What is a Shotgun Start in Golf – The Ultimate Guide

What is a Shotgun Start in Golf?

Golf is currently one of the most historic and popular outdoor sports in the world. Modern golf originated in 15th century Scotland and quickly gained popularity among individuals due to the game’s signature style. 

The game’s governing body has added new rules to the game over the years to make it more enjoyable and interesting.

A shotgun start is one of those rules. However, new and aspiring golfers are confused with all aspects of the game. So we wrote this article for them and the curious minds on the internet to learn what a shotgun start is. Even if you are confused with the sport, we will explain it and how it works.

What is a Shotgun Start and How Does It Work?

A shotgun start is a way for golf tournament players to start by skill level.

Shotgun Start is a type of tournament formatting where all the players start playing simultaneously before it starts. The golf tournament divides the players into groups and then sends them to the course one time, with the 1st group starting and hole 18 progressing.

When a golfer goes for a “Shotgun Start,” they start a new shot before the current shot has been completed.

The term was coined by the golfer Ben Hogan who used it to describe his style of play on the greens. The shotgun start is one of three types of starts in golf and is typically executed when the player’s ball is close to the hole, and they need to get on with their next shot without waiting for an opponent.

It is not uncommon for this type of move to be frowned upon by other players, as it can cause delays or disrupt an opponent’s swing.

The Shotgun Start’s History

In 1956, Jim Russell, the head pro at the Walla Walla Country Club in Walla Walla, Washington, fired a shotgun to signal the start of play. This is thought to be why the game’s start is referred to as a shotgun start.

However, keep in mind that this format is not appropriate for every event. A shotgun start requires one fewer starting hole, which may vary depending on the venue.

What does it mean to start golf with a shotgun?

A shotgun start, in which 18 or more groups begin on different golf course holes, may be chosen by a tournament organizer. If a group starts their round on the 7th hole, they will play holes 8, 9, 10, and so on until they reach the 6th hole.

Because of the shotgun start, all of the groups will begin and end their golf rounds around the same time. If you have 18 groups of four golfers, this allows 72 golfers to begin their round simultaneously.

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Normal Starting Vs Shotgun Starts Methods

If you watch a professional golf event, you’ll notice that groups usually begin their rounds by teeing off on the first or tenth hole (or just the 1st). All groups will start at these two holes, with start times generally staggered by ten minutes.

Using this mostly well-starting technique, the 18th group will have to wait up to 3 hours (when just one starting hole is used) before they may tee off. It will also cause the entire round of the competition to last up to 3 hours longer.

Shotgun beginnings are a popular method for tournament organizers to save time, especially when attempting to get other groups of golfers out to play after the competition. Organizers may also choose a shotgun start for events late in the day or to avoid wind and rain.

A shotgun start also has the advantage of exposing all golfers to the same weather conditions, although at different holes.

Rules & Regulations of a Shotgun Start

Rules & Regulations of a Shotgun Start

Obviously, it depends on whether a course has 9 or 18 holes. Each group of players will begin playing from a unique and different starting hole or position. There will be no two groups that begin to build the same hole. When the siren sounds, each of those groups begins.

Originally, actual shotguns were fired to signal the start of the competition.

After a specific group tees off from their chosen hole, they will play all 9 or 18-hole rounds across the course in the sequence they began.

For example, if a group begins at the 11th hole, they will play holes 12 through 18. After that, they’d complete the day by playing holes 1 through 11.

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A Shotgun Start’s Requirements

Arranging a shotgun start tournament on a course needs following a specific and stringent set of regulations. One of the most important requirements for arranging a shotgun start, for example, is the minimum number of players. If this number is not met, the course has the power to change the event to a different format, such as a split tee start.

Usually, the golf club expects the tournament to organize a post-event lunch, which is usually held in the clubhouse. Some clubs restrict these tournaments to club members exclusively. Most courses also do not allow shotgun tournaments to be played on weekends.

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How does making a shotgun start unique?

Players may begin playing at various times in other events. In shotgun start competitions, however, all groups must begin their game at the same time. When the slowest foursome completes a full round, the competition is over.

Shotgun start tournaments allow a huge number of players to complete the round without crowding the driving range. During this tournament, every hole on the course is kept active. 

This allows players to complete their game without having to spend the entire day on the same course.

Standard Events for the Shotgun Start

Since most participants in a shotgun tournament start and finish at the same time, this style of starting is common in charity events when it is preferable to finish early. Consequently, the organizing committee will be able to organize the prize-giving ceremony and a post-event supper.

How Can a Shotgun Start Have More Than 18 Groups?

You might have been shocked when I mentioned that groups of “18 or more” will form. On an 18-hole golf course, how can more than 18 groups start at the same time?

This is achieved by dividing the golfers into two groups and sending them to par-5 and even par-4 holes.

Once the first group has teed off and hit their second shots, the second group can tee off to a pristine fairway.

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What is a reverse shotgun start in golf?

A reverse shotgun start is a golf tournament where the first three players on each hole are from the same group. This means that the first three players on the first hole will be from the same group, and then a different three players will go next.

The term “reverse shotgun start” was coined in 1979, when Scott Hoch won an event on the PGA Tour with this type of starting order.

The reverse shotgun start is a tournament designed to allow more people to play in a tournament by rotating groups over three days.

The reverse shotgun is one-way players can better execute their shots on a demanding course.

What does a shotgun scramble?

A shotgun scramble is just a round of “best ball” or scramble that begins with a shotgun shot. As previously stated, a shotgun start implies that players will all begin at the same time from various locations on the course.

A scramble, often known as a “best ball” competition, is a type of golf in which you collaborate with your team to get the greatest score possible by playing each other’s strokes.

Final Thoughts

The game’s shotgun start style has allowed it to be adaptable and flexible in the time necessary to complete a tournament. It is an excellent method for compressing and shortening the game’s duration.

As a result, people who dislike extended matches will love this format. We hope you learned something new about shotgun starts in golf from this article. If you have any questions about our guide or shotgun starts, please leave them in the comments section below.

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