Fun Games to Play in a Scramble Golf Tournament
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If you are playing in a corporate or charitable golf outing, you may be playing in a scramble golf tournament. In a scramble event, players of all ability levels have the opportunity to contribute to their team's performance. Scramble tournaments are usually played in a best ball format, which means each player hits from the spot of the best previous shot taken among members of a golf foursome.
In a Peoria scramble -- also known as the Blind Peoria or Banker's scramble -- the tournament organizer pulls the number of six holes out of a hat. None of the players know in advance which holes have been selected. On those six holes, the player's scores are added up and multiplied by 1.5 and then subtracted from the final score. The player with the lowest final score wins. In this system, you are rewarded by playing poorly on the Peoria holes and well on the other 12 holes.
This game has been popularized as a televised pro tournament -- usually at the end of the golf season -- but it is also popular in scramble format as well. In a Skins Game, each player will get a point if he wins a hole outright in the round. However, if there is a tie, nobody wins a point and the points carry over to the next hole. So if player A wins the first hole he gets a point. If players B and C tie for the lowest score on the second hole, nobody gets a point. Then the foursome plays for two points on the third hole. If players C and D tie, then the group plays for three points on fourth hole. The tournament goes on in this manner until one player wins a hole outright. As soon as that happens, the winning player gets all the points and the next hole is worth one point.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo
In this game, you can go all out on every shot. You get a point if your tee shot lands in the fairway. You get a point if you get to your green in regulation and you also get a point if you have the fewest putts of your foursome on a given hole. You have a chance to win three points on any hole in the tournament. If you hit a poor drive and don't make the fairway, you can make up for it by getting to the green in regulation. If you hit a poor drive and did not get to the green in regulation, you can still earn a point by making your putt and having the fewest putts of any member of your foursome. The player with the most points at the end of 18 holes wins the Bingo, Bango, Bongo tournament.
Before the start of the tournament, every player puts a set amount of money into the pot. Before the round begins, each player makes a prediction on what his final score will be. The player who comes the closest to predicting his actual score wins the pot and gets first prize. In a variation of the game, you predict your own score and for one other member of your foursome. You not only have to know your own game, but you also have to know your playing partner's game.
Be prepared to spend a long day on the golf course in any scramble tournament. Because all players will be playing all shots from the location of the best previous shot, participants must walk to their ball and pick it up and then bring it to the new location. This takes time. When the scramble has a full field, an 18-hole round that normally takes less than four hours can take nearly seven hours.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.