What is a shotgun start in golf? A shotgun start in golf is a type of tournament starting format in which all golfers on a course start their rounds simultaneously on different holes, instead of starting from the first tee and having separate tee times.
This starting format is used in various golf events, including charity events s and now even in professional events (we’re looking at you LIV Tour!). Shotgun starts are used usually for one day tournaments and outings to speed up play and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a round of golf.
Most local golf clubs who put on tournaments use the shotgun format for their starts. The PGA Tour, however, does not employ the shotgun tournament format, they send groups off of the 1st and 10th tees. That is the norm for professional tournaments.
Advantages of a Shotgun Start
The main advantage of a shotgun start tournament is that it allows all golfers to complete their rounds in a shorter amount of time. This is because all golfers are starting their rounds at the same time, rather than one group starting at a time and waiting for each subsequent group to start.
By starting all groups at the same time, the tournament organizers can ensure that all golfers are done at the same time, don’t have to worry about the tee sheet, and can start their awards ceremony when everyone is done.
Another advantage of a shotgun start is that it helps to keep the pace of play moving. Since all groups are starting their rounds at the same time and not just on the first hole, they can be spread out over the entire course, reducing the chances of a backlog of groups on any one hole.
This makes the tournament move more efficiently, keeping all golfers engaged and on-track to finish their round in a timely manner. It is a great way to put on a tournament.
Disadvantages of a Shotgun Start
One disadvantage of a shotgun start is that it can be difficult to coordinate. Since all golfers are starting their rounds simultaneously on different holes, it takes a significant amount of planning and organization to make sure everything runs smoothly. Tournament organizers need to consider the number of golfers, the size of the course, and the number of holes to ensure that everyone has enough space to play comfortably.
Another disadvantage of a shotgun start is that it can be challenging for golfers who are used to playing from the first tee. Some golfers prefer to start their rounds from the first tee, as it provides a sense of tradition and order to the tournament. Starting a round on say the 18th hole just feels weird. For these golfers, a shotgun start can feel disorganized and unfamiliar.
But regardless, shotgun starts should not really effect who shoots the lowest scores, it just effects what hole you are on at the start of play.
Players who may have a conflict at the specific time of the shotgun start, would also have a problem with the shotgun format. There are not other times to tee off since that is when all the groups of golfers tee off at the same time.
How a Shotgun Start Works
A shotgun start begins with a signal, such as a horn or siren, that signals all golfers to start their rounds at the same time at the start of the tournament. Each golfer will have been assigned a starting hole, and they will make their way to that hole to begin their round. The tournament organizers will also assign marshals to each starting hole to ensure that the starting process runs smoothly.
Once all groups of players have started their rounds, they will continue to play through the course as usual. Golfers will still need to complete the full 18 holes, regardless of the which tee boxes they started from, and they will still be scored based on their strokes for each hole. So regardless if you are in the first group, second group or the last group, you will all have the same start time.
Where Are Shotgun Tournaments Held?
Short answer: almost everywhere! Even the fanciest golf clubs in the world host shotgun format tournaments at their courses. Public courses, private courses, and semi-private courses all have these events. Signing up for a charity event or fundraiser can be one of the best ways to get to play a private course that you have never played before.
What To Do Next
If you are reading this article about the shotgun start format, we assume you are in the group of players who are just starting out in the game. And that is great! We would love to help you learn more about the great game of golf, so head over to our Beginners section now to learn more!
What Is A Shotgun Start In Golf?
A shotgun start in golf is a type of tournament starting format in which all golfers on a course start their rounds simultaneously on different holes, instead of starting from the first tee.