Texas Scramble in Golf

The Texas Scramble: A Twist on the Classic Golf Format

A Texas scramble format is a great team game that makes a normal scramble much more difficult. While there is still only one score for each hole per team and all four golfers play from the best position, there’s a big twist.

Today we’ll help you understand what a Texas scramble is, how it differs from a regular scramble format, and other strategies to play your best in competition.

Texas Scramble in Golf

Scrambles are one of the most fun and inviting formats in golf.

A scramble or Texas scramble allows players of different skill levels to compete against other teams to shoot the lowest score possible. And in scrambles scores are really low – especially if mulligans are involved.

Scrambles are great because they allow less skilled players a chance to make a clutch shot or putt without relying too much on their entire game. While more skilled golfers can show their skills and lead the team during the round. 

A scramble or Texas scramble is a win-win for all types of players.

Golf scrambles also help speed up the pace of play too. Since golfers can discard bad shots and players have a team score – not an individual score – it leads to a faster round of golf. 

Strategy is also a big part of scrambles, especially when it comes to a Texas scramble. Don’t worry, we’ll give you some tips to help your scramble team after expaling the basics of this unique format.

Key Takeaways

  • Golf scrambles are a great tournament format that is usually played with 2-player, 3-player, or 4-player teams.
  • They’re most common in corporate events and charity events as they’re a fun game that doesn’t require players to score their own ball on the hole.
  • Texas scrambles are a different type of format that require a minimum number of tee shots for each player. 
  • There are other variations of a Texas scramble as well which make this format more challenging especially for the highest handicap.

Keep reading to learn more about a Texas scramble and how you can incorporate it into your weekly games.

Texas Scramble vs. Scramble 

So, what is a Texas Scramble in golf? 

It’s a way to mix up a traditional scramble format to make it more challenging. But it’s still very easy to learn and have fun with.

If you’ve ever played in charity events, chances are you’ve played a scramble before. They are one of the most common formats in the sport and great from team play. But if you haven’t played in one yet, here’s how it works.

Each player on a team  (usually 2 or 4-person teams) tees off on the starting hole – which is normally a shotgun start. After evaluating each person’s drive, the best is chosen and all other players pick up their ball and play from the same spot. 

Golf Scramble Strategy

Players typically get within one club length from the drive to hit their second shot. Once each player hits their second shot, the best is chosen and all players play from this spot. This process continues until the hole is complete and the final score is made for the group.

Despite being 2, 3 or 4 players, there is only one score for each hole. The winning team is the one that has the lowest score at the end of the round which are typically quite low due to the format.

So, how does a Texas scramble – which is also called “Captain’s choice” work?

Exactly like a normal scramble with one main difference – there is a minimum number of drives required.

All team players must tee off a certain amount in this type of golf scramble. For example, one player can’t use 10 of their drives on 18 holes like a normal scramble.

Instead, there is a set amount of tee shots required for each member of the group. This makes a scramble format much more challenging as each person has to pull their own weight on the tee box and a group can’t be overly dependent on one person off the tee.

How many tee shots are required for each team member depends on the tournament rules. 

In a 2-player scramble there are usually 5-6 tee shots required for each player. In a 3-player scramble it’s typically 4-5 tee shots. And in a 4-person scramble it’s typically 3–4 drives per player. 

This rule only applies for the tee shot, not the second shots.

Texas Scramble Variations

The number of tee shots makes things challenging but there is another variation that makes it even more difficult. Here’s part two of a Texas scramble – whoever’s tee shot is used can’t hit the next shot.

For example, if player A’s tee ball is used on the first hole, they aren’t allowed to hit the second shot. Only player B, C, and D are allowed to hit the next shot and the best of the three is selected. On the following shot player A is allowed to hit again. 

Paird with a minimum number of drives, this makes a normally easy format a lot more challenging. There are other variations that you might find during a scramble golf tournament as well including:

  • Red White and Blue: In this format teams will hit from different tee boxes (red, white, and blue) on different holes. Every three holes rotate tee boxes to make it more exciting and sometimes more challenging. But it’s still the best shot format.
  • Powerball: With this variation one player in the group is allowed to the forward tees on designated holes. The group is allowed to pick the person as a lot of strategy is involved to set the team up for a birdie or maybe even eagle. 
  • Florida Style: As we mentioned earlier, some variations of a Texas scramble make it so that the person whose drive is used can’t hit the second shot but can contribute on the following shots. This variation makes it even harder as the person whose drive is used must sit out the rest of the hole! Other names for this format include step aside scramble, stand out scramble, or drop out scramble. 
  • Worst ball (reverse): If a field has a ton of skilled golfers a reverse scramble might be in effect. This is where the worst ball – not the best ball – is chosen and played from that spot. This format also requires a lot of integrity as the group must consistently play the worst ball during the round.
  • Ambrose: In an Ambrose scramble a team handicap allowance is used. For example, if a team has a handicap of 5 and the team birdies one of the top five handicap holes, they’ll get a stroke taken off to make it an eagle. Net scoring and using player’s handicap isn’t common in most scrambles as they’re made to help players of all abilities shoot lower scores. 
  • Las Vegas: In this scramble (also known as Mexican scramble) a die is used to determine who will take the shot. Players are numbered 1-4 and roll to see who will play the shot.
  • Shamble: A shamble is a hybrid tournament that is part scramble, part best ball. Each player tees off like a normal scramble format but things change after the tee shots. Once the best tee shot is selected every golfer plays thier own ball the rest of the hole. The best score is then selected. To learn more about golf shambles click here.

As you can tell, there are tons of ways to make scrambles more exciting than ever. 

What is a Shamble Golf Format

Texas Scramble Strategy 

Now that you know more about the rules of a Texas scramble, let’s review a few strategies to help your team out. 

First, make sure to read the rules and check for the minimum number of tee shots for each player. Then, as you go through the round make sure to notate on the scorecard whose tee shot was used on every hole to avoid any confusion.

The biggest thing to remember when playing Texas scramble is to use the less skilled golfers’ drives sooner rather than later.

Because the later you wait to use them, the more likely they’ll let nerves get the best of them and make it harder to hit a good shot on the last few holes. This could lead to settling for an okay (or even bad drive) just to fill the quota.

Depending on the type of Texas scramble format, you might also need to consider whose drive to take if it’s a Florida scramble. In this format the person whose drive is used can’t hit the next shot (or sometimes hit the rest of the hole) which can make it hard to score.

On the remaining shots around the green and on the green, it’s best to let the skilled players go last. This way they can play golf after learning from their teammates on chips and putts. This will give them the best chance of hitting a great shot or holing an unlikely putt.

FAQs About Golf Formats 

Do you have more questions about different types of golf tournaments and formats? If so, keep reading the most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

Types of Golf Games

How is Texas scramble played?

A Texas scramble is played the same as a traditional scramble except there is a minimum number of tee shots for each team member. This makes it more challenging and requires more strategy to ensure that every player hits their quota during the round. 

Like a normal scramble, the lowest round wins the tournament – which is typically very low scores.

What is the difference between a Texas Scramble and regular scramble? 

The main difference with a Texas scramble is the number of required tee shots for each player. Unlike a normal golf scramble where there is no minimum amount of drives that each player must hit.

Is a Texas Scramble the same as best ball?

No, a Texas scramble is like a normal scramble but requires a certain amount of drives for each player. A best ball tournament (also known as a 4-ball) is an individual scoring event where the best score is selected among the team. To learn more about best ball tournaments versus scrambles click here

How many tee shots in a Texas scramble?

It depends on the number of players on each team. If it’s a 3-man team it’s usually four tee shots per person. If it’s a 4-man team, it’s typically three tee shots per person. 

Why is it called a Texas Scramble?

Texas scrambles became popular in Texas in the 1950s and kept their name ever since. 

My Experience

Scrambles are a ton of fun and something I recommend for all types of golfers.

Whether you’re a scratch golfer or relatively new to the game and just getting started, it’s a great format. There’s no doubt that a Texas scramble makes things a lot more interesting – especially for the highest handicap in the group.

With Texas scrambles it’s important to make sure that the less skilled golfers tee shots are used sooner rather than later. This way player C or player D isn’t dependent on hitting the final tee shots during the round.

Final Thoughts on Texas Scramble Events

A Texas scramble is a small spin on a normal scramble – making each golfer have a set number of tee shots during the round. Otherwise, not much changes with the official rules unless there is a variation as mentioned above.

Generally speaking, it’s a good strategy to let the weaker players hit the first shot off the tee. Or, the most accurate player if it’s a tight driving hole so other golfers can play more aggressively once a ball is in the fairway.

Save the last few shots for the lowest handicap team members who can learn from the other golfers.

Just like any scramble, the team with the lowest score wins. Now it’s time to get your Texas scramble team together and find a tournament near you.

What’s your favorite team game in golf?

Let us know in the comments below. 

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