Official Rules of Disc Golf

Revised January 1st, 2018

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800 Description of the Game

The object of the game of disc golf is to complete a course in the fewest throws of the disc. A course typically consists of nine or eighteen holes, each of which is a separate unit for scoring.

Play on each hole begins at the tee and ends at the target. After the player has thrown from the tee, each successive throw is made from where the previous throw came to rest. On completing a hole, the player proceeds to the teeing area of the next hole, until all holes have been played.

Disc golf courses are normally laid out in and around wooded areas with diverse terrain to provide natural obstacles to the flight of the disc. The course must not be altered by the player in any way to decrease the difficulty of a hole. Players must play the course as they find it and play the disc where it lies unless otherwise allowed by these rules.

801 Application of the Rules

801.01 Fairness

  1. These rules have been designed to promote fair play for all disc golfers. In using these rules, the player should apply the rule that most directly addresses the situation at hand. If any point in dispute is not covered by the rules, the decision is made in accordance with fairness. Often a logical extension of the closest existing rule or the principles embodied in these rules will provide guidance for determining fairness.

801.02 Enforcement

  1. Players are assigned to play holes together in a group for the purpose of verifying scores and ensuring play in accordance with the rules. Any determination made by the group as a whole is to be made by a majority of the group.
  2. Players are expected to call a violation when one has clearly occurred. A call must be made promptly to be enforceable (except for misplays).
  3. A player in the group may call or confirm a rules violation on any player in the group by notifying all players in the group.
  4. A warning is the initial advisement a player is given for violating certain rules; subsequent violations of the rule incur penalty throws. A call for a rules violation that results in a warning does not need to be confirmed to be enforced. Warnings do not carry over from one round to the next, nor to a playoff.
  5. A call made by a player for a rules violation that results in one or more penalty throws can only be enforced if the call is confirmed by another player in the group or by a Tournament Official. A penalty throw is a throw added to a player's score for violating a rule, or for relocation of the lie as called for by a rule.
  6. A Tournament Official, or Official, is a person who is authorized by the Director to make judgments regarding the proper application of the rules during play. An Official may call or confirm a rule violation by any player. An Official's call does not need to be confirmed to be enforced. An Official who is playing may not act as an Official for players who are in their division.
  7. The Director is the person in charge of the tournament or event. The Director may be a Tournament Director (TD), a Course Director, or a League Director. Only the Director may disqualify a player. Decisions made by the Director are final.
  8. A throw or an action that is subject to penalty under more than one rule is played under the rule that results in the most penalty throws; or, among rules that call for an equal number of penalty throws, the rule that was first violated.

801.03 Appeals

  1. When a group cannot reach a majority decision regarding a ruling, the ruling is based on the interpretation that is most beneficial to the thrower.
  2. A player may appeal a group decision to an Official, or an Official's decision to the Director, by clearly and promptly stating that desire to the group. If an Official or the Director is readily available, the group may stand aside and allow other groups to play through while the appeal is being heard.
  3. If an Official or Director is not readily available, the thrower may make a set of provisional throws for each additional possible outcome of the ruling, and later appeal the ruling to an Official or to the Director when practical.
  4. If a ruling is overturned, an Official or the Director may adjust the player's score to reflect the correct interpretation of the rules. Alternatively, the Director may have the player replay one or more holes. Rulings by the Director are final.

802 Throwing

802.01 Throw

  1. A throw is the propulsion and release of a disc in order to change its position. Each throw that is made as a competitive attempt to change the lie is counted.

802.02 Order of Play

  1. Throwing order on the tee of the first hole is the order in which the players are listed on the scorecard(s).
  2. Throwing order on all subsequent tees is determined by the scores on the previous hole, so that the player with the lowest score throws first, and so on. Ties do not change the throwing order.
  3. After all players have a lie other than the teeing area, the player whose lie is farthest from the target (the away player) is next in the throwing order.
  4. If a player is making another throw from the same lie, or a re-throw, that player remains next in the throwing order. A re-throw is an additional throw from the same lie which is played instead of the original throw.
  5. To facilitate flow of play, a player who is not next may throw if the player who is next consents, or if throwing will not impact the player who is next.
  6. Throwing out of order is a courtesy violation.
  7. During tournament play, no group may play through the group ahead unless directed by an Official, or if the group ahead is standing aside in accordance with the rules.

802.03 Excessive Time

  1. A player has taken excessive time if they are present and have not thrown within 30 seconds after:
    1. The previous player has thrown; and,
    2. They have had a reasonable amount of time to arrive at and determine the lie; and,
    3. They are next in the throwing order; and,
    4. The playing area is clear and free of distractions.
  2. A player who takes excessive time receives a warning for the first violation. A player who takes excessive time after having been warned for it during the round receives one penalty throw. See 811.F.5 for a player who is absent when it is their turn to throw.

