Golf Tournament Games – Scramble and Ambrose


In golf, the most common forms of gameplay are match play and stroke play. However, other forms of scoring methods are involved and this is where you might come across a game known as Scramble which is one of the more popular types.

Setting the stage for teamwork

Scrambles are a great game to play in teams and it ensures everyone plays a role to win the round.

  • A team can be between 2 or more players. 4 players in a team would be ideal.
  • The objective is to complete all the holes in the course but that is where the challenge is.

Rules in Scramble

Unlike Match Play, Scramble does not have any official format or rules which means it is one of the most flexible and relaxed games in golf. However, there are common practices that are understood by golfers when playing Scramble.

  • All 4 players in the team tee off. The leader of the team will then decide which of the 4 is the best and that spot is used for every player.
  • From that spot, all the players will hit the ball to the next and the leader will again decide the best spot from the 4 and it goes on.
  • After the first shot and the spot decided, it will be marked and that is where players can improve their lie by one club length. This won’t be applicable if the ball falls into a hazard like water ponds.
  • Each tea will only derive one score (thus using only 1 ball) which is taken from the best score from each hole.
  • Scoring is standard here with the lowest winning the game.

Common tactics in Scramble

Taking note that this is a team effort, putting in the right strategies is imperative. The first plan is to have a player order. Let the weaker players go first and the last being the best putter. This will help in situations in case the first three players miss their shots. Secondly, choose the players carefully. You should have a good mix of different skill sets. The most accurate player should hit first so that it goes onto the fairway while the longest hitter should be last.

Ambrose and other variations of Scramble

Another scoring method in golf is known as Ambrose. This is a common game said to have originated from Australia. It is a popular variation of the Scramble but with a little twist. This game ensures players from different skill levels to play together with better teamwork. The concept and general rule of Ambrose are the same where 2 or more players in a team hit the balls and the best shot is chosen to play for the next. There are certain games where there is a requirement of imposing a minimum number of drives from every player in the team. The main difference here however is in the handicap of the players. A team handicap will be used where it is derived through:

Total of handicaps from all members / (Total number of players x 2) 

Other variations include:

  • Bramble – This game is a combination of Scramble and Best Ball where it starts with Scramble and then each member will go separate ways after that.
  • Las Vegas Scramble – Instead of the leader deciding the next shot, a 6-sided dice is used.
  • Florida Scramble – In this game, the player whose ball has been selected for the next shot will not be taking his shot. In other words, one member of the team will not play in every stroke.
  • Texas Scramble – In this game, the general rules are the same with an addition that each player must have at least 4 drives.


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