Golf Variations: The Las Vegas Scramble

A single 6-sided die as is used in a Las Vegas Scramble
Suleyman Orcun Guler / EyeEm / Getty Images

The Las Vegas Scramble is a golf competition format for 4-person teams that is a variation of a regular scramble and involves the use of a 6-sided die (one-half of a standard pair of dice, in other words). On each hole during the round, a roll of the die is used to determine which team member's drive(s) will be used on that hole.

So, as she does in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Lady Luck has a part to play in a Las Vegas Scramble.

Key Takeaways

  • The Las Vegas Scramble is a variation on a standard golf scramble that introduces quite a bit of luck through the use of a 6-sided die.
  • After each team member hits their drives, the die is rolled and the number that comes up determines which drive is used.

But before we explain more about that variation, let's remind readers of the basics in a standard scramble:

In a standard scramble format, all golfers on the team hit drives and the one best drive is selected from among the four results. The three golfers whose drives aren't used pick up their golf balls and move them to the location (typically dropping within a club-length) of the selected drive. All team members then play second strokes from that location, and the process repeats: The one best shot of the second strokes is selected, the other three picks up their balls, and all play third strokes from that spot. This continues on each stroke until one of the team members gets his or her ball into the hole.

The Difference in the Las Vegas Scramble Format

In a Las Vegas Scramble, the process is the same except for the drives. Before the round begins, team members randomly assign each member a number from one through four. Do this by drawing lots, flipping tees, or whatever other methods the players deem fit. (In a well-run tournament setting, tournament organizers might assign these numbers themselves for each team.)

Then the players tee off, each member of the team playing his or her drive. But here's the twist: After the drives are all played, one player from each team rolls a 6-sided die. The number that comes up determines which drive the team has to use.

If the die shows "2," for example, then Player 2's drive must be used by the team — the other golfers pick up their balls, move them to the location of Player 2's ball, and all play from that spot.

After that, a Las Vegas Scramble is played exactly the same as a standard scramble, except that the die is always rolled following the drives and the number that it matches is the number of the player whose drive everyone plays off of for their subsequent strokes.

A Return to the Classic Scramble: Rolling 5s or 6s

But, you say, teams are using a 6-sided die and there are only four golfers per times. In the event that a team rolls either a five or a six on the 6-sided die, standard rules of scramble apply: pick the one best drive and use that for the team's second stroke.

Clearly, there is a lot of luck involved in a Las Vegas Scramble, but the key point to remember is that the die is rolled only after each golfer on the team hits his or her drive.

Also note that the Las Vegas Scramble should not be confused with the golf betting game called Las Vegas. That game is not a scramble at all, but rather a wagering system in which the participants can win or lose quite a bit of money. (That format is best left to the high-rollers in the city of Las Vegas.)