802.04 Teeing Off

  1. Play begins on each hole with the player throwing from within the hole's teeing area. A teeing area, or tee, is the area bounded by the edges of a tee pad, if provided. Otherwise, it is the area extending three meters perpendicularly behind the designated tee line. The tee line is the line at the front of the teeing area, or the line between the outside edges of two tee markers.
  2. When the disc is released, the player must have at least one supporting point within the teeing area, and all supporting points must be within the teeing area. A supporting point is any part of the player's body that is, at the time of release, in contact with the playing surface or any other object that provides support. The player is allowed to have a supporting point outside the teeing area before or after, but not at, the moment the disc is released.
  3. A player who violates 802.04.B has committed a stance violation and receives one penalty throw.

802.05 Lie

  1. The lie is the place on the playing surface upon which the player takes a stance in order to throw. The playing surface is a surface, generally the ground, which is capable of supporting the player and from which a stance can reasonably be taken. A playing surface may exist above or below another playing surface. If it is unclear whether a surface is a playing surface, the decision is made by the Director or by an Official.
  2. The lie for the first throw on a hole is the teeing area.
  3. A drop zone is a lie. A drop zone is an area on the course, as designated by the Director, from which a throw is made under certain conditions. A drop zone is marked and played in a manner similar to the marking and playing of a teeing area may either be marked and played in the same manner as a teeing area, or in the same manner as a marked lie. A teeing area may be used as a drop zone.
  4. In all other cases, the lie is a rectangle that is 20cm wide and 30cm deep, centered on the line of play behind the rear edge of the marker disc. The line of play is the imaginary line on the playing surface extending from the center of the target through and beyond the center of the marker disc. The marker disc, or marker, is the disc used to mark the lie according to 802.06.

802.06 Marking the Lie

  1. The position of a thrown disc on the in-bounds playing surface marks the lie.
  2. Alternatively, the player may mark the lie by placing a mini marker disc on the playing surface, touching the front of the thrown disc on the line of play. A mini marker disc is a small disc, not used in play, that complies with PDGA Technical Standards for mini marker discs.
  3. When the thrown disc is not on the in-bounds playing surface, or when the lie is to be moved by rule, the player marks the lie by placing a mini marker disc in accordance with the applicable rule.
  4. Marking the lie in a manner other than described above is a marking violation. A player receives a warning for the first marking violation. A player receives one penalty throw for each subsequent violation of any marking rule during the round.

802.07 Stance

  1. If the lie has been marked by a marker disc, then when the disc is released, the player must:
    1. Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie; and,
    2. Have no supporting point closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc; and,
    3. Have all supporting points in-bounds.
  2. A drop zone is played as a teeing area. See 802.04.B.
  3. A player who violates 802.07.A or 802.07.B has committed a stance violation and receives one penalty throw.

803 Obstacles and Relief

803.01 Moving Obstacles

  1. A player must choose the stance that results in the least movement of any obstacle that is a permanent or integral part of the course. Once a stance has been taken, the player may not move an obstacle in order to make room for a throwing motion. It is legal for a player's throwing motion to cause incidental movement of an obstacle.
  2. A player is not allowed to move any obstacle on the course, with the following exceptions:
    1. A player may move casual obstacles that are on or behind the lie partially or completely on the lie or in the stance area, regardless of whether they extend in front of or behind the lie. A casual obstacle is any item or collection of loose debris (such as stones, leaves, twigs, or unconnected branches), or any item as designated by the Director.
    2. A player may request that other people move themselves or their belongings.
    3. A player may restore course equipment to its proper working order, including the removal of obstacles.
  3. A player who moves any obstacle on the course other than as allowed above receives one penalty throw.

803.02 Relief from Obstacles

  1. A player may obtain relief from the following obstacles that are on or behind the lie: motor vehicles, harmful insects or animals, people, or any item or area as designated by the Director. To obtain relief, the player may mark a new lie that is on the line of play, farther from the target, at the nearest point that provides relief.
  2. If a large solid obstacle prevents the player from taking a legal stance behind the marker disc, or from marking a disc above or below the playing surface, the player may mark a new lie immediately behind that obstacle on the line of play.
  3. A player who takes relief other than as allowed above receives one penalty throw.
  4. A player may elect at any time to take optional relief by declaring their intention to the group. The lie may then be relocated by marking a new lie which is farther from the target, and is on the line of play. One penalty throw is added to the player's score.
  5. No penalty throw is added if optional relief is being taken following a penalty taken for a disc out-of-bounds or above two meters.

