Playing a scramble with friends can be quite a bit of fun.
The scramble makes it so that even golfers who are not as good can have fun and play the game.
As fun as these events are, there is also some strategy involved.
If you have never considered the strategy involved in playing a scramble, you are in the right place.
If you want to dominate your next charity event and come in way under par, here are our top ten best tips.
Top 10 Best Golf Scramble Strategies
1. Longest is Not Always the Best
We will get into lots of strategy about what is best for building your team and planning things out, but the first thing golfers should realize is that the longest is not always best.
When playing in a scramble, there is always a golfer who is going to hit the ball further than anyone.
Hitting the golf ball far but having it land in the bunker or the rough is not a good plan.
This is very likely not going to be the best shot for all players to hit into the green.
Make sure you consider all drives and choose one that gives you the best angle to the green.
If there is a drive on the left side of the fairway and one on the right, choose the one that allows you to hit across the green to the pin.
The biggest mistake players get into is choosing a drive just because it is long, but it is not always best.
Another area where you will see this mistake is when calculating approach shots to the green.
Let’s say one drive leaves you eighty yards to the hole, and the other leaves you one hundred.
If everybody in the group is confident with their 100-yard golf shot, this is the one to choose.
Just because the 80-yard shot is closer does not mean it is going to be easier to pull off.
Of course, the shorter shots usually allow players a better chance to get closer to the green, but they are not always the smartest decision.
2. Plan the Holes Out for Minimum Drives
Many scramble formats are going to require you to use at least two drives from each player.
This can be tricky, and it will sneak up on you quickly.
If you end up getting to the last hole and a drive needs to be used from a certain player, it is not ideal.
Not only will you put a lot of pressure on that one player, but if they make a mistake, you will all be stuck with it.
This is when you see groups scoring a double bogey in a scramble.
Instead, it would help if you aimed to eliminate this requirement right at the beginning of the round.
If one player has not had any drives counted yet, and their drive is in the middle but five yards back, use it.
Cross it off the list and forget about that five yards because it won’t make a difference.
If you have a player who struggles off the tee, it may be best to try and save their shot for a par three.
They will probably have the best chance of hitting the green on a par three as opposed to the par four and par five where you are going to need the extra distance.
Great scramble teams will have these two-drive requirements figured out and settled in the early part of the back nine.
This leaves them the last six holes or so to choose the very best shots to keep the score low.
3. Analyze Player Strengths
In a scramble, you will probably be paired with golfers of varying abilities.
Although some may be great off the tee, others will be great at putting.
Try and figure out where the strengths are across your team.
Sometimes high handicappers have a great bump-and-run, or they know how to hit a shorter drive but always keep it straight.
Talk to everyone before heading out on the course and see where everyone feels as though they can contribute.
This will help boost people’s confidence and give you an excellent plan for the day.
If you all slice the ball, that is fine; make sure somebody aims way left and leaves room for the slice to land in the fairway.
Whatever the individual strengths and weaknesses are is not as important as communicating and getting on the same page as a team.
4. Choose an Order and Stick to It
This point can not be stressed enough.
When you analyze all the player strengths you have, then you must choose an order and stick to it.
You should choose an order from the tee, from the fairway, and on the green as well.
For the most part, the order from the tee and the order from the fairway will be the same.
On the putting green, things could change up.
From the tee box, you are going to want to have the player who is most consistent and reliable go first.
This will most likely not be the player capable of hitting the ball the furthest.
The player who can hit the ball the furthest goes last.
This player should then hopefully have a few shots in the fairway so he can go ahead and rip one to see if he can get it further.
If the player who hits it the longest does not have a shot in the fairway to go with, then they can’t give it their full power.
They will have to control the shot a bit more to get it in the fairway.
This isn’t great from a strategy standpoint, as it is always best to let the big swingers swing away.
If you keep your order from one hole to the next, people will know their role and help to contribute to the team.
When it comes to putting green, it makes the most sense to have the best putter putt last.
Give all the other players a chance to make the putt and if they don’t, let the last player go.
This order also gives the best player a chance to look at each putt and see how it breaks and responds.
5. Play the Percentages/Listen to the Team
This is a critical lesson that should be considered when playing a scramble.
Sometimes a golf shot will present itself that is not a percentage shot.
You may be close to the green but in a horrible lie, or you may have to hit around a tree or something to get to the green.
Whatever the situation, in a scramble, you will always want to choose the percentage shot.
Listen to the team about which shots they feel comfortable hitting and pulling off.
If everyone on the team feels uncomfortable with a shot, come up with a different plan.
It would help if you had a good idea of what shots people do best with because of the analysis you have done at the beginning of the round.
