What Is A Texas Scramble?

Texas Scramble is one of golf's most popular team formats

What Is A Texas Scramble
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Texas Scramble, or simply a 'Scramble' is one of the most popular golf formats that can be played in teams of twos, threes and fours.

In its purest, simplest form, all members of the team get the chance to hit every shot.

After all have teed off, the team decides which drive is the best. From there, all members of the team place their golf balls where the chosen drive ended up, with all members playing a second shot from this spot.

From these second shots, one is chosen and all play a third shot from there - and so on until the ball is holed. Each team returns one score for each hole and the team with the lowest score for the round wins.

Originally, Texas Scramble was known as Captain’s Choice. However, in the 1950s, the format became extremely popular in Texas, hence why it then became known as a Texas Scramble.

One of the main attractions of the format is that golfers with less ability can join in with little fear of embarrassment or of being a burden to other players. If a golfer’s drive whimpers off deep into a nearby undergrowth, then there is no issue - just choose one of the other team members' drives.

However, although this would usually be the case, there are many variations on the rules of Texas Scramble. For example, some types of scramble require that a certain number of drives must be taken by each player in the team, typically three drives in a four-man team, or four in a three-person team.

This is because for example if your team has a pro on the side, you could theoretically use every single one of their drives as they may be longer and straighter, or closer to the pin. Having to use a certain number of drives per player makes it fairer and also brings an element of strategy into play, especially if you're towards the end of the round and certain team members haven't filled their allocation yet.

Texas Scramble Format

The advantage of a Texas Scramble is that you have multiple opportunities to get it in play

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Another variation is that the person whose shot you decide to take cannot play the next shot. Thus, if Dave, Bill, Jenny and Lauren are playing together and Dave‘s drive is selected only Bill, Jenny and Lauren can play the second shots. Then, if it is Bill’s second shot the team to decide to take, only Dave, Jenny and Lauren can play third shots.

The aim of these modifications is to keep all players involved. In pure Texas Scramble, in theory, one player could play every shot that counts. For some, the attraction of Texas Scramble is precisely that one or two players can carry a team. 

For this reason, Texas Scramble is often used for charity events and when several of the golfers may be rookies or very out of practice.

Scramble is most often played in threes and fours in stroke play or stableford, but can also be played in pairs as either stroke play, stableford or even match play.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response