If you get invited to play in a golf event, chances are there will be some type of format that you are asked to play.
The format is going to determine the type of day that you have while on the golf course.
Understanding the different golf formats and making sure that you like them is going to be a major factor in deciding if you want to play in an event like this.
Two of the most popular formats that golfers play in are the best ball and the scramble.
If you are not sure exactly what the difference is between these two tournaments, we are here to help.
Here is everything that you need to know about the difference between a best ball and a scramble.
Difference Between Best Ball And Scramble
The main difference between a best ball and a scramble is that with a best ball, you will play your own golf shot from the tee to the green.
The best ball and scramble formats are popular for golf tournaments, outings, and fundraisers because they allow golfers to enjoy the course even if they aren’t great players.
Each of the formats can be quite a bit of fun, and they tend to take some of the pressure away when it comes to scoring low.
If you are new to the game of golf or simply want to ensure that your time spent on the course is fun and lower in stress, then it’s good to understand these formats.
We are going to break down the difference between a best ball and a scramble so that you can understand what they are, and which is more fun for you to play.
1. Best Ball Format Rules
So many golfers get best ball and scramble confused.
This is because many players think that the best ball format means choosing the best ball from the group.
Although it can mean this, it really means choosing the best score from the group.
A best ball format involves every person playing the entire hole from start to finish.
At the end of the hole, whoever had the lowest score is going to be the score that counts for that hole.
Essentially, if everyone in the group makes a 6 and you make a 5, your score will count.
Best Ball tournaments can be played both gross and net scoring.
The gross scores are those who do not have handicaps involved.
Therefore, if you take four physical shots to get the ball in the hole, the total score for the hole is a 4.
If you take four shots, but your handicap allowed you to get a stroke for that hole, then your net score is going to be a 3.
Many best ball formats will take into account both gross and net scores.
The problem is, however, that for many of these tournaments, it is hard to tell if a handicap is accurate, and that is why the net scores are not always part of the event.
For the most part, if you are going to a golf outing or event and the format is best ball, plan to play with your own golf ball for the entire round.
2. Scramble Format Rules
A scramble format is much different from a best ball.
When you play in a scramble, you will not be playing your own golf round the entire time.
At first, you will tee off on the hole, and the best drives will be chosen.
From there, everyone moves forward and hits a shot from the location of the best drive.
This format is then repeated until the ball is in the hole.
You will continue to move forward to the best shot each time and play from there.
This makes the scramble much more of a team format, and therefore, it is going to be vital that you at least understand a bit about how this is played.
Most of the time, a scramble format requires that each person use at least two of their drives.
The idea here is that if you don’t use some of the shots from everyone, then one player could dominate the entire match.
A scramble is a great format when golfers are not all that experienced.
They can step up and hit a shot, and if it doesn’t go well, it really won’t matter.
The other players can fill in, and as a team, you can shoot the lowest score possible.
Scrambles require quite a bit of strategy if you want to get really good at them.
Teams learn the best order to follow and start to do things like have the longest hitter go last.
This allows everyone else to put a ball in the fairway first.
Once everyone has a ball in the fairway, the long hitter can step up and try to hit the ball as far as possible.
Other strategies include some work on the putting greens.
If you are going to be putting on the putting greens, it makes sense to put the best putter last.
Let the other putters go and attempt to make it.
If they can’t make it, then the putter with the best ability will go, and they will have a chance to make the putt.
Another thing to consider with the scramble is which shot you decide to play.
Sometimes when you have a ball in the middle of the fairway, but it is 30 yards further back from the hole, it can be worth hitting the shot that is in the low rough.
There are lots of ways to go about this scenario, and if you play in a scramble format, it can really help to play with an experienced player who understands the game.
That player can help you determine the best strategies and see what makes sense for the strength of your golf team.
Overall, the experience of playing in a scramble is supposed to be fun and entertaining, so this is not going to be a perfect choice for those who are very dedicated to their golf game and only want to play their own shots.
If you had to play a scramble every time you went out to play, it would probably get old, but every once in a while, these really are a lot of fun.
What Is Better: A Best Ball Or Scramble Tournament?
If you are going to run an event and are not sure if you should be doing a best ball or a scramble format, you will have a difficult decision to make.
