For golf tournaments, a scramble is a popular format. Typically, a scramble team features four players, and that team hits all of their shots from the same spot -- either from the tee box or, presumably, the best spot possible after each player hit the previous shot.
However, sometimes a group isn't able to put together a foursome for a scramble, or one of their teammates has to back out of competing. Does that mean a group of three players can't compete in a four-person scramble?
Can a team of 3 golfers play in a 4-player scramble?
A group of three golfers can typically play in a four-player scramble. Most tournaments will allow this under pretty much any set of circumstances. However, how a three-player team plays a four-person scramble is typically slightly different.
How does a team of 3 golfers play in a 4-player scramble?
Typically, a three-person teams competes in a four-person scramble by having each player -- A, B and C -- alternate being the D player.
For example, on the first hole, the A player is also the D player. That means the A player hits twice on each shot on the hole until the ball is holed. On the next hole, the B player is also the D player. On the third hole, the C player is also the D player and gets to hit twice. On the fourth hole, the A player becomes the A and the D player again. There are six cycles in total to coincide nicely with a nine-hole or 18-hole tournament.
However, there are some three-person scramble teams that cheat the rules a bit and don't maintain their lineup. Sometimes, that's also not required. A three-person team could conceivably change who is the D player from shot to shot. Or they don't have to maintain the same order throughout the round of who gets to be the D player for a single hole -- so long as each player is the D player six times.
Of course, enforcing any kind of lineup restrictions is almost impossible in a scramble, and most tournaments have no interest in doing so. But for a threesome that wants to play in a scramble, they can do it in a way that allows them to compete honestly and not play at a disadvantage.