What Is A Shotgun Start In Golf? How Does It Work In Tournaments?

Golf tournaments are a fantastic way to support a cause, but planning a successful event requires careful consideration of various components. Among these are many interesting ways to tee things off, and one option to consider is the shotgun start. So let’s dive in to know more about shotgun start! 


What Is A Shotgun Start?

A shotgun start is a tournament style used to begin a round of golf. In this type of start, all players in the group simultaneously hit their tee shots at designated holes spread out around the course. The objective is to have each group finish their round at about the same time, allowing for a more organized and efficient flow for larger tournaments.


A Brief History Of The Shotgun Start In Golf – How It Started And Where It’s Going?

what does shotgun start mean in golf
Shotgun Start Sunday 2023 LIV Golf Tulsa

The shotgun start in golf has been a game staple for several decades. It began in the mid-1900s as a way for golfers to save time playing large tournaments. The standard practice then was for each player to tee off from the first hole and then wait their turn to play the next hole. Players can tee off at once using a shotgun start and play the course more quickly.

Today, shotgun starts are used in virtually every major golf tournament. It is a way to get more people out on the course, allowing for quicker rounds and larger tournaments. The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) typically uses this format for its professional events, while amateur and club tournaments often depend on it as well.

As the popularity of golf continues to rise, shotgun start will likely remain a fixture for years to come. Not only does help speed up play but also provides an exciting and unique for players to get out on the course and have fun with their friends. The shotgun start format is here to stay!


How Does A Shotgun Start Work In Tournaments?

When it comes to playing in a tournament, there are some important things to keep in mind. The tournament organizer and head golf pro are responsible for defining the parameters of play and the tee sheet, but you can expect to be given a cart and starting hole upon arrival. 

Don’t fret if you see carts queued in reverse order, with hole number 18 first in line – this is customary. Before tee time, the carts will be turned loose, and players will make their way to their assigned holes. 

Some tournaments provide scorecards with each player’s name already printed, which is used for teeing up on the first assigned hole. Afterward, it’s all about honors – the player with the lowest score takes the lead on future holes. 

When the last group takes off for hole number one, each of the previous carts will be at or near their assigned tees. With precise timing, synchronous golf ball teeing up and driving commences, making for a truly professional tournament experience.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Shotgun Start In Golf Tournaments

whats a shotgun start in golf
LIV Golf Jeddah Friday Shotgun Start

Although shotgun tournaments can limit the number of players and reduce income in various areas, they can come with their own set of benefits. 

For one, they can provide publicity for the golf course, attract new players, and guarantee sales from food, beverages, the driving range, pro shop, and instructors. Additionally, for participants, the tournament can be quick and a great opportunity to spend time with friends and co-workers outside of the office. 

However, it’s essential to note that the cost to play in a tournament is typically higher than a standard round of golf. Additionally, slow play can potentially cause non-tournament golfers to wait a longer time for their tee slot, or even miss a day of golf. 

Despite some potential drawbacks, shotgun tournaments can still offer an enjoyable and engaging experience for both golfers and courses alike.


How Long Does A Shotgun Golf Tournament Last?

The length of a shotgun golf tournament can vary depending on the size and format of the event. Generally speaking, smaller tournaments with fewer players can last as little as two and a half hours, while larger tournaments with more holes and more participants can take up to four or five hours. 

Most importantly, when playing in a shotgun start golf tournament, it’s essential to follow all established rules and maintain etiquette and proper golfing decorum. 

This will not only ensure the best experience for all players but also ensure an efficient flow for larger tournaments.

Following these simple steps and having patience when playing in a shotgun start golf tournament can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to spend time on the course. 


Shotgun Start Vs Tee Time: What Are The Differences?

Shotgun starts and tee times are two distinct methods for organizing golfers on the course. While both offer advantages, there are several key differences that should be taken into account when considering either approach.

Generally speaking, a tee time-based tournament is played on one course and allows for more flexibility in terms of where players start and which holes they play. On the other hand, shotgun starts are used when multiple courses are available or when there are too many players for a single course.

In general, shotgun starts tend to be faster and more efficient because all groups begin at the same time. However, this also means that players must wait until their assigned tee box is available, which can lead to frustration and slow play. 

Tee times, on the other hand, allow for more control over the pace of play and provide players with more flexibility in terms of how and when they play. This is why many tournaments opt for tee-time-based events, as it allows players to determine their own schedule and select the holes they want to play.

Ultimately, the choice between shotgun starts and tee times comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the event. Knowing how each approach works and which factors to consider can help ensure the best experience for everyone involved.  ​



Shotgun starts offer a unique and efficient way to play golf, with all players starting at the same time on multiple courses. While this approach can be faster and more organized than tee times, it is important to consider potential drawbacks such as slow play or limited flexibility in terms of where and when you can start playing. With an understanding of how each option works, everyone involved will have the best experience possible while out enjoying a round of golf.

References: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgunstart


  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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