Shotgun Start in Golf: Definition, Variations, Pros-Cons

Shotgun Start in Golf

‘Shotgun start’ is an exception to the traditional tournament format. It’s a golf term used to specify a different way of beginning the game. This makes the game faster and more organized. As a result, there are fewer chances of clogging up a specific part of the course in this format. Let’s know more about it.

What is a Shotgun Start in Golf?

‘Shotgun start’ is when all golfers start the game at the same time from different holes. In the traditional tournament format, all golfers start from the first hole at different times, taking much more time to finish the game. Shotgun start makes the game go faster. LIV Golf is well-known for using shotgun start.

Why is it Called a Shotgun Start in Golf?

The ‘Shotgun start’ term symbolizes the idea of the shotgun firing in the air for all players to start. On the first shotgun start in 1956, the head professional Jim Russell, actually fired his weapon to begin the game. Nowadays, a siren is more commonly used to make it easier for all golfers to hear.

How Does a Shotgun Start Work?

In shotgun start, different groups tee off from different holes on the sound of shotgun fire or siren. For example, if Group 1 starts from Hole 1, then Group 2 will tee off from Hole 2. Same goes for other groups. Then, they proceed to the next hole keeping a coordination and finish almost together.

What are the Advantages of Shotgun Start Format?

Shotgun start format lets a large number of players participate at the same time. As a result, it takes less time to finish the game. Unlike in the traditional format, golfers no longer need to wait between tee times. It helps the sales in all outlets. In addition, more golfers can participate in the post-activities together.

What are the Disadvantages and Challenges of Shotgun Start?

Shotgun start doesn’t give the flexibility to choose a tee time like the traditional format. Players need to start with everyone else. Any delay at the start causes all the players to start late. Assigning holes, tee time, and keeping coordination are the biggest challenges. Managing the scores and leaderboard board is quite tricky too.

Does the PGA do Shotgun Starts?

Yes, PGA does shotgun starts for some tournaments, especially when the player number is high. Pro-Ams, for example, have shotgun start. But for most tournaments, PGA uses ‘tee time’. It’s a traditional format where players start from the first hole at different times, giving golfers the option to choose a tee time.

How Many Teams are in a Shotgun Start?

It depends on the golf course. Usually 72 golfers or 18 groups meaning 4 players per tee, play together on an 18-hole course. In reverse shotgun start, there are usually lesser participants than that. In comparison, the maximum can be 144 golfers or 36 groups for a double shotgun start.

What is a Reverse Shotgun Start in Golf?

Reverse shotgun start is a variation of shotgun start. It occurs when less than 72 golfers participate in the tournament, mainly to free up 1st tee for other customers. Here golfers play backward. The last hole is considered the 1st hole. The second to last is the second hole.

What is a Double  Shotgun Start in Golf?

Double shotgun start is a variation for when many more than 72 golfers participate in the game. It’s basically 2 sets of shotgun start. Here golfers play in the morning and afternoon round. With 18 groups per round, 36 groups can finish the tournament in a day when you use the double shotgun start format.

If there are only a few golfers more than 72, then a double shotgun start isn’t really needed. Instead, they can be put as extra groups on 5-par holes. When the previously assigned group on the 5-par hole takes their 2nd shots, extra groups can start.

What is a Modified Shotgun Start in Golf?

Modified shotgun start is when the course is open for the other customers during the game. The golf course manager assigns groups with specific holes to start the game, keeping the reservations in mind. It is the most complex shotgun variation. Keeping the coordination here is quite difficult. Thus, it’s usually used for smaller tournaments. 

Summing it up

Often a debate goes on saying which is the better way to start. Is shotgun start really a better choice? The answer is every format has its pros and cons. Shotgun start surely helps the events go faster and makes efficient use of expensive courses. But at the same time, many players might miss the tournament only because the starting time didn’t fit into their schedule.

Flora Brown
Written by Flora Brown

Golf is the first and only sport that got Flora Brown so interested in it. She likes to share how every single thing from the type of golf ball you hit to your ride on the golf cart for saving energy has an impact on the game. Right now, she is a content expert at Nifty Golf, with 2 years of writing experience in the golf industry. She is hoping to share and get introduced to many more dimensions of golf with the people having the similar interest.

Leave a Comment