April 02, 2007

What is the Difference Between a Scramble and a Shamble?

So you're running an upcoming golf outing, and wondering what kind of scoring system to use. You're kind of familiar with the standard scramble format, but you've also heard about something called a shamble. Which do you use? Which will speed play along the course? Thankfully, we have some answers for you.

In a scramble, each and every golfer in the foursome (or threesome) takes a shot from the tee. From this point, the team decides who had the best drive, and all players advance forward to that spot to take their second shots. This process then continues, with the best shot being taken each time, until a member of the team is able to hole out. The team's score for that particular hole is recorded as the number of team "strokes" it took to get the ball in the cup (e.g. third, fourth, fifth, etc.). A shamble is slightly different in that only the best drive (or tee shot) is used for each tem member's second shot. From that point, normal stroke play ensues as each player plays his or her individual own ball, and each golfer is responsible for holing out in the fewest number of shots. Thus, whereas a scramble continuously uses the best shot from the group, in a shamble, only the best drive is used for the foursome.

The decision to use a scramble or a shamble for your golf tournament largely depends on the overall skill level of your field. If your golfers are not particularly talented, a scramble is preferable as group's aren't at the mercy of multiple shanks, skulls, tops, chunks and other poor shots that extend play on each hole for each troubled player. Instead, the continuous best shot format, hopefully, results in a lower team score, fewer shots taken, and less waiting time for groups behind.

On the other hand, shambles provide a more competitive course of play when your field is more consistent on the course. With each golfer being responsible for posting a score, your event benefits from everyone being focused on playing well, while at the same time having fun.