Scramble vs Best Ball: What’s The Difference?

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 04/26/22

Do you know the difference between scramble and best ball?

If not, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

It’s a common question, and many golfers are confused about the two formats.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between scramble and best ball, as well as when each format is best used in golf!

What is a Scramble in golf?

A scramble is a format in golf where all players on a team tee off, and then the best shot is chosen.

All players then move their balls to that spot, and from there they hit their second shots.

This process is repeated until the team eventually holes out, including putts!

Every hole of the round should be played with this format.

Example of a hole played in the Golf Scramble format

There’s no better way to explain how the scramble format works than to go through an example, which is shown above.

For this example, we’ll review a hole which is played as a 2-player scramble.

  1. One of the golfers hit the ball into the rough, and the other golfer hit the ball farther into the fairway. The ball in the fairway is chosen as it gives them a better approach shot.
  2. Both golfers will hit their next shot from the location of the ball that was chosen. One of the golfers hit the ball onto the green a couple of feet away from the hole, and the other golfer hit the ball into the sand bunker. The ball on the green is chosen as it gives them a birdie putt.
  3. Both golfers will putt from where the ball is on the green. One of the golfers missed the putt, while the other sunk it for the birdie.
  4. Now, the hole is finished and your team scores a three on the scorecard.

Then, you’d move on to the next hole and repeat this process until the round is completed!

What is Best Ball in golf?

Best ball is a format that is very similar to a scramble, but with one key difference.

In best ball, each golfer on the team plays their own ball throughout the entire hole.

At the end of each hole, the team’s best score (lowest number of strokes from one golfer) is recorded on the scorecard.

This format is often called “better ball” when there are only two golfers in a group, and “best ball” when there are three or four golfers in a group.

Example of a hole played in the Best Ball format

If one golfer takes 5 strokes to finish the hole, and another golfer only takes 4 strokes to finish the hole, you’d put down a 4 on the scorecard since that’s the lower number.

Should you use the Scramble or Best Ball format?

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of best ball and scramble, you might be wondering which format is best for your group.

Both formats can be a lot of fun, but there are definitely some differences between the two.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced round of golf with plenty of action, then scramble is the way to go.

Scramble is perfect for groups of all skill levels, as it evens the playing field and gives everyone a chance to contribute to the team’s score.

Best ball, on the other hand, is best suited for groups of golfers with similar skill levels.

This is because best ball can be a bit more competitive, and the team’s best score on each hole is what counts.

So, if you have a group of friends who are all around the same handicap, best ball is a great option!

Final Thoughts

We hope this blog post has helped clear up any confusion you may have had about best ball vs scramble.

Both formats can be a lot of fun, but they definitely have their own unique set of rules.

The best way to decide which format is right for your group is to try out both and see which one you enjoy more.

And if neither piques your interest, you should give the Shamble format a try!

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.