While golf is a rewarding and enjoyable pursuit for millions of people around the world, standard formats like strokeplay and matchplay don’t always lend themselves to socialising. You and your playing partners may often end up spending long periods of time on different parts of the course, and if some players are far better than others, then it can become a frustrating experience.
That’s why exploring alternative formats can bring rounds of golf to life, and allow players to have fun and compete on a more level playing field, whatever their handicap. One of the most popular is Texas Scramble golf, and this guide tells you all you need to know about it.
The basics of Texas Scramble golf
First of all, it’s important not to get Texas Scramble confused with ‘scrambling’, which refers to the ability for golfers to recover and make par despite missing the green in regulation (you can learn more about this form of scrambling here).
Texas Scramble is a type of play used in amateur tournaments all over the world, and is generally contested by teams of between two and four players. It’s designed to equalise differing abilities between a team, allow every player to make a meaningful contribution to the team’s effort, and neutralise the dominance of driving. It also means players stay together for most of the round as they play shots from the same place, making it a far more sociable experience.
At the start of each hole, each team picks one of its players to hit the tee shot. Where that tee shot lands is where all other players on the team drop their balls to play a second shot. Of these second shots, the best shot is chosen, and all players drop their balls there to play their third shot. This process is completed until someone gets the ball into the hole.
There are a number of variations applied to level the playing field even further. The most notable of these is a limit on the number of counting drives that can be used by each player on a team: for example, in a team of three, six of each player’s drives must be used as the counting shot across the 18 holes.
Handicapping in Texas Scramble golf
Yes, you read that headline right: Lanzarote only has two golf courses. But don’t let that put you off: they are very different in character, and collectively will test your all-round game. They both also benefit from being in very handy locations. Each is located close to major Lanzarote tourist resorts; they’re just 20 minutes’ drive apart; and in between them you’ll find the main town of Arrecife as well as the airport.
So that every team has a fair chance of winning, a handicap multiplier system applies to Texas Scramble golf teams. This enables teams to work out how many shots they are allowed as a team, to be applied to their final score.
For a team of four players, the allowance is the sum of 25% of the lowest handicap, 20% of the second lowest, 15% of the second highest and 10% of the highest. As an example, if you assume the handicaps of the four players are 6, 10, 14 and 20, the calculation is therefore as follows:
25% of 6 = 1.5
20% of 10 = 2.0
15% of 14 = 2.1
10% of 20 = 2.0
1.5 + 2.0 + 2.1 + 2.0 = 7.6 shots allowed
This means that if a team scores 80 for the round, once the 7.6-shot allowance is applied, their final score is 72.4.
The same principle applies to a three-player team, the allowance totalling 30% of the lowest handicap, 20% of the middle handicap and 10% of the highest. In a pairs game, the percentages are 35% of the lower handicap and 15% of the higher.
Key rules and strategies to remember
Because of the team nature of the game, there are some important things to bear in mind when getting to grips with the rules of Texas Scramble golf. We recommend these three tips in particular:
Plan drive allocation
If you’re playing the variation where the counting drive on each hole is rotated between players, then you should plan ahead carefully. If you have one particularly strong driver on the team, then try and make sure that they’re deployed on the longer par fours and par fives. On the other hand, those with less driving power and more accuracy will be better suited to the par threes.
Play with team-mates in mind
When playing your own round, it’s simple to play shots or lay up onto the green in positions that suit your game. But in Texas Scramble, it won’t necessarily be your subsequent shot that will count. You should try and bear that in mind, especially on second and third shots, and try to get your ball into positions that more of your team will find easier. This is a key part of taking the different abilities of your team into account.
Don’t take it too seriously
Texas Scramble golf is designed to be fun, and not as a super-serious competition – it’s why it’s a common format for light-hearted events like charity fundraisers. Always remember that some of your players may not match your experience or ability, and that they’re trying their best. Because you’ll spend most of the round in close contact with your team-mates, encouragement goes a long way in this format of golf, perhaps more than any other.
Get golf insurance with SportsCover Direct
Texas Scramble is a great way to bring golfers of different abilities together. But as with any form of golf, you never know what might go wrong – which is why taking out comprehensive golf insurance is so important.
SportsCover Direct has been insuring golfers like you for nearly three decades, whatever your ability and wherever you play. We’ll make sure that if you get injured on the course, injure someone else accidentally, experience travel disruption, or suffer loss, theft or damage to your clubs, you won’t end up out of pocket.
Take a closer look at our affordable policies and what they include in more detail here.