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Rules School - Clarification of Mandatory Rules


By: PDGA Rules Committee

The rules governing the play of mandatories can be confusing. Adding to the problem, some of the wording in rule 804.02 as written in 2013 is poor, and can lead to inconsistent or incorrect interpretations. Those issues have been corrected in the online version, but they remain in printed copies of the 2013 rulebook. The two rules that have been corrected are 804.02.B and 804.02.E.

Note: In the diagrams below, red is the incorrect side and green is the correct side.

Printed version

804.02.B. A throw has missed the mandatory if it passes the incorrect side of the mandatory from the direction of the tee, and establishes a position completely beyond the mandatory line.

804.02.E. If, after a mandatory has been passed, a subsequent throw crosses the mandatory line on the correct side but in the reverse direction, the mandatory has no longer been passed. The player must still pass the mandatory on the correct side. A line connecting the lies for the hole must pass to the correct sides of all mandatories for the hole.

Online (corrected) version

804.02.B. A throw has missed the mandatory if it passes the incorrect side of the mandatory from the direction of the previous lie, and establishes a position completely beyond the part of the mandatory line that is on the incorrect side.

804.02.E. If, after a throw has crossed a mandatory line, that throw or a subsequent throw crosses the line on the same side but in the reverse direction, the line has no longer been crossed.

There are several problems with the 2013 version of those rules:

  • Rule E was intended to address a disc coming back across the line, but it only does that for a subsequent throw. It's much more common for a single throw to cross and un-cross the line, rather than for a subsequent throw to do it.
  • Rule E also attempts to give a simple visual explanation by describing a line that connects the lies. That is obviously wrong - the line must follow the connected paths of each throw on the hole. If it connects the lies, then a large percentage of throws around mandatories will fail that test because the throw curves around the mandatory in a way that causes a line connecting the lies to pass to the wrong side. That bit of explanation is not necessary so it has been removed.

The easiest way to explain which throws have made or missed a mandatory is to show them in a diagram. Any scenario that happens on a course should be addressed in the drawings below. They reveal that the different colored parts of the mando line should be considered separately, so that a throw that crosses one colored line is not affected by crossing a differently colored line.

Single Mandatory: Missed

Single Mandatory: Passed

Single Mandatory: Neither Missed nor Passed

Double Mandatory: Missed

Double Mandatory: Passed

Double Mandatory: Neither Missed nor Passed

Special Case: The Full Wrap-around

It is possible, though unlikely, for a throw or throws to go fully around a mandatory. What then? For example, let's say that in the diagram below, the throw from lie 1 passed the mandatory and came to rest at lie 2. Can the player go back around the mandatory a second time? The answer is YES. One way to think about it is to imagine the path of the disc as a string that you pull taut, and which passes through any mandatory. Once you do that, you get a line that passes on the correct side. Essentially, the player has passed the mandatory twice, and there's no harm in that. Conversely, a throw or throws that passes on the wrong side and wraps all the way around has missed the mandatory (twice, in fact).

Conclusion

We hope that it is now clear how mandatories are to be played. If you have any questions, feel free to send them to the Rules Committee.

Comments

Submitted by mchubbuck on

The diagrams in the article a very helpful; although, the example of the special case still leaves me with a question. "For example, let's say that in the diagram below, the throw from lie 1 passed the mandatory and came to rest at lie 2. Can the player go back around the mandatory a second time? The answer is YES". This is where my question arises; from lie 2 does the player have the option to throw around either side of the mandatory as their first throw already passed the mandatory?

Submitted by cdamon on

Yes. The player can throw around either side from Lie 2. If they throw around the left side, they have done what's shown by the leftmost path in the diagram labeled "Single Mandatory: Passed".

Submitted by mchubbuck on

Hey, thanks for the reply. That's how I understand the rule, but I think the Special Case example comes across a little ambiguously; specifically the section:

"Can the player go back around the mandatory a second time? The answer is YES. One way to think about it is to imagine the path of the disc as a string that you pull taut, and which passes through any mandatory. Once you do that, you get a line that passes on the correct side. Essentially, the player has passed the mandatory twice, and there's no harm in that."

I could see someone interpreting the diagram and description to mean it's necessary to pass the mandatory on the correct side from lie 2 even though the first throw properly passed the mandatory. The second half of the explanation should be revised to read something along the lines of:

"Should the player go back around the mandatory a second time? The answer is, it doesn't matter as the player cleared the mandatory with the first throw..."

to be 100% clear - if we have an OB on one side of the Mando and we make a throw which first goes to OB and then also passes Mando to the wrong side - we don't go to OB but to drop zone?

hi. strange - we played it like that before - apparently wrong. could there be some clarifications with OB involved?
isn't that when the disc is flying in OB and doesn't stop in OB but crosses Mando line and only then stops still considered OB not Mando?

Submitted by cdamon on

If it crossed into OB (for the last time) before it missed the mando (crossed the mando line on the wrong side), play it as OB.

What happens in tournament specific situations? For example a tournament I recently played had a double mando 40 feet in front of the tee box. The rules sheet said "if player does not cross mando from the tee box, player must re-tee". A player in my group came up short but did not necessarily miss the mando. My position was that he should Re-tee throwing 3 but the group decision was that he did not miss the mando and the TD "did not expect anyone to come up short" and that there should not be a rule that depends on how FAR you can throw (there was no drop zone so if you were unable to throw 40 feet you could be there forever). They let the player throw his second shot through the mando and continue play. How should this be handled? Was this just a bad rule?

Submitted by cdamon on

I feel it was handled correctly. To make a tournament rule where you have to pass the mando on your drive would require an exemption from the Tour Manager. My guess is that it was an oversight on the TD's part.

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