shamble golf

Looking for a fun event on your next golf outing? Try shamble! Nope, that’s not a typo for a scramble.

Shamble golf is its own thing, although it does borrow the second shot twist from the scramble format.

Find out why shambles are becoming more popular among avid golfers and how the game differs from a scramble.

What Is Shamble Golf?

Shamble is part scramble golf, part stroke play. However, it’s closer to regular golf than a scramble. Why? Everything is stroke play, except for the second shot, which follows the scramble format.

You can play in groups of two, three, or four. In a two-man shamble, for instance, both players tee off, and the best drive between their shots is selected. They then move to that spot to play their second ball.

So, if Player A hits the best drive, Player A and Player B move to where A’s ball landed to play their next shot. After that, both players hit their ball from where it lies until they finish the hole.

shamble golf format

Image source: Pinterest

Why Play Shamble Golf

So, what’s the attraction of the shamble golf format?

1. Better Approach Shots

One of the perks of playing a shamble is that golfers often get to tee off from a favorable position on the fairway.

Everyone can enjoy a solid head start, especially if there’s a long knocker in your group. This advantage sets them up for better chances of hitting the green and scoring well on each hole.

2.  Feels Like Regular Golf

Except for the second shot, everyone plays their ball just like they would in regular stroke play. The twist to the shamble format is the fun scramble element of the second shot.

And if you’ve invested in joining a tournament and paid your way in, it’s a real treat to play your ball and experience the entire course.

golf shamble

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Golf Shamble Format vs. Scramble

In a scramble, you gather in groups of two to four, and each person in your group takes a swing from the tee. Next, you all decide the best shot and move your ball usually from within a club length from that spot. Your group can then proceed from there to the green.

This cycle repeats—all members continue to hit from the best drive. So, if you’re playing a foursome, you get four tries at each shot to choose the best location.

When everyone lands their approach shot on the green, you go for the ball closest to the pin. From there, everyone putts out. Finally, you tally how many strokes your team took to hole it to get your team score.

Now, a golf shamble starts the same. All team members tee off, and then the team selects the best drive to play their second shot from. From that point, it’s like regular golf—each player plays their ball and tries to hole out in the fewest shots possible.

Scramble vs. Shamble: Which Is Better?

Scrambles are perfect for casual games and corporate events where handicaps aren’t a big deal, so there’s less pressure on individual players. If you flub your ball, you’ve got teammates who, hopefully, will pick up the slack. The goal is to win while having a good time.

Also, teams don’t get bogged down by multiple bad shots that can drag out the game for everyone. Instead, scrambles yield lower scores and fewer shots, which keeps things moving faster for groups playing behind you.

On the downside, your shots may never get used, and challenging shots are few and far between.

Meanwhile, shambles offer a more competitive experience for more serious players. With each golfer accountable for their ball, the event encourages focus on playing well. That means you have to deal with your foul balls, too.

That said, shamble scoring is flexible enough to include handicaps to level the playing field for people with different skills.

golf shamble format

Image source: Pinterest

Shamble Golf Scoring

Let’s say you’re playing a four-man shamble. Since everyone knocks their shot, you finish with four scores for each hole. So, how do you compute the team score?

Well, that’s where the tournament organizers can get creative. Here are some common scoring options:

  • Aggregate total of all scores
  • The lowest score of the team
  • Two or three lowest scores combined
  • The lowest and highest scores combined
  • Two middle scores after ignoring the lowest and highest scores

In some shambles, the “par is your partner” rule applies. It says your team can’t do worse than par on a hole. If you don’t score a birdie or better on your own, you get a par by default. It’s a way to set a minimum score and move the play faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does a Two-Man Shamble Work?

In a two-man shamble, you pick the best tee shot between the two of you, and both will play from that position into the hole. Typically, you record the better score.

Scoring well in a two-player shamble can be tougher. With just two players, there are fewer opportunities to nail a good tee shot. If both players end up with a bad drive, it can be tricky to recover and score well when you’re both off-target for the next shot.

What Is a 4-Person Shamble Golf?

All players in a four-man group tee off and select the best drive from all four tee shots. The rest will move their ball to that spot, usually within one club length but not nearer to the hole.

From there, everyone plays their ball until they’ve all holed out.

4 person shamble golf

Image source: Pinterest

Can You Handicap a Shamble?

Sure, you can use handicaps in a shamble. Because it’s a mix of scramble and stroke play, you only need to tweak things a bit to fit in handicaps.

Most tournaments allow between 55% to 80% of your handicap. In a four-person shamble, it’s common to use around 80% of your total handicap. With varying skill levels, it’s also reasonable to use everyone’s full handicaps.

And just like scrambles, there’s room for plenty of variations in a shamble. For instance, instead of using a single best score, you can go for two or three. Or you can up the challenge by requiring that each player in a foursome contributes up to four drives for the team.

What Is a Texas Shamble?

A Texas shamble is simply a two-man shamble golf. After teeing off, you choose the best tee shot, play your second shot from there, and keep going until you hole out with your ball.

Final Putt

Overall, shamble golf offers the best of both worlds—teamwork and individual play—making it a hit among golfers looking for a thrilling tournament.

You scramble off the drive and stroke play from the second shot forward. You’ll love that it isn’t just a game but an experience!

So, gather your crew, hit the course, and enjoy a casual round of shamble golf today!

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