Explaining the Bramble Golf Format

4-person bramble format combines scramble and best balls

4 golfers using pull carts
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You can think of the "bramble" golf tournament format as a combination of a scramble and a best ball. The bramble starts off with a scramble off the tee, but then it's every golfer for him- or herself into the hole. One or more low balls of the team count as the team score.

  • The bramble format also goes by the name "shamble." Yes, a bramble and a shamble are the same thing.

Bramble tournaments most commonly consist of 4-person teams.

Brambles Begin as Scrambles Off the Tee

What do we mean by "scramble off the tee"? As in a scramble tournament, in a bramble every golfer on the team tees off. The team members compare the results of those drives: Who hit the best drive? Select the best drive, and the other three team members pick up their golf balls and move them to the location of the best drive.

Then all four golfers play their second strokes from that location, just as you would in a scramble.

But After That, the Bramble is 'Normal Golf'

But after that "scramble off the tee" start - after the team members have each hit their second shots - it's just regular golf again. Meaning that each golfer plays his or her own ball, from where it lies, on each stroke until the ball is holed.

So: Hit the drives, select the best drive and all four golfers play from that spot on Stroke 2; for Stroke 3 until every ball is holed, it's just regular golf.

Scoring In a Bramble Tournament

The result on each hole is four scores (for a 4-person team), one for each golfer on the team. What counts as the team score?

Bramble scoring methods can vary. The team bramble score can be the one low ball of the group, the two low balls, or some other variation depending on the tournament director's instructions.

One variation in bramble scoring that is sometimes used is the 1-2-3 Best Ball method of scoring: The one low ball among team members on the first hole, then the two low scores (combined) on the second hole, then the three low balls (combined) on the third hole, and on the fourth hole the rotation starts over.

See our shamble tournament explanation for a few additional minor details.