If you've ever played in a golf tournament, chances are you've experienced a shotgun start. But what exactly is a shotgun start?
For the uninitiated, a shotgun start in golf can be a bit intimidating. After all, what other sport involves firing a weapon to signal the start of play? But don't let the name fool you; there's nothing dangerous about a shotgun start.
In this blog post, we'll take a look at the origins of the shotgun start and how it's used in golf tournaments today.
What is a Shotgun Start?
A shotgun start is a format used in tournament golf where all foursomes tee off at the same time but from different holes. This means that a total of 72 players can tee off at the same designated start time. Let's explore what this looks like.
The Save the Children Charity golf tournament is set for a shotgun start at 8 AM. All 72 golfers gather together outside the clubhouse where the tournament organizer and/or starter lay down the rules. Each foursome is assigned to one of 18 holes.
At around 7:45 AM or a few minutes earlier, the foursomes are instructed to get in their golf carts and make their way to their respective tee boxes. By 7:55 all 72 golfers are on the course with a foursome at each hole. At 8 AM the siren goes off signaling the start of the round and the golfers tee off. Play begins and each foursome will play 18 holes finishing at the hole they started on.
Benefits of the Shotgun Start
There are several benefits to using a shotgun start in a golf tournament. First, it allows for a large number of players to tee off simultaneously, which saves time. Second, it ensures that all players will finish their rounds at approximately the same time. This is important for tournaments hosting a post-game lunch or dinner with an awards celebration as everyone will be together. Third, it minimizes disruptions and log jams on the course caused by players teeing off at different times.
In addition, it's very efficient for the golf course as well as the tournament sponsor or organizer.
The Origins of the Shotgun Start
According to Golf Digest, the first known tournament to host a shotgun start was in the state of Washington. The year was 1956. The golf course was Walla Walla Country Club. The head Pro fired a shotgun to signal the start of play. And the shotgun start began...
You probably won't hear a shotgun at today's tournaments - a siren will most likely be the sound of choice.
Drawbacks of the Shotgun Start
There are also some minor drawbacks to using a shotgun start. First, it can be chaotic and confusing for first-time participants. Second, it requires precise timing and coordination by all involved parties. If one group tees off too early or too late, it can throw off the entire schedule. Third, bad weather can cause delays and disruptions.
LIV Golf and Shotgun Starts
In an effort to disrupt the world of golf and bring more excitement to Professional golf, LIV Golf is using shotgun starts for their Invitational Series of Golf Tournaments. This is a rarity in Professional Golf. We can think of a couple of times the European Tour has used a shotgun start in an attempt to complete a tournament before the weather wipes it out..
So there you have it. The shotgun start is a popular format for golf tournaments because of its efficiency. It saves time and minimizes disruptions on the course. What do you think? Do you prefer shotgun starts or traditional tee times?
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