803.03 Damaging the Course

  1. A player who intentionally damages any part of the course receives two penalty throws. The player may also be disqualified from the tournament, in accordance with Section 3.03 of the Competition Manual.

804 Regulated Routes

804.01 Mandatory Routes and Objects

  1. A mandatory route restricts the path the disc may take to the target. It is defined by one or more mandatory objects. Each mandatory object indicates whether the mandatory route passes to the left, right, below, or above it. The most common mandatories are: a single mandatory, which defines a mandatory route to the right or left; a double mandatory, which defines a mandatory route between two single mandatories; and a height-restricted double mandatory, which adds an upper boundary to a double mandatory.

804.02 Prohibited Routes

  1. Mandatory Lines
    1. A mandatory line is a line on the playing surface marked by the Director to indicate when a disc has missed a mandatory.
    2. If no line has been marked for a single mandatory, it is defined as a straight line extending indefinitely from the center of the mandatory object on the incorrect side, perpendicular to the line connecting the mandatory object to the previous mandatory object, or if there is no previous mandatory, the tee.
    3. If no lines have been marked for a double mandatory, then there are two lines, one for each mandatory object. Each line is defined as described above for single mandatories.
    4. A double mandatory may also be height-restricted, in which case there is a third line connecting the two mandatories, with the incorrect side being either above or below the line.
  2. A throw has missed a mandatory if, from the direction of the tee previous lie, it completely crosses a mandatory line and comes to rest without coming back across the line (a throw or sequence of throws that crosses the line in both directions is considered not to have crossed the line).
  3. A player who makes a throw that misses a mandatory receives one penalty throw. The lie for the next throw is the drop zone for that mandatory or, if no drop zone has been designated, the previous lie.
  4. The nearest mandatory whose mandatory line is crossed by the line between the lie and the target is considered to be the target for all rules related to marking the lie, stance, obstacles, and relief, with one exception: 806.01 Putting Area.

805 Regulated Positions

805.01 Establishing a Position

  1. A thrown disc establishes a position where it first comes to rest.
  2. A thrown disc is considered to be at rest when it first stops moving. A disc in water or foliage is considered to be at rest when it is moving only as a result of movement of the water, the foliage, or the wind.
  3. If a disc first comes to rest above or below the playing surface, its position is on the playing surface directly below or above the disc.
  4. If a thrown disc breaks into pieces, its position is that of the largest piece.

805.02 Disc Above Two Meters

  1. The two-meter rule refers to the rules within 805.02. It is not in effect unless the Director declares it to be in effect. The Director may declare the two-meter rule to be in effect for the entire course, for particular holes, and/or for individual objects.
  2. If the two-meter rule is in effect when a disc has come to rest at least two meters above the in-bounds playing surface (as measured from the lowest point of the disc to the playing surface directly below it), the player receives one penalty throw. The position of the disc is on the playing surface directly below the disc.
  3. A disc supported by the target for the hole being played is not subject to the two-meter rule.
  4. If the thrower moves the disc before a determination has been made, the disc is considered to have come to rest above two meters.

805.03 Lost Disc

  1. A disc is declared lost if the player cannot locate it within three minutes after having arrived at the area where it is thought to be. Any player in the group or an Official may begin the timing of the three minutes, and must inform the group that the timing has begun.
  2. All players in the group must assist in searching for the disc. Failure to do so is a courtesy violation.
  3. A player whose disc has been declared lost receives one penalty throw. The next throw is made from the previous lie. If a drop zone has been designated for lost discs on the hole, the player may throw from the drop zone instead of from the previous lie.
  4. If it is discovered prior to the completion of the tournament that a player's disc that had been declared lost has been removed or taken, then two throws are subtracted from the player's score for that hole.
  5. If a drop zone has been provided for lost discs, the Director may allow players to proceed directly to the drop zone at the cost of two penalty throws.

806 Regulated Areas

806.01 Putting Area

  1. Any throw made from within 10 meters of the target, as measured from the rear of the marker disc to the base of the target, is a putt.
  2. After having released a putt, the player must demonstrate full control of balance behind the marker disc before advancing toward the target. A player who fails to do so has committed a stance violation and receives one penalty throw.

