Shotgun Start in Golf: Intriguing Secret of a Riveting Game Explained!

In a shotgun start in golf, all tournament participants begin simultaneously from different holes. This approach, popular for its advantages such as shorter rounds and quicker play, involves assigning groups to each hole before tee-off. The tournament thus commences with everyone playing at once, fostering camaraderie amidst competition. However, logistical challenges and meticulous planning requirements pose as potential disadvantages.

What Is a Shotgun in Golf Featured Image

Key Takeaways

  • A shotgun start in golf is when all participants in a tournament begin their rounds simultaneously from different holes on the course.
  • This starting format allows for larger tournaments with shorter rounds and helps speed up play.
  • The term “shotgun start” is derived from firing a shotgun in the air to signal the start of the tournament.
  • It offers advantages such as efficient event planning, reduced bottlenecks, and a more exciting atmosphere for players and spectators.
  • However, managing a large number of golfers and logistical challenges can be drawbacks to consider when using a shotgun start.


Golf is a sport that has a long-standing tradition, and with that comes a wide variety of terminology, events, and structures. One of the more unique aspects of golf tournaments is the shotgun start.

If you’ve never participated in or attended a shotgun start golf tournament before, you might be wondering what it entails. In simple terms, a shotgun start is when all participants in a golf tournament begin their rounds at the same time from different holes on the course rather than teeing off one by one.

This starting format has become increasingly popular among golfers due to its many advantages. The shotgun start allows for larger tournaments with shorter rounds and also helps to speed up play, which can sometimes be an issue for larger groups.

"In simple terms, a shotgun start is when all participants in a golf tournament begin their rounds at the same time from different holes on the course rather than teeing off one by one."

The way it works is fairly simple – each hole on the course will have a group assigned to it before the tournament starts. The group’s starting point will alternate between holes until each player has been assigned one.

Once all groups are assigned to their starting points, players will head out to their designated hole at once and tee off simultaneously; essentially, everyone in each group begins playing at once, no matter where they are on the course. This format makes for an exciting experience, as competitors starting together provide some sense of camaraderie during playtime while still maintaining healthy competition between them!

Check out this video below from the News On 6/KOTV Youtube channel explaining how LIV Golf sets itself apart with its shotgun start approach: 

Definition of a Shotgun Start

A shotgun start is a type of starting format used in golf tournaments. In this format, all participants start the tournament simultaneously, each at a different hole on the course.

This is different from the traditional tee-time start, where players begin at designated intervals throughout the day. The term “shotgun” refers to the method of starting a round by firing a shotgun in the air.

This is done to signal to all participants that it is time to begin playing. The shotgun start format has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many benefits over other starting formats.

One of the biggest advantages of a shotgun start in golf tournament planning is that it allows for more efficient and organized event planning. Rather than having to coordinate multiple tee times throughout the day, organizers can simply assign each participant to a specific hole and time slot within that hole.

This means less time spent managing tee sheets and more time for other important aspects of tournament planning. Additionally, competitors starting together creates an exciting atmosphere, which adds an extra layer of energy and excitement for participants and spectators alike.

Enjoying this article? Read more:

Golfer hitting shot off tee

The Origin of the Term "Shotgun Start"

The term “shotgun start” is a unique and intriguing way to describe how a golf tournament begins. It’s not entirely clear where the term originated, but there are a few theories floating around.

One theory is that the term “shotgun” refers to the loud noise made by a shotgun when fired, which symbolizes the start of the tournament. 

Another theory suggests that it comes from hunting traditions, where groups of hunters would gather together before being dropped off in various locations by their guide. The guide would fire a shotgun into the air to signal the start of the hunt, much like how a shotgun start signals the start of a golf tournament. 

Regardless of its origin, it’s clear that the term has become an integral part of golf terminology, particularly when discussing tournament format and structureThe simultaneous start in golf provided by a shotgun start provides many benefits for both competitors and organizers alike. As such, it’s no surprise that this strategy has become increasingly popular over time.

Green on golf course with hole flag

How a Shotgun Start Works

During a shotgun start in golf, all participants begin play at the same time from different holes on the course. This might sound chaotic, but it’s actually a very organized and efficient way to start a tournament.

Before the tournament begins, the tournament organizers create a tee sheet that assigns each group of players to a different hole on the course. The tee sheet also indicates what time each group should arrive at their assigned hole to begin play.

By staggering the starting times for each group, organizers can ensure that all players are able to start at exactly the same time. One of the most notable advantages of this starting format is that it reduces bottlenecks on the golf course.

