How to Play a Step Aside Scramble Golf Tournament

Team of golfers in a scramble tournament
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The golf tournament format known as the "Step Aside" or "Step Aside Scramble" is a twist on a standard scramble: Each stroke played by the 4-person team (other than the drives) requires that one golfer sit out—or "step aside"—for that stroke.

This format goes by numerous other names, including Stand Aside, Drop Out Scramble and Stand Out. But it is best-known as a Florida Scramble. So, yes, a Step Aside Scramble and a Florida Scramble are the same thing.

The Basics of the Step Aside Golf Format

Step Aside teams have four golfers each. On each hole, all four golfers hit drives. They compare the results. Which of the four golf balls is in the best position? That ball is selected. So far, it's the same as a standard scramble. But from this point, the Step Aside's twist comes out:

  • Let's say Golfer B hit the best drive on Hole 1. So Golfers A, C and D pick up their golf balls and move them to the spot of B's ball (the typical rule is that the balls are dropped within one club-length of the spot of the selected ball).
  • Those three team members, A, C and D, then play their second strokes. But not B! B's ball was selected after the first stroke, so B sits out (or steps aside) on the second stroke.
  • Now compare the results of the second strokes. Let's say A's ball is in the best position. So B, C and D play third strokes from that location. A sits out this time.

Continue playing in this fashion until the ball is in the hole. On each stroke (except for the drive, which all four golfers play), one team member is stepping aside.

Advantages of the Step Aside Scramble

There are two primary benefits to a Step Aside Scramble compared to a regular scramble. First, because on each stroke following the drive only three golfers are playing, it gives the weaker players on the team a better chance to contribute to the team's success. Second, and for the same reason, with most strokes involving only three golfers the Step Aside Scramble should move a little quicker than a standard scramble. That means the tournament should take less time to complete, which might be appreciated by both the golfers and the organizers.

Calculating Handicaps in a Step Aside Scramble

Since there are no official rules for how to calculate a team scramble handicap, golfers should always check with tournament organizers and follow the procedure they have chosen.

But there are two methods most commonly used for a Step Aside Scramble handicap. The first is also the simplest: Add all four golfers' course handicaps together and divide by eight. That's the team's handicap for the round.

In the second method, where Golfer A is the team's lowest handicapper and Golfer D is its highest handicapper, add together 20-percent of Golfer A's course handicap, 15-percent of B's, 10-percent of C's and 5-percent of D's to get the team handicap.