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Question about Scramble format rules.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Let me begin this by saying I understand that a scramble format golf tourney should be enjoyed for a good time, and not much more. But I have a question about a ruling, and would like to hear some opinions from the rules forums guys.

My wife and I have started playing in a monthly mixed couples two person scramble tourney which gives out about $2000 in cash and prizes. I don't love the format, but my wife is very new to the game and she very much loves the format, as it usually takes a lot of pressure off her to perform well, while giving her some tourney experience and much needed practice.

Here's the question: I'll present the exact example. On a par 3, I hit my tee shot to about 10'. My wife hits hers on the green, but is 30' away. We decide to use my shot. We pick up her ball. I let her putt first, so I can get a read of the line. She hits the birdie putt to about 3" of the cup. She proceeds to walk up and tap it in for a par....with me still waiting for my birdie attempt. I make my birdie attempt and it misses.

Our competitor couple says, "It's a good thing you didn't make that birdie putt, as it would not have counted. [My wife] already hit her putt into the hole, giving you guys a par, and completing the hole".

Now, I completely understand the logic. We should have marked her putt which was 3" away, and then I could take my attempt at the birdie. Then when I missed, we could replace her ball, and tap in for par. I understood the concept that once one of our shots is holed (her par putt), that hole is over for us and taking my attempt after she holed out would not count. The logic is fine.

My question is, without this rule clearly stated in a rules sheet somewhere, specific to this format, how can this rule be upheld? I have not looked through the USGA rules of golf to see if there is a specific section regarding a scramble (captains choice) format and its ruling quirks. This rule was not stated on any printed rules sheets at the tournament. I'm just wondering if this rule is in print, and is common knowledge in THIS format.
post #2 of 26

You will find no help in the Rules of Golf as they do not cover scrambles. 

 

As there are no written rules, organising committees have to make them up. Good committees will write them down but most don't so players just have to assume a 'convention'. This of course can cause many problems because who decides what the convention is?

 

However in this case, the convention is universal. Once the ball is in the hole, the hole is over. I have never heard of a scramble where that wasn't so. 

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulesman View Post

You will find no help in the Rules of Golf as they do not cover scrambles. 

As there are no written rules, organising committees have to make them up. Good committees will write them down but most don't so players just have to assume a 'convention'. This of course can cause many problems because who decides what the convention is?


However in this case, the convention is universal. Once the ball is in the hole, the hole is over. I have never heard of a scramble where that wasn't so. 

Thank you. So do not tap-in for the sake of convenience if there is still a birdie putt attempt that needs to be rolled. It actually makes sense, but is such a little detail that provides zero benefit that I basically overlooked it.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyrtleBeachGolf View Post


Thank you. So do not tap-in for the sake of convenience if there is still a birdie putt attempt that needs to be rolled. It actually makes sense, but is such a little detail that provides zero benefit that I basically overlooked it.

My experience is exactly that of Rulesman.  Don't hole the par, until you've exhausted all birdie attempts.

 

I agree though, I've never really understood the reasoning, given how little a scramble resembles real golf. 

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulesman View Post

However in this case, the convention is universal. Once the ball is in the hole, the hole is over. I have never heard of a scramble where that wasn't so. 

 

For some reason the scrambles I have played, we have putted in pars in this case. And this has been with different people and no-one has objected.

 

May be next time (which is actually this Sunday) I will ask the committee what are the scramble rules in this case.

 

Just a question, as scramble is not RoG, do amateur rules apply to prizes in scrambles? $2000 is quite a lot, unless it is divided in many tournaments.

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyrtleBeachGolf View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulesman View Post

You will find no help in the Rules of Golf as they do not cover scrambles. 

As there are no written rules, organising committees have to make them up. Good committees will write them down but most don't so players just have to assume a 'convention'. This of course can cause many problems because who decides what the convention is?


However in this case, the convention is universal. Once the ball is in the hole, the hole is over. I have never heard of a scramble where that wasn't so. 

Thank you. So do not tap-in for the sake of convenience if there is still a birdie putt attempt that needs to be rolled. It actually makes sense, but is such a little detail that provides zero benefit that I basically overlooked it.

 

In all of the many scrambles I've played, the rule is always that you may take the tap-in while still continuing to putt for the lower score  This is done in the interest of speeding play.  

 

Assume for the following example that the putt is for birdie and the tap-in is for par.  The way I've always seen it played is if the par tap-in is taken out of rotation and made, then the remainder of  the team can continue to try for the birdie.  If the tap-in is missed, then that cancels any further attempts at the birdie.   For that reason, we make darn sure that the tap-in really is a short one, usually less than 12".  Any more than that we mark.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

 

In all of the many scrambles I've played, the rule is always that you may take the tap-in while still continuing to putt for the lower score  This is done in the interest of speeding play.  

 

Same here.  Played in many scrambles and this has never been an issue.  In our scrambles, the "convention" is always that the first putter is allowed to attempt to hole out knowing that there is a lower score putt still pending.  Now, we've never attempted this with anything other than a tap in, as if the tap in is missed I can see how it would bring up confusion: if the birdie putt is then missed, that person technically doesn't know the mark of the par attempt that was already taken.

 

I'm not sure if this is relevant or not, but I played in an NCGA-sanctioned 2 person better ball format last year.  In that tournament it was expressly stated to us that when one of the team had the putting honors, we always had the option of allowing the partner (who may be closer, but may be putting for par as opposed to birdie) to putt first, thus allowing the player with the honors to see the line.  Maybe that's not a relevant example because both players still score their respective balls and only take the best score after each has holed out?