806.02 Out-of-Bounds

  1. An out-of-bounds (OB) area is an area designated by the Director from which a disc may not be played, and within which a stance may not be taken. The out-of-bounds line is part of the out-of-bounds area. Any area of the course that is not out-of-bounds is in-bounds.
  2. A disc is out-of-bounds if its position is clearly and completely surrounded by an out-of-bounds area.
  3. A disc that cannot be found is considered to be out-of-bounds if there is compelling evidence that the disc came to rest within an out-of-bounds area. In the absence of such evidence, the disc is considered lost and play proceeds according to rule 805.03.
  4. A player whose disc is out-of-bounds receives one penalty throw. The player may play the next throw from:
    1. The previous lie; or,
    2. A lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface at any point on a one-meter line that is perpendicular to the out-of-bounds line at the point where the disc was last in-bounds; or,
    3. If a perpendicular lie as described above is not available, a lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface at the point that is nearest to where the disc was last in-bounds, and that is up to one meter away from any out-of-bounds area.

    The above options for an out-of-bounds area may be limited by the Director only with prior approval from the PDGA Tour Manager.

    At the Director's discretion, the player may additionally choose to play the next throw from:

    1. Within the designated drop zone; or,
    2. A lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface at any point on a one-meter line that is perpendicular to the out-of-bounds line at the point that is nearest to the position of the disc.
  5. If the position of the thrown disc is in-bounds and within one meter of an out-of-bounds line, the lie may be relocated to a new lie at any point on a one-meter line that extends perpendicularly from the nearest point on the out-of-bounds line and passes through the center of the thrown disc.
  6. The out-of-bounds line extends a vertical plane. When marking within one meter of the out-of-bounds line, the one-meter relief may be taken from any point up or down on the vertical plane.
  7. If a drop zone has been provided for an out-of-bounds area, the Director may allow players to proceed directly to that drop zone at the cost of two penalty throws.
  8. If the thrower moves the disc before a determination regarding its out-of-bounds status has been made, the disc is considered to be out-of-bounds.

806.03 Casual Area

  1. A casual area is casual water, or any area specifically designated as a casual area by the Director before the round. Casual water is any body of water that is in-bounds, and has not been explicitly declared by the Director to be in play.
  2. To obtain relief from a casual area, the player's lie may be relocated to the nearest lie which is farther from the target and is on the line of play, at the nearest point that provides relief (unless greater casual relief is announced by the Director).

806.04 Relief Area

  1. A relief area is an area designated by the Director from which a disc may not be played, or any in-bounds area that players are prohibited by law from entering. A relief area is played as an out-of-bounds area with the exception that no penalty throw is assessed to a player whose disc comes to rest in a relief area.

806.05 Hazard

  1. A hazard is an area designated by the Director which incurs a penalty throw.
  2. A disc is in a hazard if its position is clearly and completed surrounded by the hazard.
  3. A player whose disc is in a hazard receives one penalty throw. The lie is not relocated.
  4. If the thrower moves the disc before a determination whether it is in a hazard has been made, the disc is considered to be in the hazard.

807 Completing the Hole

  1. A target is a device whose purpose is to clearly determine completion of a hole. A basket target is designed to catch discs and generally consists of a tray, chains, and a chain support mounted on a pole. An object target generally has a marked target area.
  2. In order to complete a hole with a basket target, the thrower must release the disc and it must enter the target above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support, and come to rest supported by the target.
  3. In order to complete a hole with an object target, the thrower must release the disc and it must strike the marked target area of the object.

808 Scoring

  1. The player listed first bears primary responsibility for picking up the group's scorecard(s).
  2. Players in the group keep score proportionally, unless a player or a scorekeeper volunteers to keep score more and that is acceptable to all players in the group.
  3. After each hole has been completed, the scorekeeper records the score for each player in the group in a manner that makes each score clear to every player in the group. Any warnings or penalty throws are to be noted along with the score for the hole.
  4. The score for a player on a hole is the total number of throws, including penalty throws. The total score for the round is the sum of all hole scores, plus any additional penalty throws. The use of anything other than a number as a score (including the lack of a score) is subject to penalty as described below in 808.G.2.
  5. If there is disagreement about the score a player reports, the group reviews the hole and attempts to arrive at the correct score. If the group cannot reach consensus on the player's score, they seek the help of an Official or the Director as soon as is practical. If all players in the group agree that a score is incorrect, the score may be corrected before the scorecard is turned in.
  6. All players are responsible for returning their scorecards within 30 minutes of the completion of a round, which is when the last group on the course has completed their final hole and has had reasonable time to turn in their scorecard. Failure to turn in a scorecard on time results in the addition of two penalty throws to the score of each player listed on the late scorecard.
  7. After the scorecard has been turned in, the total score as recorded is final, except for the following circumstances:
    1. Penalty throws may be added or removed up until the Director declares the tournament over, or all awards have been distributed.
    2. If the total score is incorrect, improperly recorded, or missing, two penalty throws are added to the correct total score. Those penalty throws are not added when the score has been adjusted for other violations determined after the player had turned in an otherwise correct scorecard.

