New launchers were designed by emulating the children's arm throwing the clays by "flicking" the wrist. That principal is still used today on all clay target throwers.
Going back to the "social ladder climbers" .... With the development of the new targets and launchers, more shooters were training in preparation of being invited to shoot on the estates, but they became engrossed with the fun of having targets continually available, and the practice soon became a sport in its own right.
The IBSA (Inanimate Bird Shooting Association) was formed to be the ruling body on this new sport and the first Championship was held at Wimbledon Park, London in 1893.
From this time the sport progressed very rapidly until the start of the First World War. It ceased during 1914 - 1918 but restarted in 1919 and took off in "leaps and bounds".
There were now two types of shooter; the target shooters, and the gentry who used the sport purely for tuning up their hunting skills. Both King George V and his son (The Prince of Wales) were so enthused about target shooting that they had a launcher mounted on the stern of the battleship they used when visiting overseas... (So that's where that idea came from).
The sport developed further and the idea of simulating hunting conditions, by hiding or camouflaging the launchers and throwing targets to suit the topography of the land, evolved. Hence, Sporting Clays was born and the first International Sporting Clay tournament was a match between England and Scotland at Carlisle, Scotland in 1925 (Scotland won).
Today, Sporting Clays is the fasted growing shotgun discipline. Thousands of courses cover the world varying from a "mom-and-pop" backyard operation using half a dozen launchers to the multi million dollar "super-courses" spread over hundreds of acres using 100 to 200 fully automatic clay target launchers, where shooters move from station to station riding golf-carts, traveling tarmac roads similar to top golf resorts.
I am pleased and proud that I was a major contributor to the development of the "Super Sporting Clays Courses" being built today. The first US Super Course was designed by me at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, named after my company The Shooting Academy at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, PA, USA.
Having set the standard, others soon followed, many designers visited The Shooting Academy at Nemacolin to study, photograph and take my ideas to revamp old courses and develop new courses to resort level. I still lead the world with my latest design in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Abu Dhabi International Shooting Club (ADISC) at Al Forsan Resort is the world's most elaborate and expensive shooting complex in the world. <Click on any of the photos below for larger images>