Golf: scramble strategies?

Next week I’m playing in a scramble tournament for the first time. It is only office mates and such, but dammit, I still want to win. I’m looking for some strategies – if there are any – for playing the most effective foursome.

My foursome is me (13 handicap), another guy who is probably about a 15, a woman who I’d guess to be about a 20, and another who is a rank novice.

I’m wondering about order of play. I’m guessing me and the 15 handicap should probably tee off first and last, right? If I’m hitting first, should I just try to bomb it, thinking that we have three other chances to hit the fairway? Same thing on short game, or would a different order be more advantageous?

I’m normally a conservative player, typically hitting a 3 iron or 5 wood on holes shorter than about 375 yards, playing for ideal fairway position, knowing I’ll have nothing more than a 7 iron to the green from the fairway.

Any advice appreciated.

I’m not a golfer, but do like game strategy.

So my suggestion would be that the weakest players go first.
This means:

  • they have the reassurance that the better players are still to come
  • they can try wild shots that might occasionally work

If you go first, you’ll be thinking "I’ve no idea how well the others will do. What strategy should I use? :confused: "
If they go last, they’ll be thinking "I’m rubbish at this - but it all depends on me. Help! :smack: "

P.S. It would be unethical to hire a strong golfer for the day as an office temp. Unethical, but effective. :smiley:

I am an awful golfer.

I’ve been coerced into some scramble tournaments for church charity type events.

I will second that you should put your weaker players first. Since they are wildcards you really need to know- as the better player- whether you should take a conversative approach to your hole (Nobody hits a good shot up to you- and you need to make sure you get on the fairway) or pull out the big dog and see what happens (Somebody hits a playable shot that you can go to if you shank your wood.)

Otherwise- I don’t know that there is much more strategy to a Scramble. My last tournament my team decided we were going to be “The Most Fun Team” (Read- “The most drunk” but since it was a church tournament we decided that would be bad form to come out and say out loud.) which I highly recommend

Not a golfer either, so I figured I’d wait for some others to chime in first, but my instinct is also to have the weaker players go first.

I just played in a scramble this week, we came in second, could of had first but we missed a few putts by this much.

I think the line up should be something like this. for drives and off the fairway, second strongest player first, then the two weaker players, then the strongest player. This way hopefully the first person can get an ok shot in, at least on the fairway. Then the next two get to have a shot at hitting good. The last person then can either try and bomb one or try to get at least one shot on the fairway/green. This of course can change up if you have someone that can hit off the tee much better but sucks off the fairway.

On the green this would change. I think the weakest putter goes first, then on up through the best. The weakest putter gives the line and speed. Even if they are not the best putter they will give some information.

We did change the order around when we played though. We usually went with whoever was ready at the time. We also had to have two drives by each team member, which can cause a bit of problems if you don’t get them out of the way early and it puts pressure on the people who haven’t gotten them in.

Sometimes the womens tees are such a huge advantage ,that the girls may be a big help in driving. The most consistent fairway driver should go first. Then the rest can swing as hard as they want. If there is a rule that you have to take every bodies tees shot at least twice, then get the bad golfers in early. Sometimes you have to pass up a good tee shot to take a weak one . What you do not want to have is being forced to use a poor golfers tee shot on the last hole. They can knock it OB and kill you. You do not need a double bogie on the last hole.

I forgot to mention the two drives per golfer deal.

Also second getting those out of the way early. In my tournament, it was two drives per golfer… at least one on the first and one on the back nine.

In my first tournament- what my friends didn’t tell me, as I littered balls all over the back nine- was that the situation was growing dire as this particular golf course ended with a couple of holes over water. So when it got to the 15th, and I hadn’t hit my shot yet, it was down to one of two. When I somehow managed to hit a shot straight (All be it 100 yards rolled on the ground) our team leader just said, “That’ll do it…” and nobody else teed off, as he had apparantly decided to take my first passable shot a couple of holes before.

Bottom line- if you have anybody who really struggles with the game- get what you need out of them early. Than anything else is just a bonus.