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplewis24 View Post

 

 

 

I'm not sure if this is relevant or not, but I played in an NCGA-sanctioned 2 person better ball format last year.  In that tournament it was expressly stated to us that when one of the team had the putting honors, we always had the option of allowing the partner (who may be closer, but may be putting for par as opposed to birdie) to putt first, thus allowing the player with the honors to see the line.  Maybe that's not a relevant example because both players still score their respective balls and only take the best score after each has holed out?

 

The option of who putts first in a four-ball is permitted under 31-4 so is not relevant.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyrtleBeachGolf View Post
 

 

You can now see why scrambles are such a mess to control if something as fundamental as holing the ball isn't standardised.

post #10 of 26

I have seen this same thing happen before.  In most scrambles I play in, most are charity events, all you can win is trophies or gift certificates or miscellaneous junk.  So, if someone taps in while someone else still has a birdie putt in the group...no one really cares.  BUT....if you are playing for money prizes or prizes that others deem significant...I can see where someone would bring up that rule.  My suggestion...don't tap it in until all possibilities for a lower score on the hole are exhausted. 

post #11 of 26

Most of the time it's not really an issue because scrambles are usually 4 person teams, meaning there are no rules hawks there to call you on it.  The ones I've played in, if the ball is to the side of the hole or past it, we would usually mark it, however if it's right on line and just a pinch short, just tap it in and get out of the way.  It's just silly to worry about a non-rule in such a casual "competition."

 

It is, after all, a charity scramble where we're going to end up at -8 on a good day, which means, at best, middle of the pack, since somebody always seems to pull a 58 or better out of their rear end.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Most of the time it's not really an issue because scrambles are usually 4 person teams, meaning there are no rules hawks there to call you on it.  The ones I've played in, if the ball is to the side of the hole or past it, we would usually mark it, however if it's right on line and just a pinch short, just tap it in and get out of the way.  It's just silly to worry about a non-rule in such a casual "competition."

 

It is, after all, a charity scramble where we're going to end up at -8 on a good day, which means, at best, middle of the pack, since somebody always seems to pull a 58 or better out of their rear end.

 

In the last 2 four-person team scrambles I played in, they actually had a rule that a putt for birdie can result in no worse than par.  That kinda makes the issue moot.

 

I've been wanting to rant about 4 person scrambles since I played in one last Friday, so here goes:

 

I've read all the threads about cheating but never experienced it until last Friday.  I got called thursday night to fill in for an injured person that was the fourth member of a 4 person scramble charity tournament.  I only knew one of the guys and the other two guys were strangers to me, but veterans of this particular tournament.  Before the round, I was joking about how silly it is to worry about winning a 4 person scramble, and the guys start telling me how they won it the prior year.  I was surprised and started joking about how they were putting pressure on me to perform.  Without provocation, they started letting me know that their win was "100% legit."  I immediately knew they were cheaters, but if that didn't give it away, this did:

 

"Besides, it's not really cheating anyway.  I mean, my feeling is, if a putt burns the edge of the cup or lips out, it's a birdie."  I started dying laughing, only they were serious.  They went on to explain that you have to "cheer and walk off the green" to make it look good.  Holy sh**, what did I get myself into?

 

Long story short, we won the tournament at -14.  I had our actual score at -8, give or take a stroke, as it was hard to keep score.  They hit so many mulligans that on a couple holes I forgot whether we finished with a legit ball or not.  But the kicker is that I watched the groups in front and in back of us, and virtually every person was cheating.  I watched the last 3 holes from the group in front of us as each member hit 2 balls from the tee box and every fairway.  I also witnessed them drop a ball way up on a par 5 fairway where nobody had hit to (I have good eyesight).  And this wasn't some shady tournament, it is a fairly well-known charity event with like 150 participants or something crazy.

 

Anyway, I didn't stick around for the awards banquet as I was too embarrassed and disgusted by the whole thing.  Apparently all we won is a trophy, as the tournament founders want to discourage cheating.  Job well done. b3_huh.gif

 

IMO 4 person scrambles should be outlawed.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplewis24 View Post

...IMO 4 person scrambles should be outlawed.

I look at them just as an opportunity to contribute to a charity, drink beer, have fun with friends playing a game loosely resembling golf and maybe win some nifty raffle prizes (my haul from various charity scrambles has included a golf bag, a pair of Vokey wedges, a TM R11s driver and a weekend casino/golf vacation).  I never expect to win them because I usually play with the same group of guys and: a) we aren't that good, and b) we're not willing to cheat.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Most of the time it's not really an issue because scrambles are usually 4 person teams, meaning there are no rules hawks there to call you on it.  The ones I've played in, if the ball is to the side of the hole or past it, we would usually mark it, however if it's right on line and just a pinch short, just tap it in and get out of the way.  It's just silly to worry about a non-rule in such a casual "competition."

 

It is, after all, a charity scramble where we're going to end up at -8 on a good day, which means, at best, middle of the pack, since somebody always seems to pull a 58 or better out of their rear end.

 

Only 8 under.... you obviously haven't figured out the format.  a2_wink.gif

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Only 8 under.... you obviously haven't figured out the format.  a2_wink.gif
Lol ... Yeah the group I usually play with stinks! It's a moral victory if we make it around without a bogey!
post #16 of 26

Our seasons first scramble ended with -4 as winner (three groups in total), our group was par. There are no strings, no mulligans etc to be bought.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by luu5 View Post

Our seasons first scramble ended with -4 as winner (three groups in total), our group was par. There are no strings, no mulligans etc to be bought.

 

2 man or 4 man?  Not bad for 2 man.......

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

 

2 man or 4 man?  Not bad for 2 man.......

 

Would not be, but it was mostly 4 man "random" groups, two groups were 3 man. The groups were done based on total HC of each group to be about equal. Club length placing and no change of lie, i.e. from rough to fairway is no-no.

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