What is a shotgun start in golf? Reverse & Double shotgun start

Like other golf terms, the term “shotgun start” is likely familiar to everyone who has ever played golf. It’s somewhat exclusive to the sport. Besides, there are few sports where participants may compete simultaneously on an ordinary piece of land in at least 18 distinct locations, much alone 40.

In short, What is a shotgun start in golf?

In golf, a shotgun start is when all participants in a competition begin moving around the course simultaneously.

A “shotgun start” was developed to take advantage of the fact that a golf course can be used more efficiently, and a golf competition can be completed more rapidly when golfers are competing on more of the period at once rather than waiting to tee off sure holes.

The beginning of a golf tournament in a fashion that assigns each group in the field to a particular, unique starting hole or position is known as a shotgun start.

Following that, each group tees off from its designated hole at the shotgun start, which gets its name from the notion that blasting a shotgun into the air signals that everyone should begin their round simultaneously.

Every group then plays a nine- or 18-hole round, traversing the course in numerical sequence starting from where they began the match. For instance, a foursome that starts on the 11th hole would play holes 12 through 18, then ride to the first tee and play holes 1 through 10 to finish the day.

The idea behind a shotgun start is to keep players engaged and moving so that the course doesn’t have to close for the entire day to host an event.

This way, a large field of competitors can complete a round without taking up the entire day’s worth of driving range space in preparation for a tee sheet of starting times. Shotgun starts typically involve players riding carts to their starting holes; however, it’s only sometimes necessary to stay in the cart the entire game.

Players will occasionally drive to their beginning hole, remove their bags, and walk alone or with caddies. A shotgun start is an excellent approach to shorten the duration of a tournament regardless of the participants’ decisions.

History Of Shotgun Start in Golf

Given Golf’s lengthy and colorful history, there is significant debate regarding the exact start date of the first tournaments played in the shotgun format. However, the phrase “shotgun start,” coined by Jim Russell, the head professional at the Walla Walla Country Club in Washington, is beyond dispute. He was creative and went to great lengths to quickly get tournament players into and off his lovely country club fairways.

Although Washington’s sun sets late at night, Russell’s course was in high demand. However, there was no way to make up for the lost revenue from a day-long tournament, and it was unfair to the country club members for an entire weekend to be fully booked.

Russell fired a shotgun to indicate for each golf group stationed at holes one through 18 to tee off and start play, as reported in the December 2004 issue of Golf Digest.

The idea has been demonstrated since May of 1956, and no one has ever been shot, as far as we know. However, sirens or airhorns are more frequently employed today, which is uninteresting.

Due to dampness, early morning tee times may result in slow greens, while later starts will see faster greens and the results of the last play. Since each player creates their round with the identical state of the course, shotgun starts and the same tee time offers some inherent fairness.

A player’s game may be psychologically impacted by not starting on the first or tenth hole, and due to the course layout, minor effects from the sun and wind are also possible.

What does a Reverse Shotgun Start mean in Golf?

In a shotgun start, all players in the competition start simultaneously utilizing whichever hole tees are required to make this happen. If not all 18 tees are to be used, a shotgun start will often use the holes closest to the clubhouse.

However, with a reverse shotgun start, the goal is for the competitors to leave the first tee as fast as possible to make way for other players who are not in the competition. Therefore, the tee positions that need to be filled will begin at the first or 18th tee and move backward.

Shotgun vs. Reverse Shotgun Start

Before we dive into the reverse madness, let’s quickly recap the conventional shotgun start. In a regular shotgun start, participants launch their golf balls into action simultaneously from different tees, ensuring a swift and synchronized beginning to the competition. Typically, the closest holes to the clubhouse become the stage for this orchestrated golf symphony.

Now, imagine flipping this golf script on its head – enter the reverse shotgun start! It’s not just about hitting the ball; it’s about doing it with flair and speed.

