August 12, 2023

Scramble Vs Best Ball

Ready to tee off but unsure which golf format to choose for your upcoming event? Fear not, we’re here to help you make a well-informed decision! Comparing two popular golf formats, “scramble vs best ball”, we’ll dive into their unique features, benefits, and key differences that will help you tailor the perfect golfing experience for your participants.

Understanding Scramble Golf Format

Ah, the Scramble format – a favorite among charity events and beginner golfers alike! The essence of this team-based format lies in:

  • Each player hitting their own tee shot
  • The team choosing the best one to play from
  • Collaboration, as each team member takes turns hitting and selecting the best result for the whole team to be counted.

But there’s a catch – the next shot must be played from within one club length of where the selected tee shots ended up, no closer to the hole. Wondering how to calculate the team’s score? It’s straightforward. Just tally up all the ‘official’ golf ball shots for each hole throughout the round.

Team Composition and Variations

In a typical Scramble, teams consist of 2-4 players. However, the format can be tweaked to accommodate varying team sizes and skill levels. One interesting variation is the one-person scramble, where a single golfer plays multiple balls and selects the best one each time.

If a team has fewer members than required, you can designate one player to take their shots from each spot multiple times, ensuring they’re on equal footing with everyone else. The flexibility of Scramble makes it a popular choice for a wide range of golf events.

Why Play The Scramble Format?

The Golf Scramble format not only encourages teamwork but also gives less skilled golfers a chance to shine. As it’s mainly used in charity events and beginner golf tournaments, it provides a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for all.

Less experienced players can learn from their teammates and have a feel for the break and speed of the putt by going first. The format also promotes aggressive play, as taking risks with their own shots won’t necessarily lead to a higher team score, especially when a team member hits the target successfully. This is one of the reasons why incorporating team plays into the game strategy can be beneficial.

Therefore, if a format that accommodates diverse skill levels and emphasizes teamwork is what you’re after, you should consider Scramble.

Understanding Best Ball Golf Format

Now let’s talk about Best Ball, a format suitable for more experienced golfers who prefer to play their own game. In this format, two players form a team and each plays their own ball from tee to green. The twist? The team’s score is determined by the lowest score on each hole.

Often referred to as “four-ball” in major international tournaments or “better ball” when played by two golfers, this format allows golfers to shine individually while still contributing to the team’s success.

Team Composition and Variations

Best Ball teams can consist of any number of players, but they usually have two or four members. One of the intriguing variations of this format includes the use of handicaps, adding an extra layer of complexity to scoring and leveling the playing field for golfers of different skill levels.

Alternatively, you can choose to play individually, adding or removing stress from the game as desired. The adaptability of Best Ball makes it an attractive option for competitive golf events.

Why Try The Best Ball Format?

One of the perks of Best Ball is the ability to keep track of your own scores and play your usual game. It is particularly appealing to experienced golfers who prefer a more individualized approach to the sport.

Additionally, the team format offers players the freedom to take risks, knowing that their team score will be based on the best score of the team. Hence, if you’re an adept golfer seeking a format that tests your abilities while still fostering team spirit, you’ll find Best Ball to be your best bet.

Key Differences Between Scramble and Best Ball

At a glance, the key differences between Scramble and Best Ball formats include the speed of play, suitability for different skill levels, and the amount of risk-taking and strategy required.

We will now delve into these differences in detail to help you determine the format that fits your event best.

Speed of Play

Scramble is generally faster than Best Ball due to its unique structure, which allows teams to discard bad shots and play from the best positions. This accelerates the pace, as players need fewer shots to reach the hole and can move through the course more swiftly.

Playing faster can be advantageous if you’re short on time, and it can also make the game more competitive, as players have less time to overthink their moves. Therefore, if a fast-paced format is what you’re after, Scramble may be the preferable option.

Suitability for Different Skill Levels

As mentioned earlier, Scramble is more suitable for beginners and golfers of mixed skill levels, as it allows everyone to contribute to the team score regardless of their individual abilities. On the other hand, Best Ball is better suited for experienced golfers, as it allows them to use their skills to achieve the best possible team score.

When planning your event, consider the skill set of your participants to ensure an enjoyable and competitive experience for everyone.

Risk-Taking and Strategy

Scramble encourages risk-taking and aggressive play due to its forgiving nature, as only the best shot counts. This fosters creativity and makes the game more enjoyable for players who like to experiment with daring shots without the fear of adverse consequences.

In contrast, Best Ball allows for individual strategy and personal game improvement, as each player’s score contributes to the team’s overall result. If you’re looking for a format that challenges players to think strategically and hone their skills, Best Ball is your go-to choice.

Choosing the Right Format for Your Event

Selecting the perfect format for your golf event may seem daunting, but fret not! By considering factors such as player skill levels, event objectives, and time constraints, you’ll be able to craft a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The selection of an appropriate format for your event holds the key to guaranteeing an enjoyable time for all participants.

Factors to Consider

The skill level of your participants is a vital consideration when deciding on the perfect golf format for your event. Evaluate whether your event is designed to cater to novices, seasoned players, or a combination of the two.

Additionally, consider your event’s goals – is it a competitive tournament, a casual outing, or a blend of the two? Lastly, time constraints also play a significant role in your decision-making process. Think about the duration of your event, the available daylight, and the desired pace of play.

Tips for Organizing a Successful Event

To facilitate a smooth golf event, begin with a clear communication of the rules to all participants and establish the expectations for the event.

Next, select appropriate prizes that will excite and motivate your golfers, keeping in mind the budget and the number of prizes needed.

Finally, create a fun and inclusive atmosphere by providing engaging activities, music, and refreshments for your guests. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a successful and memorable golf event.


In conclusion, both Scramble and Best Ball formats offer unique advantages and cater to different skill levels and event objectives. Scramble fosters teamwork and is ideal for charity events and beginner golfers, while Best Ball challenges experienced golfers with a more individualistic approach. By considering factors such as participant skill levels, event goals, and time constraints, you can choose the perfect format for your golf event. Now, go forth and tee off with confidence, knowing you’ve selected the ideal format for an unforgettable golfing experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between best ball and scramble?

In a Scramble, team captains choose the best shot for each player, while in Best Ball, the lowest score on the hole is used.

Is it faster to play a scramble?

Playing a scramble is generally faster than stroke play, due to the team format which encourages lower scores and quicker rounds. Additionally, golfers enjoy the variety of shots that come from playing different parts of the course.

What is scramble format?

Scramble format is a popular format for golf tournaments, where four-person teams take turns hitting each ball and the captain picks the best spot after the first stroke for all players to use.

Which format is better for beginner golfers, Scramble or Best Ball?

Scramble is the better format for beginner golfers, as it enables everyone to contribute to the team score regardless of their individual skill level.

How many players are typically on a Scramble team?

Scramble teams typically have 2-4 players, making it a great game for small groups to enjoy.

About the author 

Linda Parker

My name is Linda Parker, I’ve been around golf since I was born, and I’ve been golfing since I was four years old!

I’m here to share my love of the game with you, so please do let me know if you have any questions!

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