Big advantage opportunity with the women’s tee’s. I love to play in these types of tournaments. I am both a woman and a rank novice. Because the women’s tees are closer, I always tee off last so I’m not standing in front of anyone. There are usually good playable shots already on the fairway, but we normally play at least 4-5 of my drives. (The rest I hit in the water or the woods. :wink: )

When it comes to fairway shots, I suck. I’m also not a consistent putter so I usually putt first and let the other players on my team get a read on the green. Occasionally I get luck and sink a 30 footer. :slight_smile:

The number one rule of a scramble is just to have fun.

Ok, so for tee shots, my love for game theorists notwithstanding, I’m going with the golfers and putting the weaker players in the middle. For putts, they go first.

Does anyone have any thoughts about approach shots? I’m thinking the order probably doesn’t matter as much, for whatever reason.

I would think approach shots would be about the same as the drives. Unless, as I said, they have a hard time hitting off the deck. I know lately I’ve been hitting drives a bit better. Anything from 175 out I don’t even try and hit the green simply because I never practice that shot, I know I should I just don’t. When we played this past week we had a couple of shots like that so I tried my three wood, one shot it worked ok, the others not so much. I still the best player needs to go last, if you at least have someone on the green then let them go for it, if not they can at least play it safe.

When we played we did start out this way and it slowly started to change. Somehow near the end I ended up hitting last. I’m not the best player, as in I’ve never broken 100, but I can hit off the tee. We were on a par 3 that was 175 or so, which isn’t my best shot. No one else hit and they left it up to me, I ended up dropping it about 10 feet away. I’ve never done that before. We did make the birdie though. :smiley:

I see you’re from DC, where are you playing at?

Andrews AFB. I was trying to get people interested in playing Renditions, Blue Mash, Musket Ridge, or some other nice place, but some folks balked at the price.

Do not under any circumstances use a shot in a sand trap, no matter how much closer it is. Most golfers are horrible in traps and you will regret it.

When I’m playing with the rugby club fundraiser, whomever isn’t [del]flirting with[/del] [del]buying beer from[/del] supporting the [del]beer lady[/del] refreshment cart goes first.

When I’m playing with a company function with randomly selected teams, the B player goes first, then C/D, then A, as others have mentioned.

The funny part is that I suck, I know I suck, and I announce it and make it clear before hand. So, after I kill a duck and hit the water cooler, it’s always suggested, “Hey, Santo, why don’t you go first; show us the line.” I always sink it, because my putting skillz are teh awesome. After a couple holes, I get to go first once we’re on the green. :slight_smile:

Also, it’s common to let whomever’s shot we’re using hit first. Play it as it lies, and all of that. Not necessary, but it’s cool to be able to go first once in awhile.

Err, I meant I get to go last on the green.

The day will require a lot of beer. I recommend high dosage because you can not win.

I have played a ton of golf scrambles, a perquisite of my old days as an attorney. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Leave the person who has the most control over their swing to last for all shots that are not putts. That person wants to know if the team has a good, safe shot already in play before swinging. If there is a good shot in play, the last golfer can swing away, because a bad result won’t kill the team. But if there is no decent shot already made, the last person knows not to take any chances; hit something safe (to the center of the green, not over the trap; to the center of the fairway, not cutting the dogleg, etc.).

  2. NEVER in the conditions you are describing take a shot that requires touch if you can help it. Don’t try to hit over traps, don’t try to hit out of traps, don’t try to hit through trees, etc. You are describing two out of four golfers who are not in good control of their shots; those sorts of shots will simply be a crap shoot. Use a shot from as much as 30 yards further away if need be to avoid them.

  3. The first person to putt should be someone who can roll the ball smoothly, but who isn’t neccessarily your best putter. You want to know about the break, so the people who can actually use that information get a chance to sink the putt. The best putter should go last.

  4. Take flat putts before breaking putts. You can take a putt that is as much as half-again longer if it is significantly flatter. Sidehill breaks are tough to sink, even with four chances.

  5. Drink lots of beer. It won’t help the golf, but it will help you enjoy the day. :smiley: