My tournament play since the Erie County Amateur has been restricted to two scramble events. Despite making no putts (I blame the contagion on my own self), my teams place 1st and 3rd and we came away with some swag. More importantly, we preserved our various friendships. You see, some folks take scramble events more seriously than marital vows. They prep like a rookie on tour and run the risk of poor play and social isolation. It makes sense, then, to run through the tenets of how to properly represent in a scramble.

  1. Be a good host or a good guest. You did the inviting or were invited. If you don’t know what that entails, be courteous and grateful as a start.
  2. If you were invited, thank your host and inquire about split pots, closest to the pin, long drive … in other words, any contests that will benefit the charity. You were invited, remember? You’re lucky to be there. Fork over a bit of cash and don’t worry if you don’t win the chip-off, slowest putt or neatest drive.
  3. Figure out which guys (if any) in the group are the superstitious ones. The ones who don’t want to change up the order or always want to change up the order; the ones who need to mark the ball with a special baby tooth or somesuch; the needy ones. You may have to cater to them.
  4. Know where to stand. Some dudes are skittish about where shadows and bodies are. Others don’t like partners positioned behind or on the opposite side of the hole, despite the fact that they’re reading the arc of the putt in case they have to actually putt the ball.
  5. Buy a round of beverages. Good will goes a long way toward a winning experience (if you win) or a positive experience (if you don’t come in first.)
  6. Don’t be afraid to give an opinion on which ball to play. Closest doesn’t always mean best.
  7. Don’t be afraid to acquiesce. You might be wrong or your teammates might be uncomfortable with your choice.
  8. Give plenty of compliments. Not flirty ones, but “nice rhythm” or “good action” or “love that draw/face/spin.” These are generic, I know, but they make a dude feel good about his game without being so specific that they invite interpretation.
  9. When a guy has addressed the ball and is in the final moments before pulling the trigger, SAY NOTHING, unless one of these two situations occurs: the dude is aimed 90 degrees away from the target (or worse) or some interruption (car, cart, goose, belch) is about to coincide with the swing.
  10. ##This one was a write-in by one of our readers. He wrote: “After the first two players putt (and miss), don’t say “we can use a mulligan” BEFORE the last 2 players have had their chance to putt!!” ABsolutely a terrible thing to do. Nothing like planting the seeds of doubt in the minds of the last two mates. Thanks for that one.
  11. ##This one was also sent in by a viewer, who wrote: “Stop the cheating! I’m sick of watching golfers win who clearly don’t have the game, nor hit the shots, to win.” This one pains me, so I go into every scramble with the attitude (sadly) that some group consists of four soul-less golfers. We will play our best and represent honor and integrity. If they need a win so badly that they have to cheat, have mercy.

There are probably more tenets than these eleven, so consider this a start. If you follow my lead, you’ll stand an excellent chance of enjoying the day and receiving a return invitation.