The British have enjoyed the hobby of sporting clays for a very long time with evidence of the pastime dating back to the early 1900s. The sport began gaining momentum in the US in the 1980s and has won the hearts of millions of participants. Some 13 million Americans report participating in the sport and sporting clays and South Florida is one of the most popular destinations to enjoy it.
Shooting sporting clays is a lot like golf, in fact, at most courses you even drive a golf cart to get from one station to the next. Rather than using a club to knock a small all into an even smaller hole, you’ll use a big shotgun to take flying discs out of the air. Some stations will throw one clay at a time, and others will throw them simultaneously. The goal is to hit both targets and shatter them to pieces. For each target hit, a shooter gets one point.
The simple answer is absolutely not. Although it helps to have familiarity with guns, it’s not a requirement. Any new shooter can find their way to a sporting clays facility and have as much fun as the next shooter. Most facilities have a few practice targets where you can get the feel for the gun and the flying clays before advancing along the course.
Most shooting ranges also rent guns which means that you can show up empty handed and still have a fun day of shooting ahead. Most sporting clay shooters use either a 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun. There are over-under types which require you to crack open the gun to remote the spent bullets. There are pump action guns that require you to jerk a piece of the barrel forward and back to expel the bullets, and there are automatic options that do all of the above for you. Aside from the gun, all you’ll need is shells which can also be purchased at the facility, and ear protection.
As previously mentioned, each shooter gets one point for each target they successfully hit. Stations might throw two to four pairs of clays for each shooter. If you shoot at 15 stations, a perfect score would be the number of targets at each course times the number of stations. Score cards are typically distributed to shooters to keep score just like you do for golf.