In traditional individual-stroke tournaments where participants start one-by-one from hole one, it’s common for slower players or groups to hold up faster players behind them, creating congestion and frustration on the course. With golf tournament shotgun start rules in place, everyone is spread out across various holes from the beginning and can play at their own pace without having to worry about getting stuck behind slower groups ahead of them.

Advantages of a Shotgun Start

A shotgun start in golf offers a range of advantages, making it a popular choice for tournament organizers and players alike. Let’s explore some key benefits of this starting format:

  • Efficient Time and Resource Management: One of the primary advantages of a shotgun start is its ability to effectively manage time and resources during a tournament. By having all players start at the same time across multiple holes, organizers can ensure that everyone finishes around the same time as well. This streamlined approach simplifies event planning, allowing for better coordination of tee times, scheduling of staff, and allocation of equipment and resources. It eliminates the need for managing individual tee times throughout the day, making the overall logistics more efficient and organized.
  • Exciting Atmosphere: The shotgun start format adds an extra element of excitement and energy to the tournament. Since all players start at the same time, there is a palpable sense of anticipation in the air. The simultaneous start creates a thrilling atmosphere as participants are eager to make their mark on the course right from the beginning. This heightened energy extends to the spectators as well, enhancing their overall enjoyment and engagement throughout the event.
  • Level Playing Field: In traditional tee-time formats, some players may benefit from favorable weather conditions or starting at specific holes. However, with a shotgun start, these advantages are minimized. Players begin from different holes in different parts of the course, neutralizing the impact of varying conditions. This levels the playing field, emphasizing skill rather than luck, and ensuring a fair competition for all participants.
  • Enhanced Social Interaction: The shotgun start format encourages social interaction and camaraderie among players. Since all participants start at the same time, they have the opportunity to play with different groups during the tournament. This fosters a sense of community and friendly competition, as players share the experience of starting together. It also provides a chance for networking and building connections among golfers, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the event.

Overall, a shotgun start in golf offers several advantages. It optimizes time and resource management, creates an exciting atmosphere, promotes fair competition, and enhances social interaction among players. These benefits have contributed to the increasing popularity of the shotgun start format in golf tournaments, providing an engaging and memorable experience for both organizers and participants.

Golf clubs in golf bag on golf course green

Disadvantages of a Shotgun Start

While a shotgun start in golf has its advantages, it also comes with a few potential disadvantages that organizers should consider:

  • Management Challenges: One of the primary drawbacks of a shotgun start is the difficulty in managing a large number of golfers starting simultaneously from different holes. Keeping track of each player’s whereabouts and ensuring that everyone starts on time can be a logistical challenge. Without proper coordination and organization, delays in the start of the tournament may occur, leading to frustration for both players and organizers.
  • Compatibility with Tournament Formats: A shotgun start may not be suitable for certain types of golf competitions. For instance, in stroke play tournaments with individual competitors, a shotgun start may not be ideal as each player needs to complete their own round from beginning to end. Similarly, in team competition formats, starting at different locations simultaneously means that some teams may not have the opportunity to experience all the holes on the course. This can create an uneven playing field, where certain teams may have an advantage or disadvantage based on the sequence of holes they play.
  • Uneven Pace of Play: Another potential drawback of a shotgun start is the possibility of an uneven pace of play. Since players start simultaneously, there may be variations in the speed at which groups progress through the course. This can lead to congestion on certain holes or delays in play, particularly if slower groups are holding up faster ones. Organizers must carefully manage and monitor the pace of play to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all participants.

While these disadvantages exist, they can be mitigated with effective planning, clear communication, and proper tournament organization. Organizers should assess the specific needs and dynamics of their event to determine whether a shotgun start aligns with their goals and can be successfully implemented.

Golf course greens with clear blue skies

Famous Tournaments Using Shotgun Starts

Many golf tournaments, both professional and amateur, have adopted the shotgun start format as a way to enhance the experience for participants. 

