Scrambling in Golf

In golf statistics, scrambling in golf is defined as:

The percent of time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

Here are a few examples:

  1. A player plays a par-3 hole and misses the green on the tee shot. The player chips up and makes the putt. This is a successful scramble opportunity.
  2. A player plays a par-3 hole and misses the green on the tee shot. The player chips up and misses the putt. This is an unsuccessful scramble opportunity.
  3. A player plays a par-4 hole and hits the tee shot behind a tree and needs to chip out sideways. This results in a missed green in regulation. Then the player hits the third shot onto the green and makes the putt. This is a successful scramble opportunity.
  4. A player hits the first tee shot out of bounds. Then the player misses the green on the next shot, but chips up and makes a putt. Although this is what is generally known as an ‘up and down’, it isn’t counted as a successful scramble because the player didn’t make par or better.

Pros:

  • Measures a player’s ability to make par when the green is missed in regulation

Cons:

  • It’s a binary statistic meaning that it only measures whether or not the criteria for a successful scramble is satisfied or not, but fails to capture nuances.
  • It only looks at ‘up and downs’ when the score of the player is par or better
  • An ‘up and down’ can be from anywhere, just as long as a player makes par or better after missing the green in regulation, so it’s difficult to know what this stat actually measures.

Recommendations

As with many of the ‘traditional’ golf stats, they do tell a story, but only part of the story. They really useful to use as supplementary variables and help narrow down what is actually happening, but only with help from other data points. We would recommend that you look at Strokes Gained Around the Green, and if possible, Strokes Gained from different distances and lies in order to narrow down things to exactly what is happening to the shot hit around the green. The Strokes Gained variables isolate the shots hit from around the green on their own, without being influenced or affected by other