What Is Captain’s Choice In Golf

Captain’s Choice, also known as a scramble format, is a popular and fun variation of golf that is commonly played in casual rounds, charity events, and tournaments. This format allows golfers of all skill levels to enjoy the game together and can be an excellent way to foster camaraderie on the golf course. In this article, we will delve into the details of Captain’s Choice in golf, explaining the rules, strategies, and why it is a favorite among golfers.

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Understanding Captain’s Choice

Captain’s Choice is a team-based golf format in which a group of golfers plays as a team, usually consisting of 2 to 4 players. The format gets its name from the team captain, who typically selects the best shot from each player’s tee shot and then decides which shot the team will play from for the next shot. The chosen shot becomes the starting point for the entire team, and each player takes their next shot from that spot.

Rules of Captain’s Choice

  1. Tee Shots: On each hole, every player in the team hits a tee shot. After all tee shots have been played, the team captain selects the one they believe is the best shot.
  2. Shot Selection: The team captain’s choice for the best tee shot determines the location for the second shot. All team members then hit their second shots from that spot.
  3. Continuation: This process continues until the ball is holed. On each shot, the team captain selects the best option for the next shot, and the team plays from that location.
  4. Putting: Putting is often done individually, and each player putts until the ball is in the hole. There is no restriction on using a selected putt from a particular player.
  5. Handicaps: In some variations, handicaps are used to level the playing field. Higher handicap players may receive additional strokes on certain holes.
  6. Minimum Drives: To encourage team participation, some variations require each player’s tee shot to be used a minimum number of times during the round.

Strategies in Captain’s Choice

  1. Strategic Tee Shots: Team members must carefully plan their tee shots to provide the captain with multiple good options. Often, one player will aim for distance, while another aims for accuracy.
  2. Choosing Wisely: The captain’s role is crucial in this format. They need to assess each shot carefully, considering factors like distance, lie, and obstacles, before making a decision.
  3. Playing It Safe: Sometimes, it’s best to play conservatively and choose a safe option rather than a high-risk, high-reward shot. This can help minimize errors and maintain a steady pace of play.
  4. Communication: Good communication among team members is essential. Players should discuss their options and provide input to the captain when making decisions.

Why Captain’s Choice is Popular

  1. Inclusivity: Captain’s Choice allows golfers of varying skill levels to play together, making it a great choice for charity events and social outings.
  2. Team Bonding: Playing as a team fosters camaraderie and encourages teamwork on the course, creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
  3. Reduced Pressure: With multiple opportunities to select the best shot, players often feel less pressure, which can lead to better performance and more enjoyment.
  4. Variety: Captain’s Choice adds an element of strategy and decision-making to the game, making it more interesting and engaging.

Variations and Customization

One of the great aspects of Captain’s Choice is its adaptability. Golfers can customize the rules to suit their preferences or the specific event they are participating in. Some common variations and customizations include:

  1. Number of Players: While a typical Captain’s Choice team consists of 2 to 4 players, larger groups can create multiple teams, fostering competition among friends or colleagues.
  2. Handicap System: To level the playing field in a diverse group, a handicap system can be used. Each player’s handicap is applied to their score, making it fair for golfers of varying skill levels.
  3. Mulligans: Some casual games allow for mulligans, which are additional shots that can be taken to replace a poor shot. Mulligans can add an element of fun and forgiveness to the game.
  4. Format Variations: Golfers can modify the format by using different rules for specific holes. For example, they might play a “string” format on a designated hole, where each player has the opportunity to stretch a piece of string as far as they want to move their ball closer to the hole.
  5. Time Limits: To keep the pace of play reasonable, you can set time limits for decision-making. This prevents teams from taking too much time to deliberate over their shot selections.
  6. Unique Challenges: Some tournaments and events introduce unique challenges on specific holes, such as playing with a limited set of clubs or teeing off from unusual locations.

Captain’s Choice Format

Format TypeDescriptionStrategyAdvantagesDisadvantages
Captain’s ChoiceAlso known as a “Scramble,” this format allows each team to select the best shot from their team members and play from that spot.Encourages teamwork and camaraderie.Can speed up play.Limited to one format.

Captain’s Responsibilities

Team SelectionChoose team members who complement each other’s skills.
Strategy PlanningDevelop a game plan for the course, considering each player’s strengths.
Decision-MakingMake critical decisions during the round, such as shot selection and order of play.
MotivationEncourage and motivate team members to perform their best.
ScorekeepingKeep track of the team’s score and ensure it’s recorded accurately.

Common Variations

Texas ScrambleInvolves using at least one drive from each team member.
AmbroseEach team member’s drive must be used a specific number of times throughout the round.
Modified StablefordAssigns points based on performance, with the highest total winning.
GreensomeTwo players per team, each hitting a drive, and then selecting the best drive and alternating shots from there.
Best Ball (Four-Ball)Each player plays their own ball, and the lowest score on each hole is counted for the team.

Benefits of Captain’s Choice

InclusivityAllows golfers of different skill levels to play together without feeling intimidated.
Faster PlayTypically results in quicker rounds due to selecting the best shot and moving forward.
Team BuildingFosters team camaraderie and provides opportunities for social interaction.
Beginner-FriendlyBeginners can contribute to their team’s success without feeling pressure.
Fun and SocialCreates a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere on the course, making it a social experience.

Tips for Success

CommunicationKeep the lines of communication open within the team to discuss strategy and shot selection.
Know Your TeamUnderstand each team member’s strengths and weaknesses to make informed decisions.
Practice Short GameSince putting and chipping are crucial, practice these skills to improve team performance.
Stay Positive and SupportiveEncourage team members even when they make mistakes to maintain a positive atmosphere.
Enjoy the ExperienceRemember that Captain’s Choice is about having fun, so enjoy the game and the company of others.


Captain’s Choice in golf offers a delightful departure from traditional stroke play or match play formats. It brings golfers together in a team-oriented, relaxed, and social atmosphere. This format’s flexibility and adaptability make it suitable for various occasions, from charity events to company outings and friendly gatherings.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to have a stress-free round with friends or a beginner seeking a less intimidating way to experience golf, Captain’s Choice provides a perfect blend of strategy, camaraderie, and enjoyment on the golf course. So, the next time you’re planning a golf outing, consider Captain’s Choice as a fantastic way to bond with your fellow golfers and create lasting memories on the links.


What Is Captain’s Choice In Golf


  • Anglo Carson

    Anglo Carson, a Certified Golf Instructor, embarked on a remarkable journey, driven by his unwavering love for golf. He founded The Golf Mine with a singular mission - to create a golfing haven where passion knows no boundaries. His lifelong love affair with golf, combined with his expertise as a Certified Golf Instructor, turned into a vision to share his extensive knowledge, inspire, and promote the game he holds dear.

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