What Is Scrambling In Golf? [And How To Do It]

Golf is far from the easiest game in the world. It takes many years to master it, and even then the margin for error is so small.

However, the beauty of golf is that at the end of the day, if you’re playing a golf tournament, it all comes down to what’s written on the scorecard after the round is complete. You might have hit it awful all the way around but still walked off with a half-decent score. This basically is what golf scrambling means.

If it wasn’t for my ability to golf scramble, I wouldn’t be able to break 80 in most rounds. A good scrambling golf game saves you. Makes you look like you didn’t shank the pants off it for 18 holes.

Here we’ll look at what is scrambling golf and find out a little bit more about how to become a good scrambler in golf.

Let’s get into it and find out a little more about scrambling and how casual golfers can become good at scrambling.

what does scrambling mean in golf

What Does Scrambling Mean In Golf?

What Is Golf Scrambling?

Golf scrambling is a pretty simple term and essentially means the number of times you’re able to save a par or better having missed the green in regulation. It’s a term that is widely used on professional golf tours to show how well a player plays to recover from a bad shot.

An example of scrambling golf could be that you’ve missed the green with your third shot on a par 5 and are in a bunker. You then proceed to get up and down for a par and a successful scramble.

It could also be that you’ve not hit your best shot off the tee. Tried to chip out and hit the tree branch with your next shot. Chipped out successfully onto the fairway for 3 and then holed your 4th from 100 yards. Scrambling is just about getting the ball in the hole for par, having not hit the green in regulation (GIR).

Scramble golf is hugely important for shooting good scores. Turning a 5 into a 4 or a 7 into a 5 will keep your final score down and the scorecard clean.

Golf scrambling is not to be confused with a ‘golf scramble’, which is a type of format also known as a Texas Scramble, with some other variations like Las Vegas Scramble and Florida Scramble.

The format of golf scramble (or Texas scramble) is where all players in the scramble team hit from the same position, and choose the best shot until the ball is in the hole. A scramble tournament is quite a common event in the amateur game during the Winter months.

what is scrambling golf

How To Calculate Golf Scrambling?

To calculate your scrambling golf percentage, all you have to do is work out the number of greens you’ve missed and then the number of times you managed to save par or better on those holes.

Say a player misses 10 greens in a round and made par on 5 of those holes, you would have a 50% scrambling golf percentage.

Of course, you could also make better than par on a hole. This would also be included in the percentage calculated.

In the 2022 season on the PGA Tour, the top scrambler was Matt Fitzpatrick (which probably helped him pick up the US Open, plus other golf tournaments along the way).

In the whole season, he missed a whopping 418 greens in regulation but managed to make par or better 291 times. This gives him an outstanding scrambling ability of 69.62, with plenty of successful scrambles.

Greg Norman’s 72.8% in 1993 is the greatest Scrambling percentage recorded since the tour started keeping track of it in 1992. In actuality, Norman is the only golfer who has yet to surpass 70%. Tiger Woods is the only other golfer to reach 69%, and he did so twice.

The average on the PGA Tour for that year was a mere 58.30%, which gives us casual golfers some comfort for when we can only manage 2 or 3 scrambles a round.

If the top professionals in the world are only saving par or better just over 50% of the time, it means it’s not that easy, but scramble golf really is crucial to good results.

Why Calculate Scrambling Percentage?

It might seem a little pointless for amateurs out there that are still unable to break 100, to go around working out their scrambling proficiency.

However, as many of the top players in the world would confirm, being able to scramble and scramble golf well is crucial for shooting good scores.

Look at Matt Fitzpatrick for example and his scrambling stat. He won the 2022 US Open, but his average GIR was 72% for the four days. This meant that he had to be able to get up-and-down 20 times to save his par or better. Without a top scrambling ability, he would have had to rely heavily on making lots of birdies to see him home.

Scrambling is what turns an 85 into a 79 when playing in golf tournaments. It makes what would be a disappointing score, a score you’re happy with. Golf is too difficult to rely on yourself to hit every green, every time you play. A steady short game and the tenacity to not give up on a hole it’s what will turn a good golfer into a great golfer.

scrambling golf meaning

Pros/Cons Of Scrambling Stats

The golf scrambling stat is widely used in professional golf to help keep track of where golfers are best and worst. But what are the pros and cons of using the scrambling percentage golf stat?


Highlights Short Game

A lot of the time scrambling is about what you can do with your wedge and putter. Of course, there are other ways of making par but usually, it comes down to the short game.

A high scrambling percentage will likely show that your short game is in good shape.

