Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Made famous by the LIV Golf League, the Shotgun Start has, in fact, been around for decades in the professional game.

The format was first used in May 1956, when Jim Russell, the head pro at Walla Walla Country Club in Walla Walla, Washington, fired a shotgun to sound the start of play.

Little did Russell know what he had just started.

Also popular in charity events, the format has also been used on the formerly known European Tour and has a few variations and benefits.

Here’s more info…

• How does Stableford work?

Shotgun Start

A Shotgun Start in golf is when all players tee off at the exact same time.

It’s very simple: all groups start their round on a different hole. Each hole on a course will be the starting hole for at least one group.

In other words, group one starts on the first and finishes on the 18th; groups two starts on the second and finishes on the first; group three starts on the third and finishes on the second; and so on.

The biggest benefit of this is that everybody also finishes at the same time (or, at least, that’s the theory).

While a shotgun is no longer used, a central siren, loudspeaker or horn is far more common, so that all golfers hear the signal to start.

Otherwise, players will be given a specific time to tee off, and all groups will get the round under way at that time.

In club competitions, this format has proved effective when there is a meal or prize giving after the round, as all players will return to the clubhouse at a similar time.

• What is Greensomes and how is it played?

• Why do golfers shout fore?

In tournament golf, the format is used to get a large field round the course quickly.

The final round of the 1994 Czech Masters, the final two rounds of the 2015 Portugal Masters and the final round of the 2018 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship all deployed the start to beat the weather.

All players play the full 18 holes, but they rotate around the course from where they started. So, if a player tees off on 16, they will finish their round on the 15th green.

Since its inception, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League has used a Shotgun Start, as it aims to provide: “Action everywhere from the very first moment.”

A reverse Shotgun Start

This variant of the format is used when the tournament has fewer than eighteen groups.

A reverse Shotgun Start aims to clear the first hole as quickly as possible, so the course can allow non-tournament golfers to play.

For example, if 11 groups make up the tournament, a regular Shotgun Start would have holes one to 11 filled.

However, a reverse Shotgun Start would see groups tee off on holes eight to 18, as that means the longest it would take is 12 holes to clear the first tee box.

Double Shotgun Start

A double Shotgun Start is used when there are too many golfers in the field to accommodate a regular Shotgun Start.

The competition is split into two, with a morning round and an afternoon round. One lot of players will tee off in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses