Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting. Described as "golf with a shotgun", the sport differs from trap and skeet shooting in that:
1.It is more difficult than trap or skeet.
2.It involves shooting clay targets while positioned at multiple locations (called stations).
3.Unlike trap and skeet, which are games of repeatable target presentations, sporting clays targets are thrown in a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations and distances.
The original idea behind sporting clays was to create an experience that more closely reflects actual hunting conditions. Whereas top-tier trap and skeet professionals may have hit ratings nearing 100%, the best sporting clay shooters hit their targets only about 93% to 95% of the time.
A typical course will consist of 10–15 stations, each station having a pair of clay-throwing machines also called traps. Varying numbers of clay pairs are shot at each station, with the total shots for an outing adding up to 50 or 100 (two or four boxes of shells, respectively). There are a few types of target presentations; simultaneous pairs (called true pairs), report pairs (the second clay launched on the report of the shooter's gun, hence the name report pair), and following pairs which are less common today. Targets are thrown at different angles and speeds; sometimes across the shooter's view (crossers), towards the shooter (in-comers), away from the shooter (out-goers), or straight up in the air (often called "teals"). The shots are intended to simulate hunting for quail, grouse, pheasant, pigeon, or other game. Many courses have traps which throw targets from tall towers simulating high-flying ducks or geese. Some courses have targets that roll and bounce along the ground to simulate rabbits. There are also targets, called 'battues', that loop in the air making a challenging target.
The speed at which a trap throws a clay can also be controlled by the course setter, and many of the traps are made to be relocatable on the course. Therefore, the configuration of a sporting clays course (trap location, clay trajectory, and speed of the clay) can easily be changed, allowing various levels of difficulty and a multitude of layouts.