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 — wherein a roll of the die is used to determine which team member's drive will be used on each hole.

So, as she does in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Lady Luck has a part to play in a Las Vegas Scramble, but before we explain 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 while the other golfers on the team pick up their golf balls and move them to the location of the selected drive and all hit their second shots from that location. Again, the one best shot of the second strokes is selected and the other three picks up their balls and take their next stroke from that location instead 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, where instead the teams start by randomly assigning each member of a four-person team with a number from 1 through 4 by either drawing lots, flipping tees, or whatever other determinate the players deem fit.

Then, the players tee off and all four golfers hit their initial drives, but here's the twist: after the drives are all played, a player from each team rolls a 6-sided die and 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 where everyone plays off of for their subsequent strokes.

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

In the event that a team rolls either a 5 or 6 on the 6-sided die, standard rules of scramble apply instead of the corresponding player's number — this is where lady luck, as on the Vegas Strip, comes into play!

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.

The Las Vegas Scramble should not be confused with the golf betting game called Las Vegas, which is much more about money than it is about actually playing the game itself.