809 Other Throws

809.01 Abandoned Throw

  1. A player may choose to abandon a their most recent throw by declaring their intention to the group. The abandoned throw and one penalty throw are counted in the player's score, and the player plays from the lie from which the abandoned throw was made. Penalty throws incurred by the abandoned throw are disregarded.

809.02 Provisional Throw

  1. A provisional throw is an extra throw that is not added to a player's score if it is not ultimately used in the completion of the hole. The player must inform the group that a throw is provisional prior to making it.
  2. Provisional throws are used:
    1. To save time. A player may declare a provisional throw any time:
      1. The status of a disc cannot be readily determined because it may be lost, out-of-bounds, or have missed a mandatory; and,
      2. The group agrees that a provisional throw may save time.

      The thrower then continues play from whichever of the two throws is deemed by the group or an Official to have resulted in the correct lie.

    2. To appeal a ruling when there are different resulting lies. A set of provisional throws may be taken to complete a hole as part of an appeal when a player in the group disagrees with a group decision and an Official is not readily available, or if a player in the group wishes to appeal the decision of an Official. The scores from both sets of throws are recorded. Once the appeal has been resolved, only the score from the correct set of throws is counted.

809.03 Practice Throw

  1. A practice throw is any throw that is not made as a competitive attempt to change the lie, except for a throw that is made either to set aside an unused disc or to return a disc to a player and that travels less than five meters in the air. A drop is not a practice throw. Practice throws are disregarded.
  2. A player receives one penalty throw for making a practice throw.; the throw itself is disregarded.

810 Interference

  1. If a thrown disc has moved after having come to rest on the in-bounds playing surface, it is replaced to where it first came to rest, as agreed on by the group. A thrown disc that has come to rest elsewhere does not need to be replaced, and its position is based on where it first came to rest, as agreed on by the group.
  2. A marker disc that has moved is replaced to its original location, as agreed on by the group.
  3. A thrown disc that strikes a person or animal is played where it first comes to rest.
  4. A thrown disc whose course was intentionally altered is given a position at the point of contact, as agreed on by the group. The thrower may choose to play from the resulting lie, or to abandon the throw without penalty.
  5. A player who intentionally interferes with a disc in any of the following ways receives two penalty throws:
    1. Altering the course of a thrown disc (other than to prevent injury); or,
    2. Moving or obscuring a thrown disc or marker disc (other than in the process of identification, retrieval, marking, or as allowed by 810.H).
  6. If a player or their equipment interferes with their own throw, the player is assessed one penalty throw. The disc is played where it first comes to rest. See 810.E for intentional interference.
  7. Players must not stand or leave their equipment where interference with a disc in play may occur. A player may require other players to move themselves or their equipment if either could interfere with the throw. Refusal to do so is a courtesy violation.
  8. A disc in play that was thrown by another player and comes to rest on or behind the lie may be moved. After the player has thrown, the other player's disc is replaced to where it came to rest, as agreed on by the group.

811 Misplay

  1. It is the responsibility of the player to play the course correctly. Before play begins, players are expected to attend the players' meeting in order to learn about any special conditions that may exist on the course, including extra holes, alternate teeing areas, alternate hole placements, out-of-bounds areas, mandatories, and drop zones.
  2. A misplay has occurred if the player has failed to complete every hole on the course correctly and in the proper order, or has played from an incorrect lie for any throw.
  3. If a misplay is discovered after the scorecard has been turned in, the player receives two penalty throws.
  4. A misplay is not a stance violation, nor is it a practice throw.
  5. A player who deliberately misplays the course to gain competitive advantage may be disqualified in accordance with Section 3.03 of the Competition Manual.
  6. Types of misplay:
    1. Incorrect Lie. The player has played from a lie that is not the correct lie. For example, the player has:
      1. Teed off from a teeing area that is not the correct teeing area for the current hole; or,
      2. Thrown from a lie other than that established by the thrown disc; or,
      3. Played an out-of-bounds disc as if it were in-bounds; or,
      4. Thrown from a lie established by a previous throw which missed a mandatory; or,
      5. Played a disc in a relief area as if it were not in a relief area.

      If no subsequent throws have been made after the misplayed throw, that throw is disregarded. The player plays from the correct lie and receives one penalty throw for the misplay. If an additional throw has been made after the misplayed throw, the player continues play and receives two penalty throws for the misplay.

