Golf Scrambles Observations

I recently played in a Senior “Geezer” Scamble format, where if you know what that means, all 4 players play their next shots from the ball of the player who made the best shot previously. It’s gives teams a fair chance of playing the best they can as a team, and not having to play bad shots. It’s fun and team’s get a lot more pars and some birdies.
I was wondering that like all scrambles if there is some built in bias for the lower handicap and longer hitting players.
These are just my observations from the past, comments about the tightness of the scores this time, underscores that these may have not been as impactful in regular charity type scrambles.

Those usually are loaded with younger low handicap golfers.
Scrambles are mostly competitive and won by, teams that have very low handicap players with the added plus biased toward those who can drive the ball and shoot long fairway approaches.

Why is this….
It’s easier to hit shorter shots that longer ones. Easier to hit a green with a 7 iron or a wedge than using a 3 wood. Also the closer you are after 1-2 hits the easier getting closer to the hole. And the closer you are to the hole the easier it is to make the putt.
Lower handicap or even scratch golf players do tend to play more consistently, the math guy might check, but putting 2,3 or 4 people together that 95% of the time make good shots, is likely to produce a better chance at a good or great shot, that will result in a birdie or better.

This is much harder for higher handicap players, and even harder if they are short hitters, since even consistency will not get you to the green if you can’t hit that far.
In our play the handicaps were weighted to discount the better players.
But, I personally don’t think the 40%, 30%, 20%, 10% weighting works all that well. Here is a simple example.

First of all for the 4 scratch golfers they essentially lose nothing 0, minus ½ zero is still zero. The 18’ers, lose ½ of their potential strokes. Now it’s true that one of the 4 has a chance to hit a better shot, so giving them their full handicap appears unfair. But don’t forget that it’s even more likely that one of the better golfers will do exceptionally, and technically they get the benefit of all their zero index.

The 4 scratch golfers each would likely play the hole to par, and as a team they might birdie more than 50% of the time….and if they are long ball hitters might even eagle, or play close to 18 under par for the round.

The 4 bogey golfers, each on average will bogey the hole…..maybe they might par 3-4 holes and double the same, you can work out the probabilities but I would guess it’s unlikely they would par all 18 holes. My experience with scambles among Bogey golfers is it’s really hard to actually play to par for 18 holes.

So even though the handicaps are a benefit to them, they are not going to catch the top players on a net basis.

I think this holds up in practice…I’ve seen in regular scrambles that those top teams usually shoot in the low to mid 50’s and almost always win the events.

Anyway, I love scrambles…just for the goal of having fun and having the team try to play for par or better. I like the format even more when the players each hit from their Tee-It-Forward adjusted Tee’s.

It might adjust more fairly, but would be more complex to weight each players strokes used by a portion of their handicap. I just thought that up so not sure how to calculated it…but say an 20 HC player, accounted for 25% of the team strokes, then their team would get credit for 25% of his/her handicap or 5 stokes off….do the same for all players. You every see this type of weighted scoring?

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