What Is A Shotgun Start?

A shotgun start is a type of golf tournament where all players commence play at the same time. Usually, groups of four start from each tee at a prearranged time with a shotgun used to signify the start (these days more likely an air horn). You need something loud enough to be heard in all corners of the course.

It is often used for charity days or public holidays. Corporate events might sometimes use a shotgun start too.

The holes closest to the clubhouse are obviously prized and club officials usually get the first chance to start at those. You will usually find the club captain and club president don’t have to walk too far!

Why Is It Called A Shotgun Start?

It would appear that the head pro of Walla Walla Country Club in Washington State, USA, Jim Russell was the first man to start a tournament with a shotgun in 1956.

Is A Shotgun Start A Scramble?

Quite often a shotgun start will be played as a form of scramble. Because the scramble format is usually considered a little slower than ordinary golf, many clubs only use the format in conjunction with a shotgun start to minimize the effect of slow play on golfers not interested in playing in the competition.

How Long Is Shotgun Golf?

In terms of the amount of time taken to play the round, it shouldn’t really take any longer than any other round of golf. Obviously, you will need to add in time to get to and from your starting point. Depending on the course you may need to walk for 15 to 20 minutes in order to reach the tee you will start on. This will also mean a 15 to 20-minute walk once your round is complete.

What Is The Point Of A Shotgun Start?

A shotgun start is useful because it allows all the players to finish at roughly the same time so you can have everyone in the clubhouse together for a meal and prize-giving. It saves players having to wait around for hours if they have a good round.

It is also good at building camaraderie within the club as lots of players who maybe wouldn’t mix normally are brought together all at the same time.

I don’t think it’s quite as useful for the golf course since you’re going to have most of the course empty for quite a while once the shotgun competition has finished. Normally you would just have a steady stream of four balls filling the course all day.

Are Shotgun Starts Slow?

They certainly can be slow. It all comes down to the players and their attitude. At one of the most recent shotgun starts I played, one group that should have finished on the 12th decided to play their way in which obviously added more than an hour to the round. It also delayed the prize-giving!

How Many Players Are In A Shotgun Golf Tournament?

Normally you would have four players on each hole so on an 18-hole course that would make 72 players. On par-5s you might be able to squeeze an extra fourball in so a maximum of around 88 players in total.

At the 9-hole course, I used to be a member of, you would be looking at 36 players or possibly 40 if we added an extra group on the only par-5.

How Are Ties Decided?

In club amateur competitions a count-back system is generally used to decide ties for the purposes of prizegiving. In a shotgun start the hole you started/finished on is irrelevant. The usual back 9, back 6, back 3, etc. rule would apply as per the scorecard.

What Is A Double Shotgun Start?

A double shotgun start is used to allow even more players to play in the competition. By having a morning and afternoon shotgun start you can have 144 (or more players) on the course during the day.

What Is A Reverse Shotgun Start In Golf?

If the club hasn’t been able to get enough entries to fill all 18 tees then they might use a reverse shotgun in order to free up the course for other non-competitive golfers. You can do this by having a group start in reverse order at the 1st, 18th, 17th et cetera until you have all players accounted for.

This means that all the competitors will have gone through the 1st as quickly as possible allowing anyone else that wants to use the course access earlier than if you’d picked holes closest to the clubhouse.

What Is A Shotgun Start: Summary

A shotgun start can make for a useful option at certain times of the year and break up the monotony of the regular medal or Stableford rounds that make up the bulk of club competitions.

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