If there is a par four that is reachable in one if you hit over a pond, make sure the players who are not comfortable have a percentage shot they can pull off.
This leads to our next tip about making sure you always have a safe ball.
6. One Safe Shot
In a scramble, you always need a safe shot.
Until you have this safe shot, it makes no sense for a golfer to try and go for the risky shot.
The safe shot should give you a good chance at par.
The absolute worst score you should make in a scramble is a par.
With four people playing and using the strategies we have given you, par is the worst score you want to get.
Making sure one person always hits a straight shot that can be the go-to shot will seriously help eliminate the chances of your team making a bogey.
Keeping the same order on shots helps to make sure this one-safe-shot concept remains in play for the entire day.
7. Make Sure the Birdies Have a Chance to Go In
As we have mentioned, you must make a lot of birdies to score low in a scramble.
Teams that win scrambles will make birdies and even eagles.
Working together as a team, this should be possible.
Just think about your own golf game, and if somebody gave you a chance to hit your putt for birdie four times, your odds would be much higher for making these putts.
When you get a putt for birdie in a tournament, you need to make sure the putt has a chance to go in.
If four people leave a birdie putt short of the hole, there is no chance you are going to win the scramble.
Playing in a scramble allows you to get aggressive when it comes to certain shots.
If you have a chip shot, there should be one player who attempts to hole the chip shot and not just leave one close.
Be aggressive with scoring when it comes to a scramble.
8. Never, Ever Three-Putt
We talked about how important it is to make sure you don’t bogey and that your worst score should be a par.
One of the best ways to do this is to make sure you don’t three-putt.
There is a fine line between being aggressive and being reckless.
Remember, we said the putter who is not the best should go first.
Where their putt lands should hopefully be good enough for everyone to two-putt from this location.
Mark this ball and have all players analyze whether they think a two-putt is possible.
If, for some reason, the team is undecided about whether the first putt is close enough to ensure a two-putt, then let player number two make a conservative effort as well.
Make sure someone gets very close to the hole so the rest of the team can go at the putt and try and make one putt.
Sometimes the best strategy for making a one-putt is to go at the hole pretty hard and ignore too much of the slope and line.
Of course, in your regular round, this is not always possible, but it is a strategy you can try in a scramble.
There is one more putting strategy that is quite important.
9. Make Sure Everyone Putts Each Time
This strategy mainly applies to putting, but it could apply to other shots around the course as well.
Sometimes the first player who attempts a putt will make it.
If you are following the order you originally came up with, there could be several holes where the fourth player never gets a chance to putt.
This is not a good thing.
If you are not getting a chance to putt, but you are supposed to be the best putter on the team, you will have a hard time learning the speeds.
Even if the putt is already in the hole and the team has scored a birdie, you should be letting each player take a chance at the putt.
This same thing applies to fairway and chip shots as well.
Sometimes when there is an excellent shot in play, others will say, “That works for me,” and move to the next hole.
At the end of the day, if you are getting tired or you need to speed up the pace, this is understandable.
Outside of those situations, though, it makes sense for each player to take a swing.
A scramble is not quite like playing your ball for eighteen holes.
To make sure you are not getting cold between holes, this is the best way to play.
Make sure you are getting plenty of swings in and that you feel confident with your game.
This way, when your team needs you, you will be ready to help.
10. Choose a Captain
If you have worked as part of a team, you know it is essential to make sure one person has the lead.
If all people think they are in charge of the team, there could be some disagreements and trouble working together to score.
At the beginning of the round, one player should be chosen to be the team captain.
The team captain will be able to make the final decision on which shot to use each time.
They will also help come up with some strategy and help to choose the team order.
Many golfers think that the lowest handicap player should be the captain.
This is not always the case.
In a scramble, you will be asking a lot from the lowest handicap player.
Chances are there will be holes where the lowest handicap golfer’s ball is used for each shot.
Since this player already has a lot they have to deal with, sometimes it is best to make sure somebody else handles the team captain’s responsibilities.
The primary requirement of the team captain is to understand the strategy and the strengths of your team.
Another important thing is to pay attention to the minimum drives and any other requirements that are part of your scramble that day.
Team captains should also keep the official scorecard for the team.
In a scramble, you will want to make sure all players work together, but having a person capable of leadership is a good thing.
Hopefully, our top ten best golf scramble strategies are going to help bring you and your team to victory the next time you have a scramble outing.
The scramble format is intended to be fun, fast-paced, and fair for golfers of all abilities.
It is a format which allows teams to play against each other without having to incorporate handicaps as much as an actual stroke play format would.
Make sure you work together as a team when playing in a scramble, and don’t be afraid to go back a few yards if it means you have a better chance with the next shot.
Your score is likely going to need to be well under par to win the event.