What is a Scramble in Disc Golf? (Important Facts)

Being a good disc golf player means saving strokes even when you’re not in the best position on the course. This is called a scramble or scrambling in disc golf.

I’ve heard of scrambling before during rounds of disc golf, and I’m going to explain what this means and when it can apply during a round of disc golf.

Here is What a Scramble is in Disc Golf

A scramble in disc golf is a statistic that indicates how often a player successfully saves par when they find themselves outside of circle 2, or more than 66 feet away from the target with only 2 strokes left to save par. A successful scramble means that a player scored par or better during these opportunities.

In this article, I’ll give some examples of a scramble opportunity and the best shots for scrambling out of trouble to throw for par or better.

Scrambling statistics

Why Successful Scrambles Are Important in Disc Golf

Most of the time, you’re going to find yourself in a position to scramble because you’ve had a bad first throw from the tee pad or second throw from the fairway.

A bad first or second throw can put you in a trouble spot on the course and in danger of not even making par for the hole.

In this case, you’re going to have to get creative with some of your throws to get out of trouble and scramble to get to that circle 1 or circle 2 areas near the basket to save par, or birdie if you’re lucky (or good).

Where Are Circle 1 and Circle 2 Located?

Circle 1 in disc golf surrounds the basket and designates the area for putting.

Any space within 10 meters or 32.8 ft. of the basket is considered inside of circle 1. In disc golf, a disc that lands inside the 10-meter circle will be considered a putt and subject to specific rules for putting.

When it comes to sanctioned tournaments and the official rules set forth by the PDGA, the 10-meter circle around the basket that establishes the area for putting is all that matters.

Circle 1 example

But there is a second circle that is recognized by some players and observers of the game.

Circle 2 is a statistic created by Udisc and is used by players to track and identify longer putts that are outside of the circle 1 range. Players will often use circle 2 to track their long-range putts and up-shots.

Circle 2 ranges from 10 meters to 20 meters (66 feet) from the basket and starts on the outer edge of circle 1.

Circle 2 example

Explanation of Regulation in Disc Golf

If you land more than 66 feet away from the target on a par three hole, you have a scramble opportunity to make a par or better.

This means that you have 2 shots from your current lie to get the disc into the basket.

On a par 3 in particular, you’ll want to land your disc at least within circle 2 in regulation. What does this mean?

If you’re in circle 2, you are in a great position to complete the hole for par within two throws. You’re still in regulation when you have 2 throws remaining to make par.

For example, your second throw on a par 4 hole is still considered to be in regulation. The best-case scenario is to land your disc at least within circle 2 while still in regulation.

If your disc lands outside of circle 2 on your last throw in regulation, you’re going to have to scramble to make par still.

Does the Scrambling Stat Matter?

The scramble is a stat that tracks your ability to get yourself out of these trouble situations while still scoring par or better on that particular hole.

The scorecard alone won’t tell the whole story of each hole. One player could have thrown three easy shots for par while you had to scramble just to reach par on the same hole.

The scramble stat can track your ability to recover from what was an off-target drive to avoid recording a bogey for that hole.

Best Throws for Scrambling in Disc Golf

Most of the time, you’re going to have to scramble to recover from an off-target drive at the beginning of the hole.

This can mean you’ll find yourself in some trouble areas with trees and other obstructions. Below are three throws that can be used to get your disc around obstacles and through those trouble areas, so you can get into circle 2.

1. Forehand Roller

A forehand roller is a great shot for scrambling when there are a lot of trees and branches that are creating a low ceiling for getting your disc to the basket.

Before deciding on throwing the forehand roller, check the ground to make sure it’s not too uneven or littered with sticks and rocks that can de-rail a forehand roller.

2. Standstill Forehand

The standstill forehand is a forehand shot that won’t use much of the lower body at all.

This shot is a great option when you need to straddle an area, or there is uneven ground that prevents you from getting your footing.

You won’t be able to generate a lot of power with the standstill forehand because the lower body is stationary, but it can be an effective shot for getting out of trouble.

3. Patent Pending

The patent-pending shot is a great throw for when your disc lands directly behind an object like a tree.

For an RHBH thrower, this might mean you hit your hand or arm on the tree when trying to throw around it.

The patent-pending will allow you to straddle out around the object with one foot still within the lie. Now you’ll be freer to throw around the object and not hit the tree with your arm or hand.

Summary | What is a Scramble in Disc Golf?

A scramble percentage is a very useful stat to see how you or someone else played on each hole of the course.

Someone who is a great scrambler is going to consistently record good scores during disc golf because they are very good at getting out of a trouble area while still throwing for par or better when things aren’t working out as planned.

Learning and practicing some of the scramble shots is a great way to consistently lower your scores very quickly. If you happen to find yourself in these situations, you’ll know what shot to use and how to use it.


Hi, my name is Marty. Sporting Disc is dedicated to delivering actionable tips and information when it comes to enjoying any disc sport. Whether it's disc golf, ultimate frisbee, or any other disc sport, I want to help anyone get out there and take their game further.

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