  • One of the most famous tournaments that uses a shotgun start is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. This tournament brings together professional golfers and celebrities in a team competition that spans over three courses. With over 180 teams participating, it would be logistically impossible to begin play with conventional tee times. The shotgun start allows for all teams to begin at the same time, eliminating any potential delays and allowing for a more efficient pace of play.
  • Another notable tournament that incorporates a shotgun start into its format is the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This tournament is known not only for its rowdy atmosphere but also for its unique final round on a Sunday, where every player in the field tees off simultaneously on different holes around the course in front of tens of thousands of fans. This starting format creates an electrifying atmosphere and adds an extra level of excitement to the event. Additionally, this allows fans to see every player in action from the very beginning of their round.
  • The LIV Golf Invitational Series is another tournament that has embraced the shotgun start format, aiming to revolutionize the sport with this innovative approach. The format is designed to increase the pace and excitement of tournament golf, leading to faster rounds and a more enjoyable experience for both players and spectators. During the first LIV Golf Series event, a flyover was used to signal the start of the tournament, marking the moment when the first tee shots would be hit. This format ensures that all groups start and finish their rounds at roughly the same time, typically within a four-hour window

Overall, there are numerous advantages to utilizing a shotgun start in golf tournaments such as these examples – it opens up opportunities for new formats like team competitions or simultaneous starts while ensuring efficient pace-of-play throughout play on each hole while allowing players freedom with regards to choosing when they will tee off based on their own schedules (as opposed to having scheduled tee times). While there are certainly some disadvantages too (such as logistics), it’s clear why this type of starting format has become so popular across all levels of golf event organization!

Young golfer celebrating hitting shot


The shotgun start is a starting format used in golf tournaments that has its advantages and disadvantages. The origin of the term is not clearly known, but it is believed to have started at hunting events where people would race to claim their spot in a line for shooting. In golf, it refers to all participants starting at the same time from different holes on the course.

This format has become increasingly popular among tournament organizers due to some of its benefits. First, it allows for more players and teams to participate than a traditional tee time start.

Additionally, golfers get to play with different groups during the tournament, which can be more social and create camaraderie among competitors. On top of that, this strategy helps speed up a round as players start simultaneously, which eliminates waiting times between shots.

However, there are also downsides to this method, as it requires meticulous planning by event organizers, and players need to be guided accordingly on where they need to go and what their tee time is. This can be quite challenging if there are many golfers participating in an event.

Clubs have limited parking space, which can cause logistical challenges if not properly planned. Overall, whether you are participating in an amateur or professional event with friends or strangers alike, shotgun starts provide an exciting twist on a conventional sport while allowing for more fun interaction opportunities between all participants involved!


A shotgun start in golf is when all participants begin their rounds simultaneously from different holes on the course, rather than teeing off one by one. It allows for a synchronized and efficient start to the tournament.

Unlike traditional tee-time starts where players begin at designated intervals, a shotgun start involves all players starting at the same time from different holes. This eliminates the need for staggered tee times and creates a more synchronized start.

Yes, a shotgun start is often used in scramble format tournaments. It enables all teams to start together, contributing to the excitement and camaraderie of the event.

The number of teams or golfers involved in a shotgun start event can vary depending on the tournament. It can accommodate a large number of participants, making it suitable for tournaments with numerous teams or players.

The exact origin of the term “shotgun start” in golf is uncertain. One theory suggests it originated from the loud noise made by a shotgun when fired, symbolizing the start of the tournament. Another theory links it to hunting traditions where a shotgun signaled the beginning.

The rules of a shotgun start tournament in golf generally follow the standard rules of play. However, specific rules regarding tee times, starting holes, and course layout are determined by the tournament organizers to ensure a smooth and fair event.

Advantages of a shotgun start include efficient time management, equal starting opportunities, and an exciting atmosphere. Disadvantages may include challenges in managing a large number of participants and potential variations in the pace of play.

A shotgun start can help maintain a steady pace of play during a golf tournament. By starting all players simultaneously from different holes, it reduces bottlenecks and waiting times commonly associated with tee-time starts.

Yes, a shotgun start format allows for playing multiple rounds of golf. By coordinating tee times and course assignments, organizers can facilitate the efficient scheduling of multiple rounds within a day or event.

Share this Post

Keep Reading

Follow Us

Recent Posts

How do pro golfers get paid Featured Image

How Do Pro Golfers Get Paid? The Business of Golf

Professional golfers get paid both before and after tournaments. Before a tournament, they receive appearance fees, sometimes exceeding $1 million, to attract top players. After the tournament, earnings depend on their placement, with the PGA

Table of Contents

Discover our Golf reviews to discover top-tier gear and insights to empower your performance.
Golf Equipment
Explore renowned Golf Courses worldwide. Gain insights, improve your strategy, and enjoy your game.
Golf Courses
Boost your game with our expert Golf Tips. From swing mechanics to strategy, we've got you covered.
Golf Tips
Dive into our Golf Blog: a wealth of knowledge, insights, and stories to inspire and enhance your game.
Previous slide
Next slide
Better Golf nation Facts Infographic

Similar Posts