Golf Tips – Scramble Savvy

May 1, 2015

Thom Slusher, PGA • Clare County’s PGA Pro

Thom Slusher, PGA • Clare County’s PGA Pro

May is typically when the golf outing season begins and scramble competitions become very popular.  Scramble golf brings a few changes in course management from when you are playing your own ball.  Simple changes in course management can help your team excel.

We have been taught to try to leave our approach shots below the hole to give us the best chance to score.  Having an uphill putt gives us a good chance to get the shot very close to the hole and two putt the hole.  Change your thinking for a scramble.  If given the choice between uphill and downhill choose the downhill putt.  The putt has a better chance of getting to the hole and downhill putts have a tendency to break less than uphills.

We play conservatively on holes with trouble lurking in order to stay away from big numbers.  In scrambles your team needs to play aggressively in order to make birdies.  Your team still needs to have a ball in play.  After one is in play the other players can try the risky shots where the reward can be great if executed.  I would recommend having a few old balls in the bag just for these occasions.

Order of play is important for your team.   When driving from the tee you will want to put your long driver last.  Going last gives your long driver opportunity to relax when the earlier players already have a shot in good shape.  Have your best putter go last.  This player will benefit from seeing the speed and line of putts hit before him. The last spot is typically also good for the best iron player.  Good iron players should be able to bear down  and hit the green even after their teammates have missed.

Lastly, attempt to give every putt, chip, and iron shot a chance to go in.  The ball cannot go in its hole if it doesn’t get at least to the hole.  Give some of these ideas a try the next time you play in a scramble.  A few simple changes could make the difference between winning and losing.

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