game. It can be played by a group of players, but without any of the rules found in the Golf Rule book.

Scramble matches are played mainly during charity events. There are many variations of golf scramble to try, which has attracted many players to the format.

The game can be played between teams comprising of 2, 3 or 4 players. What I love about the game is that the rules are simple and flexible.

Players generally plan and decide on a set of rules before the start of every scramble game. This is where speaking up and choosing a format based on strategy comes in to play!  Organizers can decide on the regulations and scoring pattern for a scramble game.


How to Play Scramble Golf

How to play golf scramble? Scramble tournaments are super fun events, especially as the rules are pretty lax. In general, the team can play from any of the holes from the tee. The best shots will be decided upon by the team, and the score will be calculated on that basis.

During some games, each player’s best shot may be selected twice. There are no necessities for the golfers to use a particular club or a driver. They will have the freedom to use any club or driver they like.

In most cases, the team will choose the longest shot in the fairway as their best shot. This spot will be marked, and the other players will play until the ball is hit into the hole. The net score will then be calculated based on the total scored by each team.


Golf Scramble Rules Sheet

Each team will have a captain, and his best spot will be used. Some of the basic rules are as follows.

  • All the players in a team will be asked to tee off from any hole. This spot will be marked as their best spot.
  • Other players will follow a distance of 1 club from the best spot and try to hit the ball into the hole.
  • This procedure is continued until all the holes in the tee are covered.
  • The net scores will then be calculated for the team as a whole.
  • If you’re putting, the only exception will be playing from a distance of 3 inches from the best shot. Apart from this, everything else remains the same.


How Does Golf Scramble Work

Scramble Golf tournaments are mostly played in golf associations as relationship-building exercises between the members. Generally 4 different teams are formed for these games. In some cases, games consisting of only 2 or 3 member-team are played.

The rules generally remain the same despite the number of members in the team. It’s up to the organizing person to decide whether handicaps will be applied or not.

Another critical factor is the calculation of the scoring. Usually the gross scored will be used whereas in other games the net score is instead used.

What I enjoy about the game is how versatile the rules can be. This flexible approach keeps the game from getting boring.


Golf Scramble Format

The Scramble format of the game is primarily used for charity and fundraising functions. It is a popular form of the game since its interesting for both golfers and spectators. Remember the total score is tracked for the team as a whole.

First the best shots in the tee are decided on and then marked. Once this occurs, the other players then get to hit the ball from the marked spot. All the holes in scramble use this same basic format.

Sometimes a handicap value may also be added for the calculation of the scores. The final handicap will be calculated based on the individual handicaps of the members. However, this scoring method is usually used for the final scoring only.


2 Man Scramble Tournaments

2-man scramble golf tournaments are also known as 2 person scramble. They’re very similar to the 4-person tournaments. The only major difference in both is the number of players in a team.

The best shot is selected after both players take their shot. This area is marked, and further shots are played from this position. This process continues until the ball is hit into the hole. The final score is then calculated based on the aggregate of both the players’ ratings.

This game is perfect if you want to play a quick game. Of course it takes you less time to play a 2-man scramble compared to game with 4 or 6 players.

Handicaps may also be considered for a 2-man Scramble match. Course handicaps are calculated for both the players, to then come up with the final handicap.


4 Person Scramble Tournaments

Both 2-man and 4-man Scramble are very popular forms of the game. The significant difference between both the game formats is that the handicaps are generally considered in 2-man formats while they’re not used in the 4-player format.

The main reason for handicaps not being used when there’s 4 people present in a team, is due to the high probability of at least 1 person hitting a good shot in every round. This helps offset any handicaps between the players.

While I do love the basic version of golf scramble, there are some really interesting variations that can be introduced to make this game even better!

  • Each player can be asked to hit the shot twice which forces them to play 2 good shots in a row.
  • The other variation is not allowing any player to hit 2 continuous shots. This in turn forces every player to perform well, and not rely on a single person to win the game.


Texas Scramble in Golf

In the 1950s, the Texas Scramble took off as a very popular sport. Many don’t know that the original name was actually Captain’s Choice. However due to its popularity with the Texans, the Scramble name seems to have stuck.

The rules of the game are pretty much similar to the regular Scramble game. The team with the lowest net scored will be declared the winner. The best thing about this game is that even golfers who are not confident of playing well get a chance to play.


Scramble Vs Best Ball

The difference between a Golf Scramble and a Best Ball game is how players use their balls. In a Scramble format, all players first tee off. The best shot is decided upon which everyone will then take their following shot from. This differs in Best Ball where each player is instead given a separate ball to use.

When you play best ball, the scores are individually calculated for each payer. The lowest scores are considered for each hole. This continues on until all the holes are covered.

Best Ball is more of a serious game as all the players have to compete against each other. In Scramble, this is not strictly followed.

Best Ball is played with members who usually competent at golf. Again this differs in a 4-member Scramble format because even if one player in a team is weak, you have other members who can pick up the slack.


Strategies for Golf Scramble

Here are my favorite strategies for improving my golf scramble game:

  • Assemble a strong team with at least one person who can hit good shots.

  • Start the game with the person who has the most accurate shot. This will increase your chance of winning the round.

  • Make sure that your team can perform consistently well. If everyone in your team is at least competent, you are off to an excellent start.

  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of all the members up for selection.

  • Create a playing order to capitalize on the strengths of the members.

  • Make sure that the best player is not playing all the shots. This can tire him/her out when they might be needed to play some important shots during later rounds. Also keep in mind that people do get restless. This is why I prefer to get my team active so they’re not waiting to take their shot for long periods of time.



Scramble is an easy format of golf with very little rules or regulations to be followed. At the same time, it’s a very exciting variation of golf.

I feel golf scramble’s popularity stems from all the members of each team being required to play together.

Charity events usually try to host these types of games as these games are more interesting from the point of view of the spectators.

Remember that he rules are framed by the organizers of the game. Several modifications or variations of the game also exist which I have done my best to share with you.

In some games, the handicap values are considered for tallying up the scores, while others the handicap values are not used at all.

I find Scramble to be an exciting take on the regular golf tournament. As golf is normally a quite serious and challenging sport, it’s nice to see a format that brings in more casual fans to the golf course.

Anytime I have introduced scramble golf to a new group of people, I get a smile on my face. Watching each team strategizing together is a beautiful thing to witness. This is what golf should be; pure simple fun!

Make no mistake about it. Scramble is a team sport that’s also really fun to watch as a spectator. I challenge you to take along your friends or family, and watch everyone scramble to join in on the fun!

For some advanced strategies, read my guide to improving your golf swing


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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