    2. Wrong Target. The player has completed play on a target that is not the correct target for the hole being played. If no subsequent throw has been made, play continues from the resulting lie. If the target is a basket target, then the disc is above the playing surface and play proceeds according to 805.01.C. If the player has teed off on the next hole, two penalty throws are added to the score for the misplayed hole.
    3. Failure to Complete a Hole. The player has finished the round or thrown on a hole without having completed a previous hole. The score for the misplayed hole is the number of throws made, plus one for completing the hole, plus two penalty throws for the misplay. Intentionally failing to complete a hole constitutes withdrawal from competition.
    4. Non-Sequential Play. The player has completed play on a hole in the wrong order. The player continues to play the course in its proper order. Regardless of the number of holes played in the wrong order during the round, a total of two penalty throws is added to the player's total score for the misplay. The score for any completed hole stands.
    5. Missed Hole Due to Late Arrival or Absence. If a player is not present to throw when they are next in the throwing order, and remains absent for at least 30 seconds, the player does not make any more throws on the hole. The player's score for the hole is par plus four. Par is the score that an expert disc golfer would be expected to make on a given hole with errorless play under ordinary weather conditions, as determined by the Director. See Section 1.05.B of the Competition Manual for determining late arrival.
    6. Omitted Hole. The round has been completed, and the player has neglected to play one or more holes. The player receives a score of par plus four for each unplayed hole.
    7. Incorrect Hole. The player has completed a hole that is not part of the course for that round, in place of a hole that is part of the course for the round. Two penalty throws are added to the player's score for the hole.
    8. Extra Hole. The player has completed a hole that is not part of the course for that round. Two penalty throws are added to the player's total score. Throws made on the extra hole are not counted.
    9. Wrong Starting Hole or Group. The player has begun play on a hole or in a group other than the one to which they were assigned. The player continues play, and two throws are added to the player's score for the first hole played.

812 Courtesy

  1. A player must not:
    1. Throw if the throw might injure someone or distract another player; or,
    2. Throw out of order without consent or when it would impact another player; or,
    3. Engage in distracting or unsportsmanlike actions such as:
      1. Shouting (unless warning someone at risk of being struck by a disc),
      2. Cursing,
      3. Striking, kicking, or throwing park, course, or player equipment,
      4. Moving or talking while another player is throwing,
      5. Advancing beyond the away player; or,
    4. Leave equipment where it may distract other players or interfere with a thrown disc; or,
    5. Litter, including cigarette butts; or,
    6. Allow their smoke to disturb other players.
  2. A player must:
    1. Perform actions expected by the rules, including:
      1. Helping to find a lost disc; and,
      2. Moving equipment when asked; and,
      3. Keeping score properly.
    2. Watch the other members of the group throw in order to ensure rules compliance and to help find discs.
  3. A player receives a warning for the first violation of any courtesy rule. Each subsequent violation of any courtesy rule by that player in the same round incurs one penalty throw. A courtesy violation may be called or confirmed by any affected player, or by an Official. Repeated courtesy violations may result in disqualification by the Director.

813 Equipment

813.01 Illegal Disc

  1. Discs used in play must meet all of the conditions set forth in the PDGA Technical Standards.
  2. A disc which has been modified after production such that its original flight characteristics have been altered is illegal, excepting wear from usage during play and the moderate sanding of discs to smooth molding imperfections or scrapes. Discs excessively sanded, or painted with a material of detectable thickness, are illegal. Adding a device to make a disc easier to find (for example, a light, ribbon, or chalk dust) is allowed only when night or snow play has been announced by the Director.
  3. A disc which is cracked or has a hole in it is illegal.
  4. A disc that is questioned by another player or an Official is illegal unless it is subsequently approved by the Director.
  5. A player who throws an illegal disc during play receives two penalty throws. A player who repeatedly throws an illegal disc may be subject to disqualification in accordance with Section 3.03 of the PDGA Competition Manual.
  6. All discs used in play, except mini marker discs, must be uniquely marked. A player receives a warning for the first throw of an unmarked disc. A player receives one penalty throw for each subsequent throw of an unmarked disc.

813.02 Illegal Device

  1. A player must not use any device that directly assists in making a throw. Devices that reduce or control abrasion to the skin (such as gloves, tape, bandages, or gauze) and medical items (such as knee or ankle braces) are allowed. Placing an object as a directional aid is not allowed. An item such as a towel or a pad may be placed on the lie as long as it is not greater than one centimeter in thickness when compressed.
  2. A device that is questioned by another player or an Official is illegal unless it is subsequently approved by the Director.
  3. A player receives two penalty throws if observed at any time during a round to be using an illegal device. A player who repeatedly uses an illegal device may be subject to disqualification in accordance with Section 3.03 of the PDGA Competition Manual.

