Best Ball vs Scramble – Golf Games Explained
You have heard the term ‘Best Ball Scramble,’ right? You have probably even played a round of Best Ball Scramble. Well, what if I told you that there is no such thing? Best Ball and Scramble are actually two different forms of the game and are not combined into one over-arching game.
Golf is a great game to play socially. Adding a team aspect to your golf game is a great way to play a fun (and often competitive) round with your friends. Playing solo is great but playing as part of a team adds something extra to your day (just think about the Ryder Cup). We are here today to break down golf Scramble vs. Best Ball. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will never again talk about playing the ‘Best Ball Scramble’ format.
What Do They Have in Common?
Before we look at the major differences between the two game formats, let’s look at what is similar. Both formats are played on the same golf course; you can play both on any golf course in the world. They are also both team games. Typically, both formats play with teams of two or four, but you can play with any number you like. We do not recommend playing with more than four players on each team or your rounds will get really long. Let’s look at how to play Best Ball and Scramble.
Both formats start with each player taking their shot from the tee. You can work out with a coin toss which team is going to start and then alternate the starting team at each hole. From here, you need to decide in which order the players are going to hit their shots. The first player from the first team will hit their tee shot. The next player (either from the same team or alternating with the other team) will then take their tee shot, and so on until all players have taken their tee shots.
The next shot is where things begin to get interesting. The team decides which shot (out of each player’s shot from their team) they like the best. This is where all members of the team will shoot from next. The players whose shots were not selected will go pick up their balls and take them to the selected shot.
Let’s look at a four-player team.
Player A hits straight down the fairway. Player B is in the rough, player C is in a bunker, and player D did not hit it very far.
The team decides that player A’s shot was the best. Players B, C, and D will then go and pick up their balls and play their second shot from where player A’s ball landed. The other team will do the same with their shots, choosing which of their players hit the best shot each time.
You can play the ball within a club length of the best shot, but you cannot move from one type of grass to another (for example, rough to fairway or fairway to green). You also have to play from the exact spot if you are on the green. The shots continue until a ball is in the hole for each team and that score (of best shots) is logged.
The winning team is the team with the lowest score for the round.
In Best Ball, all players tee off (choosing the play order much like before). The main difference now comes into play.
Instead of choosing the best shot from the team’s players, each player plays their ball from where it lies. Play continues until each player has the ball in the whole or remaining players have conceded that they are not going to get a better score than the players who have already holed the ball. It is the lowest score from a team member on the hole which is recorded.
If we had a team of four players and their scores were as follows: player A: 4, player B: 3, player C: 5, and player D: 4, then a 3 would be recorded for that hole. Play continues until all holes have been played.
The team with the lowest score are the winners.
Scramble vs Best Ball
Both formats of a team golf game are fun, but which one is right for you?
With Scramble, there is a good chance that you will post a low score as you are playing from the best position each time. Scramble also gives you the chance to play outside of your comfort zone. If you are playing in a team of four and the first player hits a nice shot straight down the fairway, then you do not need to play conservatively.
You can really crank it out and try to hit a longer shot rather than try to play for a similar position. This opens you up to play a more varied game. If you have an off round, Scramble stops you from having to constantly play shots from the rough and bunker.
With Best Ball, you get a representation of how you played. Team scores are usually much higher than in Scramble, but you get to play your own game while still being part of a team. If you play a hole badly, then someone else will probably pick up the slack and post a lower score. Of course, there is no better feeling than winning a hole for your team. Best Ball is great for team building and working on your game.
Both formats of team golf are exciting and fun to play. If you have two groups of players, we would recommend trying both formats. If you want to work on your game and still be a part of a team, then Best Ball is the way to go. If you want to work as part of a team but still have the freedom to pay a wide range of shots, then Scramble will be best suited for you.