Fast and Furious Tee-off

Imagine golfers itching to leave the first tee at breakneck speed, creating a whirlwind of energy and anticipation. Why, you ask? The primary goal is to clear the way for other players who are not part of the competition. It’s like a golfing sprint, where every swing is a step towards opening up the course for a broader golfing community.

Navigating the Greens

In the reverse shotgun start, the tee positions follow a unique sequence. Unlike the traditional method that kicks off from the closest holes to the clubhouse, the reverse version spices things up. Tee positions begin at either the first or 18th hole and then backtrack through the course. It’s a strategic dance across the greens, ensuring that the golf course remains a bustling hub of activity.

Why the Reverse Excitement?

So, what’s the buzz about the reverse shotgun start? It’s not just about tradition; it’s a playful nod to golf’s adaptability and inclusivity. By expeditiously vacating the starting point, golfers participating in competitions pave the way for others to enjoy a leisurely round. It’s a harmonious blend of competition and camaraderie that keeps the spirit of golf alive and kicking.

In the world of golf, where precision meets a touch of the unexpected, the reverse shotgun start adds a vibrant stroke to the canvas of this beloved sport. So, the next time you find yourself on the golf course, don’t be surprised if the usual order is reversed – it’s all part of the game’s delightful charm!

In Golf, what is a Double Shotgun Start?

Double Shotgun Start is used when a field is significant for a competition to accommodate everyone at once. Competitors start simultaneously during a shotgun start but on different holes. Thus, 72 players can play simultaneously in a typical round (4 players per tee).

Occasionally, more players can fit if the course features long par 5s that can handle 2 groups starting on them. The competition is divided into two halves, with a double shotgun start and morning & afternoon rounds. One group of players will compete in the morning & the other in the afternoon.

Simultaneous Swing, Different Holes

In this golfing extravaganza, competitors kick off their journey with a synchronized start, but with a twist – each player tees off from a different hole. It’s like watching a ballet unfold, with precision and coordination weaving through the course. With 72 players dancing to the rhythm in a typical round, the golf course becomes a canvas of skill and strategy.

Maximizing the Playfield

Ever wondered how 72 players could seamlessly share the stage? The Double Shotgun Start ingeniously utilizes the course’s layout. Picture this: long par 5s acting as expansive canvases, accommodating two groups of players each. It’s a strategic dance, where the golfers and the course engage in a delightful partnership, creating a spectacle that goes beyond the usual golfing experience.

Morning vs. Afternoon: A Golfing Tale in Two Acts

The Double Shotgun Start divides the competition into two halves, adding another layer to the narrative. One group of players takes center stage in the morning, showcasing their prowess under the warm sunlight. As the day unfolds, the spotlight shifts to the afternoon performers, ensuring that every stroke contributes to the unfolding saga of the golfing day.

So, the next time you hear about a Double Shotgun Start, envision a golfing carnival where precision meets spectacle, and players become performers in the grand symphony of golf. It’s not just a competition; it’s a celebration of skill, strategy, and the beautiful dance between golfers and the course.

Pros and Cons of Shotgun Golf

Now that we know what a shotgun start is, what are the Pros and Cons of adopting one when playing Golf in competitions?


A shotgun start is advantageous since it enables all groups to finish at once. A shotgun start is beneficial if there is a prize distribution following the event. Therefore, getting everyone in at once implies less waiting and a higher likelihood that people will stay for the awards.

In contrast to a typical first competition, which would probably take more than seven hours before the last group is in, you can complete the rounding of the whole field of 72 players in less than four hours. This benefits the club by making the course available to other players who weren’t in the competition.

It’s always wonderful to have the option of starting from a different tee box than the customary 1st. Beginning on another course could help you improve your game because the first hole at your club might be a bogey hole. This implies that you’ll be warmer when you reach the first.


A shotgun start is a terrific method to get many players involved and done quickly, but it also has certain drawbacks.

