Golf is one of the most ancient and popular outdoor sports in the world right now. Modern golf originated in 15th Century Scotland and quickly started to gain popularity among the individuals because of the game’s unique style. Throughout the years, the governing body of the game has added different rules to the sport to make it more enjoyable and interesting.
One of those rules is the shotgun start. But the new and aspiring golfers are not familiar with everything of the game. So we prepared this article for them, and for the curious minds on the internet, to know what shotgun start is. We will explain to you what it is and how it works, even if you know only a little about the sport.
What Is a Shotgun Start?
The most basic answer to what a shotgun starts in golf would be that it is the format of a tournament that is started by a shotgun fired into the air. But it’s not that simple. There are plenty of additional rules that players need to follow when they start a game of golf through the shotgun start. We’ll tell you everything about it one by one.
History of the Shotgun Start
A certain Jim Russell in 1956, who was the head pro Walla Walla Country Club situated at the Walla Walla city of Washington, fired a shotgun as a signal of the start of play. This is regarded as the reason why the start of the game is called shotgun start.
Current Starting Procedure of the Shotgun Start
You will not find shotguns being fired around in any modern golf courses today, even if they’re starting by a shotgun start. Rather, sirens are used to make sure that all the golfers across the course can listen to the starting signal of the tournament. In some cases, players start from a pre-designated timer without any siren.
Rules of a Shotgun Start
Depending on the number of holes in a course, 9 or 18, each group of players will begin playing from a specific and unique starting hole or position. No two groups will start to form the same hole. Each of those groups starts when the siren is blown. Previously, real shotguns would be fired to mark the beginning of the tournament.
After a particular group tees off from their designated hole, they will play all the 9 or 18-hole rounds throughout the course in ordinal order from where they had started. For example, if a group starts from the 11th hole, they would then go on and play the holes 12 to 18. After that, they would finish the day by playing the holes from 1 to 11.
Why is the Shotgun Start Unique
In other tournaments, players may begin playing at different times. But in shotgun start tournaments, all the groups have to start their game at the same time. The tournament ends when the slowest foursome finishes a full round.
Shotgun start tournaments allow a large number of players to get through the round and not clog any driving range. Every hole of the course keeps busy during this event. This allows for players to finish their game without spending the whole day in the same course.
Criteria for a Shotgun Start
Booking a shotgun start tournament in a course requires some specific and strict set of rules to be met. For example, one of the most crucial and vital rules for organizing a shotgun start is the minimum number of players. If this number cannot be met, the course has the authority to revert the tournament into a different one like a split tee start.
Traditionally, the golf club requires the tournament to host a post-event meal that generally takes place inside of the clubhouse. Some clubs allow these tournaments to members of the club only. Most courses also don’t allow the shotgun to start tournaments to be held during weekends.
Common Events for the Shotgun Start
Since most of the players participating in a shotgun tournament start and finish at the same time, this format of starting is popular in charity events where it’s better to finish early. As a result, the organizing committee can host the prize-giving ceremony and a post-event meal afterward.
The shotgun start format of the game has allowed the sport to be versatile and flexible with the time required for finishing a tournament. It is a great way of compressing and decreasing the duration of the game. As such, those who don’t like long matches find this to be an excellent format.