Highlights Long Game

If you have to scramble on every other hole, it’s going to highlight an issue with your long game.

Similar to the GIR stat, scrambling will show how many greens are being missed in regulation resulting in you having to try and scramble for the par.

It won’t make it clear what the main issue is, but it will show an overall problem with your long and approach play the game.

Shows Tenacity

It takes heart and a willingness to succeed when you’re consistently averaging high scrambling numbers. Golf feels easy when you’re hitting greens and making birdies. But when it all starts going array, that’s when the great golfers show themselves, and scramble golf comes into its own.

Grinding out pars is fun for the best players, so scrambling stats show a certain level of resilience.


Not Relevant

For a lot of golfers, they’re nowhere near a level where they can hit a green in regulation, let alone be able to scramble for par.

A constant state of 0% would be totally pointless at this level and only discourage players.

Representation Of Score

You might have a scrambling statistic of 100%, but a score of 100 in a golf tournament. The two holes you managed to scramble, didn’t represent how you played overall.

Poor Tee Shot?

With scrambling, it’s unclear whether the issue was from a poor tee shot or a poor approach shot.

You might have hit the fairway and then hit a poor approach shot. Or perhaps you hit a horrendous tee shot and didn’t have a chance in hell of making par.

Therefore it’s not a real representation of where your missed greens are coming from.

How Do You Practice Scrambling In Golf?

Practising scrambling in golf simply comes down to working on the areas which are important for a good golf scrambling game, as well as practising more situations which require good scrambling.

First and foremost, good golf scrambling comes down to how well you can chip and putt. Missing greens is going to happen, but if you can hit chips close and then hole the putts your scrambling stats are going to be high and your scores low.

Work on putts from inside 10 feet, chip shots from challenging positions around the greens and pitch shots from within 80 yards. This will give you the best chance to scramble when you’re out playing.

As well as practising the important areas of the game, it’s also a good idea to try and simulate situations where good scrambling is required.

A game I like to do on the course in practice is playing a few balls on each hole and choosing the worst ball each time. It’s not often I’m hitting a good shoot both times, so it means I get more opportunities to practice from more challenging spots.

Another way I like to practice scrambling is by intentionally putting myself in difficult places on the golf course. If I’ve hit it in the rough, I’ll put it into thicker rough or behind trees. If I’ve hit the green, I’ll move it to a tough lie for a chip or in a bunker. This intentional practice allows me to get better at the more difficult positions on the golf course.

Practising scrambling is not something that’s easy to do. It requires a focus on the short-game areas of golf, but also intentionally putting yourself in challenging course situations.

Final Thoughts

There we have it, a detailed look at what scrambling is in golf and scramble golf, not to be confused with a scramble tournament such as a Texas scramble. I’ve always had to rely on a half-decent ability to scramble in a round of golf.

Whether that’s a hack out of the trees par or a holed bunker shot for birdie – being able to scramble in golf is essential for consistent scoring when you don’t hit your best shot.

Everyone has off days, even the top professionals. So it’s about how you deal with them and still manage to shoot a respectable score.

As a statistic, a golf scramble is certainly not the best or the most telling. However, it’s still an interesting way of looking at your overall game and how good you are at keeping the scorecard ticking along.


What is scrambling percentage in golf?

A scrambling golf percentage is the number of times that a golfer has been able to save a par or better, having not gotten onto the green in regulation play. This percentage can be calculated by dividing the number of greens missed by the number of times scrambled.

What is the difference between up and down and scrambling?

An up and down is when a golfer is able to hit an approach onto the green and take one or no putts, and can be for any score such as a birdie or a double bogey. Scrambling on the other hand, is where a player is able to save a par or better on a hole instead of scoring a bogey or worse.

What is scramble recovery in golf?

A scramble recovery in golf is all about avoiding a score of bogey or worse on a hole and making a par or better instead. A scramble recovery is a great way of keeping a good score going and not dropping any shots.

How can I improve my scrambling in golf?

Scrambling in golf can be improved by missing in the right positions on the golf course such as below the pin or the opposite side of the water. Intentionally practising difficult shots from positions other than the fairway and greens will help improve your ability to scramble well.

What is scrambling golf meaning?

Scrambling in golf means how good a golfer is at saving a par or better when they miss the green in regulation. This can be a par from the bunker or a holed pitch shot for birdie from the rough.

What is scrambling stat in golf?

The scrambling stat in golf is the amount of times that a professional golfer saves a par or better on a hole, having missed the green in regulation.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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