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?

Let’s first examine what is similar between the two game formats before examining their main differences. You can play both formats on any golf course in the world, and they are both played on the same course. Both of them involve teams. Teams of two or four players are typically used in both formats, but you can use any number. The number of players on each team should not exceed four; otherwise, the rounds will drag on for a very long time. Let’s examine how to play Scramble and Best Ball.


Each player fires a shot from the tee to begin both formats. A coin toss can be used to decide which team will start, and the starting team can then alternate at each hole. From here, you must choose the order in which the players will release their shots. The opening tee shot will be fired by a member of the first team. The following player will then take their tee shot (either from the same team or alternating with the opposing team), and so on until all players have taken their tee shots.


Things start to get interesting in the following shot. The team selects the shot that they prefer out of those taken by each member of the team. All team members will start their next shots from this position. The participants whose shots weren’t chosen will go get their balls and bring them to the chosen shot.

Let’s examine a four-person team.

A hits the ball directly down the fairway. Player D didn’t hit it very far, Player B is in the rough, Player C is in a bunker.

The group chooses player A’s attempt as the best. Then, starting from the spot where player A’s ball landed, players B, C, and D will go get their balls and take their second shots. The opposing team will choose which of its players hit the best shot each time, doing the same with their shots.

The best shot can be played with the ball within a club length, but you cannot switch from one type of grass to another. If you are on the green, you must also play from the precise location. A ball must be in the hole for each team before the score (of best shots) is recorded.

The team with the lowest overall score for the round is the victor.

Best Ball

All players tee off in Best Ball (choosing the play order much like before). Now the main distinction is apparent.

Each player plays their ball from where it lies rather than selecting the player with the best shot on the team. Play continues until all players have the ball in the hole or until the remaining players admit they will not outscore the players who have already gotten the ball in the hole. It is the team member’s lowest score on the hole that is recorded.

A 3 would be recorded for that hole if our team of four players had the following scores: player A: 4, player B: 3, player C: 5, and player D: 4. Up until all holes have been played, play continues.

The winning team is the one with the lowest score.

Scramble vs Best Ball

Scramble vs Best Ball

Both team golf game formats are enjoyable, but which one is best for you?

Given that you always start from the best position when playing Scramble, there is a good chance that you will record a low score. You can play outside of your comfort zone with scramble as well. You do not need to play cautiously if you are playing in a team of four and the first player hits a nice shot straight down the fairway.

Instead of attempting to play for a similar position, you can really crank it up and try to hit a longer shot. This enables you to play a wider variety of games. Scramble spares you from having to play shots from the rough and bunkers all the time if your round goes poorly.

You get a picture of how you played with Best Ball. Compared to Scramble, team scores are typically much higher, but you still get to play your own game as a member of a team. Someone else will probably pick up the slack and shoot a lower score if you play a hole poorly. Naturally, there is no greater feeling than seeing your team win a hole. Best Ball is excellent for improving your game and building teams.


Team golf is exciting and enjoyable to play in both formats. We advise trying both formats if you have two groups of players. Best Ball is the way to go if you want to improve your game while still being a part of a team. Scramble is the best option for you if you want to work as a team but still have the freedom to take a variety of shots.

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