First, some groups had a lengthy walk to their first hole of the day and an equally long trek back to the parking lot. Some groups will unavoidably be on the holes farthest from the clubhouse because there are 18 different holes from which to choose.

It should be straightforward, given that you will be walking 18 holes of Golf. However, some people might find it annoying to walk that extra distance only to begin and end their round.

The following is the possibility that the winning player will finish on the fifth hole rather than the last, as in a conventional layout. This might seem like a minor problem for club golfers.

However, if this is added to the professional circuit, you would like to see the champion holing out on hole 18 rather than some unassuming spot in the middle of the course.

Concluding Thoughts

This concludes our discussion of shotgun starts in Golf. In a nutshell, it occurs when every group in a competition tees off simultaneously but on various holes.

It’s a terrific method to get many golfers around and finish at once. Still, depending on whatever tee you’re assigned, it also entails considerable extra walking.

An excellent framework for organizing club contests and a fantastic approach to making Golf enjoyable.

Shotgun Start FAQs

1What exactly is a shotgun start in golf, and how does it differ from traditional tee-time starts?A shotgun start in golf involves all groups teeing off simultaneously from different holes, providing a more efficient way to start tournaments compared to the traditional staggered tee times.
2Can you elaborate on the concept of a reverse shotgun start and its role in golf tournaments?A reverse shotgun start is a variation where golfers begin play on the last hole and move backward, offering a unique twist to the conventional format, often employed to accommodate specific scheduling needs.
3In golf terminology, what does a double shotgun start mean, and when is it typically used?A double shotgun start implies two waves of golfers starting simultaneously from different tees, commonly used to manage larger fields in tournaments and maintain a manageable pace of play.
4How do organizers manage the logistics of a shotgun start, ensuring a smooth flow of the event?Organizers meticulously coordinate tee assignments, player movement, and course logistics to orchestrate a seamless shotgun start, ensuring the event runs efficiently without delays or congestion.
5Are there specific advantages for players or organizers when opting for a reverse shotgun start?A reverse shotgun start can add an element of unpredictability and excitement for players, while organizers may use it strategically to accommodate specific scheduling constraints or enhance spectator experience.
6Can you share examples of famous golf tournaments that have embraced the shotgun start format?The Masters and Ryder Cup have utilized shotgun starts, showcasing how prestigious events incorporate this format to streamline the competition and add a touch of innovation to the traditional golf setting.
7What strategic considerations should golfers keep in mind during a double shotgun start event?Golfers in a double shotgun start need to adapt to the unique challenge of managing their game with two waves of play, considering factors like weather changes, course conditions, and mental preparation for an extended day.
8In what situations is a shotgun start preferred, and does it enhance the overall golf experience?Shotgun starts are preferred for large-scale tournaments, charity events, or situations where timing precision is crucial. They enhance the golf experience by promoting a communal atmosphere and efficient course management.
9How does the atmosphere differ between a shotgun start and a traditional tee-time start in golf?The atmosphere in a shotgun start exudes a collective buzz as players commence simultaneously, fostering a sense of camaraderie. In contrast, traditional tee-time starts may have a more spread-out, focused ambiance.
10Are there any unique challenges associated with organizing or participating in a reverse shotgun start?Organizing a reverse shotgun start requires careful planning to ensure a smooth flow backward through the course, while players may need to adjust their usual game strategy to navigate the holes in a reverse sequence.
Why is it called a shotgun start?

A shotgun start is so named because the first time the format was used, a shotgun was fired to notify players when it was time to tee off. This shot signaled the beginning of the competition, and players teed off from various holes.

Is a shotgun start used on the PGA Tour?

The PGA Tour follows a standard approach to tee times, with each group teeing off at a different time. This means that all groups will be on the course at different times, and some players will finish hours after others.

What Are the Advantages of a Shotgun Start?

The fact that everyone starts and finishes simultaneously is the most apparent advantage of a shotgun start for a competition. This maximizes the course’s capacity and avoids filling spaces like the pro shop or driving range.

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