Appendix A: Match Play

A.01 General

  1. In match play, a pair of players competes against each other in an effort to win each hole during the round. The player who wins more holes wins the match.
  2. The PDGA Rules of Play (which describe medal play) are to be used except where superseded by these rules.
  3. A pair of opponents plays in a group with at least one other pair, or an Official.

A.02 Order of Play

  1. The teeing order for pairs of opponents in the same group follows the order on the scorecard.
  2. Within each pair of opponents, the player listed first on the scorecard throws first on the first hole. On all subsequent holes, the player who won the previous hole throws first. Ties do not change the throwing order.

A.03 Penalties

  1. Only a player's opponent may call a violation on or warn a player. Any player in the group or an official may confirm the call.
  2. Penalties and warnings assessed between holes apply to the next hole.

A.04 Scoring

  1. Scoring in match play is recorded in terms of which player has won more holes at any given point. The match starts with the pair tied, or all square. As the match progresses, the player who has won more holes is up that many holes; their opponent is down that many holes.
  2. A player wins a hole by completing the hole in fewer throws than their opponent. The player who won the hole receives a score of 1. The other player receives no score, which can be indicated by a dash. If the two players complete the hole with the same number of throws, the hole is halved, and neither player receives a score.
  3. A player may ask their opponent how many throws they have made on the current hole. A player who falsely reports that number loses the hole.

A.05 Conceding

  1. A player may concede a match at any time before the conclusion of the match. The opponent wins the match.
  2. A player may concede a hole at any time before both players have completed the hole. The opponent wins the hole.
  3. A player may concede their opponent's next throw. The throw is considered to have completed the hole.
  4. A pair of players may agree to halve the hole being played.
  5. A concession may not be declined or withdrawn.

A.06 Winning the Match

  1. When a player is up more holes than there are holes remaining to be played, that player has won the match.
  2. If a pair of players is all square at the end of the round, the match is tied. The Director decides if and how ties are to be broken.

Appendix B: Doubles and Team Play

B.01 General

  1. A doubles team consists of two players. Alternative formats with different team sizes are possible and can be extrapolated from these rules.
  2. The PDGA Rules of Play are to be used except where superseded by these rules.

B.02 Order of Play

  1. The throwing order for the first hole is the order in which the teams are listed on the scorecard(s). Throwing order on all subsequent tees is determined by the scores on the previous hole, so that the team with the lowest score throws first, and so on. Ties do not change the throwing order.
  2. After all teams have a lie other than the teeing area, the team whose lie is farthest from the target is next in the throwing order.
  3. Members of a team who are throwing from the same lie may throw in either order.

B.03 Penalties

  1. Penalties incurred by a throw apply only to the team member who made the throw. All other warnings and penalties are incurred by the team as a whole and are scored against the team regardless of format.
  2. Any throw which cannot possibly improve a team's score is an extra throw. A team whose member has made an extra throw receives a warning for the first violation, and a penalty throw for each subsequent violation by any member of the team.

B.04 Lie

  1. In formats where both team members throw from the same lie, a team member who throws from a lie other than the lie played by the first member to throw receives one penalty throw for misplay.
  2. A lie being played by both team members must be marked using the same marker disc. Failure to do so is a marking violation.
  3. If a lie being played by both team members is relocated for any reason, both members must play from the relocated lie.

