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What is a scramble in golf? Unraveling the Mystery

Jul 02,2024 | Anthony Stuart

Table of Content

Scramble tournaments are among the most popular formats in golf, offering a fun and team-oriented twist to the game. It's where golfers come together in teams, playing with relaxed rules that prioritize teamwork. This format has captured the hearts of many golf enthusiasts, drawing players who appreciate the camaraderie and strategic play it encourages. If you're curious about what is a scramble in golf, this article is here to give you the lowdown.

What is scrambling golf?

The golf scramble is a format that allows golfers to retain a par score even if they miss the green. This can be achieved by maneuvering out of hazards or hitting the ball close to the hole and then making a putt from wherever it lands. Below, you'll find more information about the history, format, and benefits of playing a golf scramble.

History of scrambling

Scramble formats gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a casual and enjoyable way to play golf with friends. Over time, it evolved into a favored format for charity events, corporate outings, and amateur competitions worldwide due to its flexible rules and emphasis on teamwork.

Team model

Scrambles are tournaments that allow teammates to compete in a best-ball format. Scrambles typically involve two to four players and emphasize teamwork. Many tournaments at the Pinehurst Resort Golf Club feature three- and four-person scrambles. The club has hosted numerous major championships and is renowned for its classic design and challenging greens.

Advantages of Scramble Golf

One of the primary advantages of scramble golf is its inclusivity for golfers of varying abilities. By leveraging the best shot from each player, teams can strategize collectively to achieve the lowest possible score. This format fosters camaraderie, teamwork, and a relaxed environment, making it popular for both competitive tournaments and casual outings.

Rules of Scramble Golf

Team Composition: Each team ideally consists of four players who will tee off first on each hole and then decide, by consensus, which tee shot to use.

Best Shot Selection: After teeing off, each golfer will choose the best shot from the selected position.

Within One Club Length: The chosen shot must be within one club length, and the player can improve the shot's length by positioning the ball through

Winning the Scramble: The best scores from each hole are added together to determine the rank of the Scramble team, based on the best shot totals. The team with the lowest total for the round will be the Scramble gold medal winner. In the event of a tie, the organizer will randomly select a hole number and determine the winner based on the team's lowest score on that hole.

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What Are the Different Types of Golf Scrambles?

Golf scrambles differ from region to region and are categorized into the following five groups:


In a Texas Scramble, each player on the team tees off. The team then selects the best tee shot from this position. From there, each player hits their ball for the next shot. This process continues until the ball is in the hole. It is similar to a traditional scramble but requires that each player's tee shot must be used a certain number of times during a round, for example, once every nine holes.


A Florida scramble, also known as a "handicap scramble," is a golf format in which, after each stroke, the player selected to hit the ball sits out the next stroke. This rotation continues throughout the round to ensure each player makes a balanced contribution.

Las Vegas

In the Las Vegas Scramble, each player on the team tees off. After the initial tee shot, the team selects the best shot and all players play their next shot from that position. From there, play follows the traditional scramble format, with the best ball being selected until the hole is complete


The Bramble match, also known as a Shamble match, combines the Scramble and Best Ball formats. In this format, each player tees off and then the team selects the best tee shot. From there, each player plays their ball until the hole is completed, and the team records the best score for each hole.


Ambrose is a team system of play that is similar to a traditional scramble but with some differences. Each player on the team tees off, and then the team selects the best tee shot. From that point on, each player plays their ball until the hole is completed. At the end of the round, the near misses are taken into account to determine the final team score, which is much fairer for teams of different levels.

The Annual list of PGA Tour scramble leaders by 2024

list of PGA Tour scramble

The Annual List of PGA Tour Scramble from Cbssports in 2024

In recent years, American golfers have been leading the PGA Tour scramble with excellent results.

2024: Xander Schauffele leads the pack with an impressive 69.41% scrambling rate, followed closely by Aaron Baddeley at 69.37%.

2023: Brian Harman showcased his short-game wizardry, clocking in at 67.74%.

2022: Matt Fitzpatrick danced around the greens, boasting a 69.62% scrambling rate.

2021: Patrick Cantlay worked his magic with a 67.30% rate.


Scramble golf is a total blast, especially at charity events! It's all about bringing players together to strategize their way through each hole. Beyond just being competitive and showcasing skill and tactics, it's really about bonding and sharing in the thrill of success as a team. It's perfect for fostering that team spirit and making memories out on the course.


What are some ways to help improve your odds of winning at a golf scramble?

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What is the purpose of scrambling?

The purpose of scrambling in golf is to assess and highlight a player's ability to recover from missing the green in regulation (not hitting the green with your approach shot) and still make par or better. It emphasizes a player's short game skills, including chipping, pitching, bunker play, and putting from off the green.

How is scrambling calculated on the PGA Tour?

On the PGA Tour, scrambling is calculated using the "Scrambling Percentage." This percentage represents the number of times a player successfully makes par or better after missing the green in regulation, divided by the total number of opportunities to scramble. An opportunity to scramble occurs when a player misses the green but still makes par or better on that hole. This statistic helps measure a player's effectiveness in recovering from challenging situations around the green.