What Is A Shotgun Start In Golf?

We occasionally recommend products we love and might be paid a share of the sale.

Golfers use shotgun starts to start a round of golf simultaneously, assigning golfers to different tees and requiring them to play at the same time.

Golf shotgun starts have many advantages because players finish together, so golf course managers can reopen the course quickly to paying clients.

What Is a Shotgun Start in Golf

Golf Shotgun Start Explained

It is a method of arranging golf tournaments so that players tee off simultaneously from various locations on the course.

The hole 14, for example, would be the equivalent of the first hole for a group, whereas 13 would be the equivalent of the 18th hole for that group.

To ensure that players finish approximately simultaneously, shotgun starts are designed to improve the flow of the pace and allow everyone to start and finish at the same time.

What Does A Shotgun Start Mean?

Shotgun starts are named after the shotgun fired to begin each round. Washington’s Walla Walla Country Club hosted the world’s first shotgun start in 1956.

Back in 1956, Jim Russell fired a gun to announce the beginning of the tournament.

These days, you may hear a horn announce the beginning of the game or get an alert on your phone when the game is about to begin.

Shotgun starts will take place at the scheduled time, so players will know to be ready to start their rounds on time.

What Is The Process Of A Shotgun Start?

Shotgun starts are incredibly effective for tournaments, as they allow players to tee off simultaneously throughout the course.

This method is favored by tournament organizers since it allows players to return to their clubs at roughly the same time. How does it work in practice?

Consider a tournament with 18 foursomes (72 players).

If you want to avoid players queuing up to start their round ten minutes apart, distribute them evenly around the course so that everyone can start at the same time. Spread them out on the course, so all the players can start at the same time.

Shotgun starts involve each of the 18 foursomes proceeding to their assigned tees and waiting to hear when the game will begin.

It can be difficult for some people to walk from the clubhouse to a distant tee box, so golf carts should be made available.

Upon hearing the signal, all groups begin playing simultaneously.

Usually groups will finish roughly together if the game proceeds at a consistent pace, and they can gather at the bar to see the presentation or enjoy the festivities without waiting for the last group to finish.

How Does A Modified Shotgun Work In Golf?


You can still have all tournament participants start and end at the same time with the modified shotgun start, but it also allows other customers to use the golf course. Minimal fields are best suited to modified shotgun starts, and most courses require at least 48 players.

At a certain time, the golf course manager assigns each group to a tee box and works out what times need to be reserved for the players as they return to the first tee.

The flow of play can be disrupted by tournament players mixed with recreational players in modified shotgun starts.

Since all golfers will finish around the same time, it’s still a viable option if you want to run a smaller competition and host an event in the clubhouse afterwards.

How Does A Reverse Shotgun Work In Golf?

In competitions with less than 72 players, a reverse shotgun start can be used. By using the reverse shotgun start, hole one can be cleared quickly, allowing the course to begin accepting paying customers as soon as possible.

Let’s say there are 48 golfers, and you wish to have a shotgun start.

A total of twelve foursomes will start simultaneously. Instead of starting from 1,18,17, through 12, players would begin from 1,18,17, through 7 in a reverse shotgun format.

Since the final group starts on tee 7 rather than 1, which is cleared more quickly, allowing other players to play the course.

How Do You Play Golf With A Double Shotgun?

Double shotgun tournaments are those with many entrants who start at the same time. In this case, organizers will offer players two tee times, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Suppose you had 144 golfers split evenly into 36 foursomes, the first half of the field could start at 7.30 am and the second half at 1.00 pm.

Despite the fact that every player won’t finish simultaneously, a double shotgun is an ideal method of coordinating start times in large tournaments.

If the field is larger than 72 players, but there are not enough time slots for two tee times, what happens?

Imagine there are 80 players divided into 20 foursomes.

If you have two additional groups, you can add two par-5 holes. Once the first group has played its second shot and teed off, the following groups may proceed.

As an example, certain holes will have a double shotgun start, but others will proceed normally.

How Does A Scramble Shotgun Work?

In a shotgun scramble, players must work together and decide which ball to hit first. Players are divided into four groups and are assigned to hit shots at various spots on the golf course, since it is a shotgun start.

During a scramble, players are divided into two or four teams based on the instructions of the organizer.

Then, every player must take a shot from the tee.

Following the captain’s selection, all players pick up their balls and drop them within a club length of the chosen shot.

The game continues until the first player of each team hits the hole with the ball.

Typically, the team’s score at the end of a hole is equal to the sum of the team’s best shots.

Scramble formats are great for all levels of players since there is no pressure to achieve individual scores.

Most charity golf events take the form of shotgun scrambles, which is fun for all participants and ensures that everyone finishes at the same time, which is perfect for a fundraiser party following the game.

Final Thoughts

Around the world, shotgun starts are commonly used to begin golf tournaments.

The simultaneous start of all groups allows all golfers to finish at the same time, making arrangements for post-game meals, prizes, and celebrations easier.

A competition organizer can also review all scorecards at once, which simplifies his or her job.

The morning tee times for tournaments can also be blocked out by golf course managers, who can open the course to other paying customers in the afternoon.

So there it is – a shotgun start in golf – a beneficial format that allows you to manage the field effectively.

David Shelly
Latest posts by David Shelly (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *