Golf Scramble Rules Explained

Last update:

Golf Scrambles are a favorite among players who like playing in tournament events. They are particularly popular in charity events or other fundraisers.

The team format of a scramble has many perks like lower scores, quicker rounds, and team spirit. If this sounds like something you would enjoy playing, then buckle up as you’re about learn everything about golf scramble.

Golf Scramble Rules Explained

Defining Golf Scramble

Golf scramble lets teammates play the course in a best ball arrangement. Scrambles typically have players setup in teams between two and four players. Even though scrambles do happen outside of tournaments, golfers generally favor playing them play them during organized events.

Golf scramble happens when team members all hit from the same spot on every shot, with the team choosing the best ball for their next shot. This goes on to the point until the hole is completed. This form of playing eliminates the need to take penalty shots or hit from the woods or bunkers. 

Different Types of Scrambles

There are no boundaries when it comes to the total players who participate in a game of scramble. For quicker rounds and higher participation, most scrambles use three and four-player teams. Let’s run over the most common scramble golf games that you are likely to find.

In a three-player scramble you will find three players on each team. Typically, two teams will play together in the tournament, which makes for fun competition and banter.

In a four-player scramble you will have four players on each team. Four-player teams usually play the round without other teams in the game. With each player playing from the same spot, the rounds typically end quicker than when the four players played a stroke play arrangement.

Sometimes, scrambles need players of different skills on each team. 

For instance, some organizers require that teams consist of different skill sets like a low handicapper, two medium-range handicappers, and a high handicapper. Here, the golf scramble rules often need the team to play the least amount of the high handicapper’s drives or other shots.

What Are The Rules For A Scramble?

Now to get to the main topic at hand. It’s an interesting fact that the rules of golf scramble are not discussed in the United States Golf Association (USGA). Golf scrambles normally fall in line with rules concerning bunkers, hazards and similar scenarios set by the USGA. In most cases the organizer of these event makes their own rules. The rules can be anything as long as those who take part in the game are having fun. 

Common rules in golf scrambles:

  • The team agrees on best ball and plays all of their shots from that spot.
  • When it comes to shots off of the green, every player must play within a scorecard of where the ball came to rest. Sometimes a club length is used instead of a scorecard.
  • Where a shot is played on the green, each player has to play within a putter’s head of where the ball came to rest. Players normally leave a mark near to where the ball stopped. This helps in spotting the ball. 
  • People who organize these events include their own rules. Many sell mulligans before the round. Mulligans are just a fancy word for a second chance. So, this basically gives a player the opportunity to take an extra shot from the same spot. This happens when the results of all their shots are not ideal. Getting an extra swing gives the opportunity of lowering the score on the hole. Mulligans are on mostly used on putts.

A Good Gameplay Strategy

The arrangement of the team significantly affects the capacity to win. Good players to have in a team include: an accurate player, an explosive bomber, and a steady putter. 

When you have your crew assembled, your next step is to consider the order in which your team plays shots. Generally, your most precise player should play first from the tee or fairway. If the accurate player hits a decent shot. This battle plan lets other players make more potent swings. From the tee, your longest hitter should take the last shot. If one of the other team members lands the ball on the fairway, the long hitter can effortlessly fire the ball down the fairway.

When the more accurate player hits a good shot from the fairway, the others can take more chances. On a par 5, they can aim to reach the green in two chances. On a par four, they can try stronger lines to the pin. 

Players are generally permitted to stand behind one another when it comes to putting. Letting the second-best putter go first, gives the other players the opportunity to observe the line of the putt. The ability to see the line of the putt expands each of the following player’s ability to score. 

When the best putters go last, they will be able to see multiple putts which gives them the advantage of knocking the ball in the hole. Players who are not so great when it comes to the putting side of things, should be sandwiched in the middle. This gives them a chance to play without drastically affecting the game. 

The careful use of your mulligans can be an advantage as well. Ludicrous uses of a mulligan would be on a 30-foot putt or tee shot. They can be better used in shorter putts and wedge shots to name a few. 

Tips for Organizing a Scramble Round

Even though golf scrambles normally take place in tournaments, there is nothing that stops you from arranging a few casual rounds. When you do set up set up your scramble rounds, remember that many courses usually limit groups to five players or less. If you want to organize a scramble event with a bigger group, you might have to contact the course and organize your own tournament. 

Organizing The Teams

When you organize a two-person two teams have to play together in the same group. Prior to launching the round, you should decide whether you want to give each team mulligans or if other special rules need to be implemented. When it comes to a three or four-man scramble, several tee times will be required. 

Every group would play on their own and use scorecards to establish the winner of the day. 

Although stroke play rounds are popular, most say no to the random scramble challenge. The unique format and the assorted shots, give a welcome diversion to the standard round.

Determine Your Budget

Before starting an event that is aimed at fundraising you have to ask yourself a few crucial questions.

  • What is your financial target? 
  • What will the costs be out of your own pocket? 
  • How much would the hosting course charge you?
  • What are the expenses on food, drink, prizes, and other assorted items? 

Planning a golf outing might seem daunting, especially in the beginning stages. There will be many things to think about and plan. Having a well thought-out budget will turn this apparent challenge into a more controllable task.

Pick the Right Golf Course

Choosing the right location for the event is the foundation to having a fantastic event.  In most cases you will find many courses a stone’s throw from each other. With that in mind you will always have a few playing options available to pick the best course for you. 

It does happen that golf scramble event organizers, have a favorite course that they would like to play on. That is fantastic news when you have a course in mind that you want to play on. Have the tournament there. 

Think about who you would like to have playing at the event. They should be able to adapt to the challenges of the course, but it also needs to be exciting enough for them to encourage participation. It has to be something different than the courses than they are used to. 

You want the players to come back for more.

Sell A Fun Event

The players are putting their hard earned cash and time to play in the event. Make the effort to create an entertaining experience.  

Here’s just a few things you can do to ensure that the players have one heck of a time:

  • Take a group selfie prior to teeing off 
  • Everyone likes having things they can look back on, so stack some ,souvenirs like a hats or a sleeve of balls 
  • Everyone needs something to drink on a hot sunny day. Offer tickets for a free drink
  • Team awards for first, second, third place; split-the-pot.

If you want to host something that has a bit more glamour, you could hold raffles or even auction for golf clubs. Just remember that regardless of the size of the event, you have to make it fun so people can come back.


There are no strict rules when it comes to golf scrambles. The whole point is to bring the players together and figure the best way to play every hole. Keep the scores low and the team spirit high. Scrambles are also ideal for putting variety in your golfing routine. Playing golf scrambles will let you see a whole new side of golfing. 

Got Someone In Mind To Share With
Photo of author


Justin, a fanatic golf writer, has a passion for sharing tips and tricks on improving one's golfing game. Researching the latest gear and game enhancements so you can save time and effort doing it yourself. Be on the lookout for his next piece.

Disclaimer: We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products and this post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Take A Mulligan, Here's More Reading For You