What is a Best Ball vs Scramble vs Captain & Crew?
Best Ball (also known as fourball in the Ryder Cup) involves 2-person or 4-person teams where each player on the team plays his or her own golf ball throughout the round. After each hole the player with the lowest score on the hole (or “best ball”) out of the 2- or 4-person team serves as the team's score. The higher scoring player(s) score is thrown out for that particular hole.
For instance, if Player A records a 5 and Player B records a 6, the team should record a 5 as their best ball score for the hole. Both players should record their individual score for each hole, and have a separate line on the scorecard for their best ball score. (Handicapped can also be incorporated)
Best ball format allows players to play their own game (since players keep track of their own scores), while also allowing them to take advantage of their partner playing especially well on holes. Scores tend to be a bit higher in best ball than in a scramble, simply because each player has to play their own shots. If you hit a bad drive, you have to play it out (and hope your partner is doing better). That doesn't mean there's not super low scores in a best ball though.
A Scramble aka as Captain and Crew, also known as Scotch golf, also uses the phrase “best ball,” but not to refer to the score. In a scramble, each player hits a tee shot, then the two, three or four players discuss and decide which of the shots they think is the best shot, or best ball, and all play their next shot from that spot.