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Q: Scramble vs. Best Ball Golf Rules ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Scramble vs. Best Ball Golf Rules
Category: Sports and Recreation
Asked by: thelonemonk-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Nov 2003 04:48 PST
Expires: 23 Dec 2003 04:48 PST
Question ID: 279608
In the game of golf what is the difference between a "scramble" and
"best-ball" rules of play.  Generally, these rules are used for golf
outings and friendly tournaments.  Thanks...

Subject: Re: Scramble vs. Best Ball Golf Rules
Answered By: markj-ga on 23 Nov 2003 06:08 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
TLMonk --

Here is the accepted definition of the "scramble" format for a golf tournament:

"A type of team golf game, often used in tournaments, where all
members of the team hit from the same spot throughout the hole, using
the best shot each time to determine the location of the next shot.
For example, all team members hit their tee shots. The location of the
best tee shot becomes the spot from which all team members hit their
second shots. This "best ball" play continues until with each round of
shots counting as one stroke for the group, until a final group score
is posted for the hole." Golf with Brent Kelley

And here is the definition of a "best ball" format:

"Best ball -- a type of golf tournament where each golfer plays
his/her own ball from start to finish but the team score for each hole
is determined by the best score of all the team members. The 'best
scores' are then totaled for the final 18 hole score. There can be
two, three or four golfers on each team." Glossary: "B"

The definition I just cited goes on to say: "Note that
a 'best ball tournament' and a 'scramble' are *not* the same thing."

In a nutshell, the difference is as follows. In the "scramble" format
the players decide after each shot which is the best shot (sometimes
confusingly called the "best ball"), and every player plays his or her
next shot from that spot.  In "best ball" formats, each player plays
his own ball throughout each hole, but the team's score for the round
is the total of the lowest scores shot by a team member on each hole.

Additional Information:

Below is a link to a page on the Web site of an organization that
promotes recreational golf at U.S. colleges.  It describes the
"scramble" format and various versions of recreational "best ball"
tournaments.  All those variations are consistent with the basic
difference between "scramble" and "best ball" events that I described
Collegiate Golf Alliance: Tournament Handbook: Events Formats

Here is a link to a relevant October 2003 article in Golf Canada. a
publication of the Royal Canadian Golf Association:
Golf Canada: "Four Balls Are Better Than One," by Gary Coblenz

Note the following interesting observation from the above article:

"You may notice an omission of a fairly common form of play used in
social and charity events. ?Scramble? golf is not an official form of
play. This is because one of the fundamental notions in the Rules is
that the player must advance his ball by making a stroke. This is not
the case in scramble events and it is therefore impossible to apply
the Rules of Golf to a competition that varies so greatly from the
intent of the game."

Search Strategy:

There is a whole lot of information online that is related to golf and
its scoring systems.  I used Google searches that were designed to
provide facts specifically relevant to your question without producing
an unmanageable number of irrelevant responses.  Here are a couple of

golf rules scramble "best ball"

"rules of golf" scramble "best ball"

I am confident that the above information is exactly what you are
seeking, and I am happy to have been able to provide it to you
promptly.  If anything is unclear, please ask for clarification before
rating the question.  Fore!

thelonemonk-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Exactly what I was looking for!

Subject: Re: Scramble vs. Best Ball Golf Rules
From: markj-ga on 24 Nov 2003 09:04 PST
TL Monk --

I'm glad I was able to find what you were looking for, and thanks for the tip.  


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