Best Ball vs Scramble Golf: Comparing Two Popular Golf Formats

Golf is a game that has been around for centuries and continues to be enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Within the golfing community, there are several different formats in which the game can be played. Two popular formats are Best Ball and Scramble. This article will compare these two formats, and discuss their differences as well as the pros and cons of each.

Best Ball Format

What is Best Ball In Golf?

Best ball golf usually is a format in which teams of two, three or four players compete against each other. Each player plays their own ball on each hole, and the lowest score among the team members is used to determine their total score for that particular hole. This means that even if one or two players have a bad hole, the rest of the team can still save them and post a decent score.

Rules of best ball format

The rules of a best ball format are relatively simple. Each team will tee off with their own ball, and the lowest score among the team members is used to determine the total score for that particular hole. There is no limit on how many shots each player can take, as long as they stay within their allotted strokes per hole, but all players must play by their own balls from where they’ve lied for the entire game.


Best ball is a versatile format that can be altered in many ways. One popular variation is a better ball format, where the best score between two players on a team counts as their total. There are also variations such as 2-man scramble, 3-man scramble and 4-man scramble which each have different rules for determining the team score.

Scoring in certain situations can become slightly more complicated due to certain variations. One such variation is the use of handicaps, which involves deducting strokes from a player’s score for a hole, resulting in their net score being the strongest among their team members.

Benefits of best ball 

Best ball is a highly sought-after format for golfers who want to keep track of their individual scores. This format offers players the freedom to play their game without trying to execute shots they’re not accustomed to or comfortable with. It’s more straightforward than a scramble, allowing golfers to stay within their element and avoid unnecessary confusion. Additionally, best ball enables players to assess their own performance while playing in a team, which is a unique experience for most golfers. Overall, best ball is an excellent way to challenge oneself while playing with others in a competitive setting.

Scramble Format

What is Scramble In Golf?

Scramble is a popular golfing format where teams of two, three or players compete to post the best on each hole. The team will decide which ball they should play from, and each player must then hit a shot from that spot. The team will then choose the best-positioned ball and all players hit their next shots from that spot. This process continues until the hole is completed.

Rules of scramble format

The rules of a scramble are relatively simple, as all players must hit from the same spot after each shot. Each team should determine which ball they will use for each shot, and then take turns in hitting their shots. The player whose ball is chosen as the best-positioned ball must be the one to hit next, and all other players should take their shots from that spot. All players must stay within their allotted strokes per hole, but they can play as many extra shots as they like if they can still save par or better.


The Best Balls format has become increasingly popular among golfers, offering a unique twist on the traditional Best Ball format. This format allows three or four-member teams to compete against one another, with the top two scores from each team being counted on each hole. This format is set apart because each golfer plays their ball throughout the round, so everyone gets a chance to showcase their skills. At the end of the round, the two best scores from each team are tallied to determine the winning team.

Another variation is the Better Ball format, a popular way for golfers to enjoy a round of golf in teams of two. This format adds an element of competition as teams must strive to have the lowest overall score for the round against the entire field. While only one ball and score count per hole for each team, the individual play of each golfer is still important to contribute to the team’s overall score for the round. The best score among the team members after each hole counts towards the team’s score, adding even more strategy to the game. 

Every variation has a great way for golfers to challenge themselves and their partners while enjoying the camaraderie of the game.

Benefits of Scramble

The scramble format is a great way to encourage collaboration and teamwork between players. It is also an excellent way to generate competition, as each team must work together in order to post the best score possible. Additionally, this format encourages players of all skill levels to participate, as it allows weaker players to be carried by their teammates if needed. Pressure is not as high in a scramble, so it can be a great way to enjoy the game without feeling intimidated.


What Are the differences between Best Ball and Scramble Formats?

The main difference between best ball and scramble formats is the way in which each hole is completed. In a best ball tournament, each member of the team plays their own ball from tee to green. The lowest score among all players becomes the team’s score for that hole. On the other hand, in a scramble format, all members of the team hit from the same spot and the best shot among them is used as the team’s score. Additionally, in a scramble format players can play multiple shots if they need to get out of trouble or save par.

Moreover, best ball formats encourage individual performance while scramble tournaments require more collaboration between players. Best ball also allows players to assess their own performance, whereas in a scramble format it is the team’s score that matters. Ultimately, both formats are fun and can offer an enjoyable golfing experience.


Strategies for Success in Best Ball and Scramble Tournaments

The key to success in best ball and scramble tournaments is for players to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and use that knowledge to their advantage. Good communication between team members is also important, as it allows each person to contribute ideas and provide support. Additionally, all players should be aware of the course layout, hazards, trouble spots and the pin position. This will help them to select the ideal club for each shot and aim accordingly.

Finally, it is important for players to focus on their own game, and not worry about what other teams are doing. Staying positive and focusing on their team’s performance is key to success in these formats. With proper preparation and execution, teams can post great scores and have an enjoyable round of golf.

By understanding the rules and strategies behind best ball and scramble formats, players can be better equipped to take on these team tournaments. With a bit of practice and dedication, teams can post great scores in these formats and have a memorable day out on the links.


Best ball and scramble formats are popular tournament formats that require teamwork, strategy, and skill in order to post the best score. Knowing the rules of each format and understanding its strategies is essential for teams to achieve success. With a bit of practice, communication, and cooperation, teams can have an enjoyable round of golf while posting low scores.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab some friends and hit the course – it’s time to give best ball or scramble a try!


How Many Players Are Typically On A Team For Best Ball And Scramble Formats?

Teams in both formats usually consist of two, three, or four players, depending on the specific event or tournament.

Can Golfers With Different Skill Levels Participate In Best Ball And Scramble Tournaments?

Both formats are suitable for various skill levels, as they encourage teamwork and strategy. Scramble tournaments are especially popular among beginner golfers due to their more relaxed and inclusive nature.

How Are Handicaps Used In Best Ball And Scramble Tournaments?

In Best Ball, individual handicaps are used to determine the net score of each player. In Scramble, team handicaps are usually calculated based on a percentage of the total handicaps of the team members.

Which Format Is Faster To Play, Best Ball Or Scramble?

Scramble tends to have a faster pace of play, as players hit from the best shot each time, resulting in fewer strokes overall. Best Ball can take longer, as each player completes the hole individually.

How Can I Choose The Right Tournament Format For My Golf Event?

Consider the skill level and preferences of the participants, as well as the goals of the event (e.g., fun, competition, or inclusiveness). Scramble is often more suitable for casual and beginner-focused events, while Best Ball is better suited for competitive events with skilled players.

Can I Use A Combination Of Best Ball And Scramble Formats In A Single Event?

It’s possible to create a mixed-format event that includes elements of both Best Ball and Scramble formats. For example, you could play the front nine holes in Best Ball format and the back nine in Scramble format, or alternate formats for each hole.


  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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