david horne playing in a scramble

Recently, I was invited to play in a Scramble Event. The format also falls under the aliases of Captain’s Choice and Superball. It is very common for charity events and corporate outings. The rules of a scramble allows each member in a team (usually 2 or 4 golfers) to hit each shot and play the best one. The four person teams usually consist of A, B, C, & D players, with the “A”having the lowest handicap and the “D” player with the highest. I have played in numerous superballevents and believe this strategy will bode well for you.

Here are three keys to going low in the Scramble format:

  1. Choose the right playing order.
    Most of the time I have found teams do not give this all important decision any thought. As a result numerous birdies and eagles are left on the course. Think about a 4×400 relay in track and field. You have a first leg, second leg, and so on with the anchor as the strongest closer but not always the fastest runner. Many times the fastest runner will go first or third. In the scramble I believe the same holds true. For example, on the greens, have your second best putter go first. This will allow the weaker putters to learn from the line and speed of the first putter if they do not hole the putt. The same principle can be used for tee shots and approaches. Just remember the “A” player isn’t automatically the best at each part of the game and every player should have a role to play.
  2. Play the percentages.
    It is very easy to pick the shot that is closest to the hole or longest off the tee. That ball however does not always give you the highest percentage of making a birdie or an eagle. There are numerous examples I could use here, but two that are very common. The first is a situation when there is one tee shot which is the longest and in the fairway but leaves an awkward yardage or angle into the green. The percentage of getting it up and down are less than a ball that may be yards farther from the hole but allow the team the best chance of hitting it close and making birdie. The second example is found on shots around the green. Just because it is “on the dance floor” doesn’t mean it is the best shot to choose. I would rather have a 30 foot uphill shot from the fringe than a 15 foot downhill putt with 4 feet of break.
  3. Ride the MO’.
    The Scramble format is a shoot-out with the motto, How low can you go? Red numbers are a must. A lot of red numbers. To get on a run where a team can rattle off birdie after birdie momentum is crucial. How do you get it? Hit one good shot at a time and give yourself a chance for birdie on every hole. Sometimes you may have to switch up the batting order to overcome the inertia of making pars. Have each team member contribute. When players feel like they are helping, they perform better and excitement is transferred within the team. Once momentum is created, ride it like a wave. Let it carry you from birdie to birdie. Then get out of your own way!

I believe these keys will help you shoot lower scores at your next company outing or charitabe fundraiser. Tell me about your strategies for Scramble success. No one strategy works for every team. Choose the game-plan that helps your team function as the best combined player of your talents.