The best way to make this determination is to look at the ability of those in the field who are playing.
If the players are better players and the course is a well-known, better golf course, it makes sense to do a best ball event.
If the golfers are new to the game or casual weekend golfers, then the scramble is the best choice.
One of the biggest benefits of the scramble format is the fact that you can get around the golf course at a pretty fast pace.
Essentially, if you are playing your own golf ball, there are holes that you will have to take a while because you get into trouble, or somebody gets a penalty.
With the scramble team format, you are always picking the best ball.
Even though it may take a bit of time to pick up the other golf balls and bring them to the point where the best shot landed, this does not take too much time.
From the players’ standpoint, sometimes a scramble or a best ball format will make someone choose whether or not they would like to participate in an event.
For instance, if a tournament is a scramble format, but it is held at a prestigious club and the entry fee is high, many players may not even sign up.
This is because these players would rather save their money and play an event where they can use their own golf ball.
In addition, you can face the opposite of this situation with those who are really more casual business golfers as opposed to serious golfers.
Being new to the game and not understanding all of the rules, it can be really scary to try and play your own ball through the entire event.
These players may avoid a best ball tournament altogether.
In the end, you can see there are positives and negatives to both sides of this argument.
There really will be no way to say that one format is better than the other format.
In the end, it is just a matter of different styles as opposed to one being better than the other.
Can High Handicappers Play A Best Ball?
High handicappers can play a best ball tournament, but they will need to be prepared to have a bit of a long day.
The thing with a best ball tournament is that you will be playing your own ball the entire round of golf.
However, with most best ball tournaments, you will only need one score out of the four people who are playing.
Therefore, for those who are taking their six-shot while all the other golfers are on the green in two, it is really okay to pick up and move on.
The fact that you could end up having to play so many holes of golf with your own ball the entire time is really not a reality.
For the most part, there will be someone who is having a good enough hole that you can pick up if you want to.
High handicappers should try and play the best they can on the holes where their handicap is going to earn them a few strokes.
Although it may not help the gross score all that much, the net score could drop quite a bit.
What Is The Difference Between Better Ball And Best Ball?
The difference between better ball and best ball is that the best ball is the name for an event with three- or four-person teams.
Better ball is the name of the event for a two-person team.
Most of the time, better ball tournaments can be played almost like a match with two-person teams playing against each other.
If you are heading to a golf outing and someone tells you that the format is a better ball, chances are they are referring to a best ball event.
People get these two tournament formats confused even though they are different.
As we mentioned in the past, golf terminology tends to get more and more confusing all the time.
To avoid confusion, it’s helpful to simply learn these terms and try and keep them in your mind for your future reference.
Chances are it’s going to take a little bit to get comfortable, but then once you do, you will understand all that is involved.
Tips For Playing Great In A Golf Event Or Outing
Now that you have the formats all figured out, the only thing left to do is play well.
If you will be playing in a golf outing with friends, family, or even work associates, chances are you will want to play well.
There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your scores are going to be as low as possible.
Let’s look at a few things that will help you prepare for your next golf outing.
1. Bring Water
If you are not used to being on a golf course, it’s a good idea to bring some water with you.
If you have water, you can stay hydrated and have less of a chance of feeling sick on the course.
2. Don’t Try To Overperform
Don’t try and overdo it on the golf course.
If you spend a great deal of time trying to perform and hit the best possible shots, chances are you will put too much pressure on yourself.
Try to relax, lower your grip pressure, and have fun while you are on the golf course.
Chances are your scores are going to be much better this way.
3. Try To Practice The Day Before
It’s a good idea to try and hit a few golf balls the day before your outing or golf event.
If you have not played for a few years, hitting balls on the range will help you feel as though you know what you are doing.
The best thing to do is to practice, even if it’s for just a few minutes.
Spending half an hour on a driving range could make all the difference the day before the event.
4. Learn from the Better Players
If you hardly play any golf, chances are you will end up being paired with a golfer or two who are much better than you.
If this is the case, you should consider trying to learn from these players.
Don’t ask them a bunch of questions, but simply observe and look at what they are doing.
You will start to absorb some of their playing strategies, and this can help make your day on the golf course much more enjoyable.