What Is A Shotgun Start In Golf: Better To Know How This Format Works

Did you hear of the shotgun start in a golf tournament? You have probably seen a golf tournament where all 18 holes have golfers playing. Well, they might be playing under the shotgun start format.

You might be aware of the slow pace of the game happening in some courses in parts of the world. The steady stride in some plays might be an assembly of too many golfers playing the usual tee time. Some golfers may experience doing their tee time after waiting for several hours.

The delays might be due to players with different skills coming together and becoming stuck in gridlock. But there is a better alternative play format in a tournament on a vast golf course. The shotgun start is one.

You will surely ask: What is a shotgun start in golf? Well, we are always here to tell you more about golf.

What Is A Shotgun Start?

golf course

The shotgun start in golf tournaments usually happens when there are too many participants in the game at the same time. The participating groups of golfers are given a pre-specified hole for each team as a starting tee.

The allocation of golfers to different tees, but starting teeing at once: is a better way of accommodating too many groups of players golfing simultaneously in a single tournament. Each group will tee off from their specified hole concurrently with other groups once the signal of the game commences.

The term ‘shotgun start’ became well-liked because of head professional Jim Russell. Jim fired a shotgun signaling the start of a tournament in May 1956. The event happened at the Walla Walla Country Club (Washington State). Since then, the term is utilized in different tournaments around the globe.

Golf match

Golf match

How A Shotgun Start Works?

Tournament organizers will have a great time executing a single round of golf with ease when applying the shotgun start format. They favor this setting because it allows golfers to be at the clubhouse at once. The players can celebrate in the bar together for the presentation: without waiting for other golfers to finish their game.

The shotgun start set-up is also favorable to management as the course could accommodate more players.

The setting works like this: For example, you have 18 four-ball (about 72 golfers, four players in each group) who joined the tourney. Instead of lining up for the first tee, the golfers will start their respective rounds in different spots in the course.

Every group of the 18 four-ball players will go to their assigned tee box to wait for the tip-off of the start of the game. Some players may travel to their particular tee via a golf cart if the organizers provide. When the buzzer sounds the signal to start, each team will begin teeing off at once.

A group may begin their round, say, at the 7th hole. Then, they will play the 8, 9, and other holes until finishing on the 6th hole. When the play of each team is consistent enough, every team will finish the round almost at the same time.

A Man is Playing golf

A Man is Playing golf

What Are The Advantages Of A Shotgun Competition?

Applying the shotgun start format in a tournament has many benefits. One of these is a lot of players will be able to play on the same golf course at the same time. Moreover, all of the players can begin playing in unlike holes also at the same time.

The camaraderie that comes after the round will make players enjoy each company and have the time to celebrate together. The format is also advantageous to players hosting clients, friends, and even customers to get together after the game. They can talk about the things that transpired or share experiences, etc.

But there are other benefits to doing a shotgun start, especially for the organizers. They can save time and let other non-tournament golfers play after the tournament.

The organizers will have the option to play the shotgun start style for plays that will take place later in the day. They can also avoid bad weather situations. All the players will also experience the same weather condition as they play in the same course but in different holes.

How Long Does A Shotgun Start Golf Tournament Last?

The average time to finish one round of a regular 18-hole golf play takes more or less three hours. The duration of one round of golf (18-hole) in a shotgun start may take the same time when done consistently.

You can buy shotgun start merchandise, like a t-shirt , online when your players need some uniform wear.

When Is The Best Part In Choosing A Shotgun Start?

The shotgun start in a golf tournament is ideal when too many golfers join the game. It only makes sense because a whole day on the course is time-consuming! Golfers with hectic schedules during the day and who need to finish one round without getting late will benefit from this setup.

The format is also ideal for amateur golfers. When players have matching abilities, they may take the same finishing a single round.

What Is A Modified Shotgun Start In Golf?

The modified shotgun start setting in golf is applicable in small-scale golf courses. It is a format where paying clients in groups play side-by-side with customers doing tee times.

beautiful Golf course

What Is A Reverse Shotgun Start Golf?

As the name suggests, the reverse shotgun start in golf is played oppositely. The good thing about this play is that the first hole clears quickly to give way for non-tournament-playing customers.

What Is A Double Shotgun Start In Golf? 

The double-shotgun start format in golf is more efficient if the tournament has too many players. However, the setting may result in early teeing off for some players, while other players will have late teeing time.

What Is A Shotgun Start Scramble?

Playing the scramble shotgun start layout follows the usual scramble setting. Groups of 2-4 players will play the best ball utilizing the shotgun details. However, every golfer will start and finish the game at once.

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How To Accomplish Shotgun Start When There Are More than 18 Groups?

The possibility of having more than 18 groups (four players each group) in a shotgun start tournament is highly-expected. Golf tournament organizers have a quick fix on this situation.

What they do is to send two groups of players to par-4 or the par-5 holes. The moment the first group hits their first tee and the second shot, the second team can hit their tees. By then, the second group will have a clear fairway.

Shotgun Starts vs. “Normal” Starting Methods

The ‘normal’ start in golf begins the round by teeing off the first or the 10th hole. All of the participating groups under normal starting off the tee start in either of the two holes. The starting period of each golfer usually overlaps in-between ten or fifteen minutes.

The normal starting method, when applied to a group of 18 teams of golfers, will take up to three hours to finish teeing off one by one. It is by using only one hole. Moreover, it will take another three hours to conclude the tournament.

Shotgun Start vs. Tee Times

The tee time is the regular starting period in traditional golf game format. In this arrangement, golfers used one hole in teeing. They do it with a different start time. The tee times give golfers workable playing hours considering their timetable.

On the other hand, the shotgun starts approach permits golfers to commit to a tournament that offers a faster pace. Even if there are more players, the golfers do not need to wait a long time in teeing off.


It is good to know some of the formats in a golf game tournament, like the shotgun start. The play brings a unique sense of the game. It is one of the better ways to manage a golf course. But no matter what play you want, it all adds up to a win-win situation.

It is also a great maneuver to manipulate time to keep every player focused without getting them weary. The format also serves more golfers who want to play alongside other golfers, albeit in different holes. But you have the best decision in picking the best game that will enhance your performance in the field.

Knowing what a shotgun start in golf is will make you appreciate the large number of golfers playing at once. That is on the same golf course! The game will keep everybody busy but will not over-pack the driving range throughout the day. The shotgun start format keeps the game moving!

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