How to Win A Golf Tournament…The Answer

Carnoustie shirt follow through 1

Hitting last in a scramble tournament!

Yesterday, I left you hanging. I quickly left a brief statement that I did not have the time to explain the sure way of winning a golf tournament! Well today, I am going to explain my view and why I think this way!

Before I explain my methodology, it is important to explain that this methodology transcends all tournaments, but there are some variations for each format. For today’s explanation, I will focus on the scramble format. My suggestions work for me, but I have found that they work regardless of the team composition. Are you interested? 

Last Wednesday, I entered in Men’s Night at Osprey Links Golf Course. The format was a 9-hole 4 man scramble. Our team consisted of myself, Blair, Mike and John. John was a 70ish year old man, Mike was a big hitter, Blair hit the ball well, and I was the anchor. After 7 birdies on the first 7 holes, we stalled and pared the last two. It was a fun round and the score was only the start of what my golfing epiphany.

To win golf tournaments there are two stats and only two stats that you must be at the top of the stats board in greens in regulation (GIR) and putting! These two stats are key to winning any tournament and I have a methodology on how to be successful!

My strategy to playing in a scramble tournament is fairly straight forward.  It is proven by winning many scrambles over the years. Here is my strategy and why:

  • I like to have our team set up with the more experienced players going last. First, it allows the more novice players to take part all the time.  However, they role is to make sure their ball is in play.
  • I like the long hitters to go first on par 5s. I like to keep some shorter, but consistent players in reserve in case they do not find the fairway. As each player hits, the become less aggressive to ensure we have a ball in play.
  • On par 4s, each player tries to keep their ball in play, yet tries to hit the ball further. This allows for the more experience players to attempt greater risk shots to improve the team score: like hitting the ball harder, cutting the corner, and being ultra-aggressive going for the pin.
  • When putting, the novice players always putt first. Their only job is to hit the ball past the hole; it allows the stronger putters to see the line a couple of times, thus increasing the changes of the ball going in the hole.
  • When selecting the best hitting position, distance is usually my deciding factor. The closer we are to the hole, the better. However, I will take a longer shot if it is not over a hazard or being the team is short sided.
  • When putting, we all read the putt. We decide on the putting line; let the first person hit and we adjust as required. I do not tell a player how to putt or where to aim because my experience is that everyone putts differently, but giving a point of aim is valuable.
  • Finally, the strongest player goes last. They are the goalie and give all the other players confidence, but their goal is to always have a ball in play!

Back to Men’s Night! Our basic format was pretty straight forward. Our order of play was John, Mike, Blair and myself. During the play, John proved to be very valuable on the greens, Mike on the Par 5s, and Blair through most of the holes. I was the goalie and only had to make a couple of pressure shots.

After the first hole, I told the team that I never wanted to putt all day. As it turned out, I only putted 3 times and sunk 1. The two I missed were 20 feet in length (I lipped out each time). John, Mike, and Blair all made putts of 20 feet. They played extremely well on the greens. Our GIR percentage was 100% and we 1-putted 80% of the time. Hence, our final score of 29.

Mike was our big hitter and his skill did not go to waste on the par 5s. Blair hit many approach shots and I just tried to hit inside of Blair. As the round progressed, we all became comfortable with each other’s game and our strategy worked very well. The pars on the last two holes were the result of the last player, me, not doing my job, but that happens sometimes.

As it turned out, we tied for first place, but lost in retrogression (this is the third time Blair and I have lost this way). I won a glove for closets to the pin. Overall, our strategy worked as expected. My strategy has served me well over the years and I think this is a proven method to win a scramble tournament.

What do you think? Do you use similar strategies?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


8 thoughts on “How to Win A Golf Tournament…The Answer

  1. I would say I agree with all but the par five strategy. We have our shorter hitters go first here. Anything in play most likely gets us a birdie. That way the big hitter can swing freely with no tension.

    Brian, on mulligans I always use them on putts unless we miss a green. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfext on reading this aeticle as Inwill be ayong in a charity Scramble later this week. We have the bog hitter..we have the experienced mid range/ shortgame player amd two of us that come through with a vouple good shots and make a few putts. … not quite as deep a group as you have but we normallly end up middle of the pack.

    Hoping (as I have been practicing hard the past couple weeks) I will be anle to bring a few more shots to this weeks outing.


  3. Jim, I love your strategy and wouldn’t change a thing in a pure scramble format.

    Sometimes I’ll play tournaments where you buy mulligans, tees, and skirts, which is akin to playing poker with a bunch of wild cards. Definitely complicates things. In that format, I’d think to use my mulligans on extra wedge shots to get it close rather than spending on extra putts which is lower percentage, and don’t use a mulligan on long par-3 tee shot because your team can probably make 3 from anywhere but 2 is difficult even with a GIR. On the skirts (hitting from the ladies tee) put your long hitter up there on the par-5s and let them bomb away first. Finally on the tees (put a peg under it in the fairway) reserve for critical situations where the whole team has missed the green and the anchor is in a must produce situation. If you ever play this format it requires a lot more thinking but is a ton of fun!

    Thanks; great post!



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