B.05 Formats

  1. Best Throw
    1. Both team members throw from the teeing area. The team then chooses which of the two positions to play from for the next throw. Both team members throw from the resulting lie, and the team again chooses which of the two positions to play from, and so on.
    2. A team completes a hole when either team member completes the hole.
    3. The score for a team on a hole is the number of throws for the lies that were played, plus any penalty throws.
    4. If a team picks up a thrown disc before a lie has been chosen or marked with a marker disc, the team may not choose that throw. If a team picks up both thrown discs without a lie having been marked, the second disc to have been picked up is replaced to its original position as agreed upon by the group, and the team must play from the resulting lie.
    5. If one team member is absent, late, or ceases play, the other team member may play, but no throws are made on behalf of the missing team member. A late team member may join play only between holes.
  2. Modified Best Throw
    1. Modified Best Throw is the same as Best Throw, with the following variation: The Director may set a limit on when the team may use each member's tee throw. The team receives two penalty throws each time that limit is exceeded.
  3. Worst Throw
    1. Both team members throw from the teeing area. The team's opponents then choose which of the two positions the team will play from, with the goal of maximizing the team's score on the hole. Both team members throw from the resulting lie, and their opponents again choose which of the resulting positions the team will play from, and so on.
    2. A team completes a hole when all team members complete the hole from the same lie.
    3. The score for a team on a hole is the number of throws for the lies that were played, plus any penalty throws.
    4. If a team picks up or marks a thrown disc before their opponents have chosen a lie, the disc is replaced to its original position as agreed upon by the group. The opponents then choose between the resulting lie of the moved disc, the lie of the other disc, and the previous lie as the lie for the moved disc.
    5. If the opponents choose a clearly favorable lie, they may be disqualified by the Director.
    6. If a team member is absent, late, withdraws, or is disqualified, the team is disqualified.
  4. Tough Throw
    1. Tough Throw is the same as Worst Throw, with the following variation: A team completes the hole when any team member completes the hole.
  5. Alternate Throw
    1. The team chooses which member makes the first throw on the first hole. Each team member then throws from the lie resulting from the previous team member's throw, and so forth.
    2. A team completes a hole when either team member completes the hole.
    3. The score for a team on a hole is the number of throws by that team, plus any penalty throws.
    4. A throw by the incorrect team member is a misplay and incurs one penalty throw. The throw is disregarded, and the correct team member throws. If an additional throw has been made after the incorrect team member has thrown, the team receives two penalty throws, and play continues.
    5. For any re-throw from the same lie, the same player makes the re-throw.
    6. The team receives a score of par plus four for any hole missed by a late or absent team member. If either team member withdraws or is disqualified, the team is disqualified.
  6. Modified Alternate Throw
    1. Modified Alternate Throw is the same as Alternate Throw, with the following variation: The Director may designate which team member makes the first throw on each hole.
  7. Best Score
    1. Each team member plays the hole as an individual player.
    2. A team completes a hole when a team member completes the hole with the lowest potential score for the team.
    3. The score for a team on a hole is the lowest score on the hole by either team member, including any penalty throws incurred by that player, plus any team penalty throws.
  8. Best Score from Alternating Lies Alternate Throw
    1. Each team member throws from the teeing area. Each team member then throws from the lie resulting from the other team member's throw, and so on. ,which starts two sequences of Alternate Throw
    2. A team completes a hole when a team member either sequence of Alternate Throw completes the hole with the lowest potential score for the team.
    3. The score for a team on a hole is the lowest score on the hole by either team member lower of the scores for the two Alternate Throw sequences, including any penalty throws incurred by that player, plus any team penalty throws.

Appendix C: Resources

Appendix D: Conversions

All measurements listed in the rules are given in metric units. The following English System equivalents are to be used when no metric measuring device is available:

Metric System English System
10 meters 32 feet 10 inches
3 meters 9 feet 10 inches
2 meters 6 feet 6 inches
1 meter 3 feet 3 inches
30 centimeters 1 foot
20 centimeters 8 inches
1 centimeter 1/2 inch

Appendix E: Index

Rules Questions and Answers

Application of the Rules

QA-APP-1

Q:

Is there a priority order for which violation should count if more than one rule applies?

A:

Yes. The violation with the most severe penalty is applied. Ties are broken by what happened first. A single throw cannot be penalized for more than one violation.

QA-APP-2

Q:

When multiple violations have occurred on a single throw, how do I determine which rule was first violated, given that a rule has not been violated until the disc has come to rest?

A:

The meaning of “first” in the rule is the common understanding of when the disc first enters a state where it is in violation of a rule. One common pair of rules that can be violated during a single throw are OB and Mandatory. In that case, you would compare when the disc last crossed into OB with when it crossed the mandatory line, and play whichever happened first.

QA-APP-3

Q:

Can I appeal a ruling that was made on another player in my group?

A:

Yes. The affected player may then choose to play provisional throws.

QA-APP-4

Q:

My group thinks my disc is OB, but I think it’s unclear. Doesn’t benefit of the doubt go to the player? I’m safe, right?

A:

Benefit of the doubt only comes into play as a tiebreaker when the group cannot make a decision, for example if two players see the disc as safe and two see it as OB. If a majority of your group thinks it’s OB, then it’s OB.

QA-APP-5

Q:

My group made a ruling that turned out to be wrong. They called me safe when I was actually OB, so I played from an incorrect lie. Do I get penalized?

A:

Maybe. It’s up to the TD. You may be penalized for the OB because that is the correct ruling for that throw. However, you should not be penalized for having played from an incorrect lie (misplay), as you played according to your group’s ruling. If there is doubt about whether a ruling is correct, you should consider playing a provisional.

QA-APP-6

Q:

What rules apply if I’m playing in an unsanctioned tournament or any other non-PDGA round?

A:

If you are playing an event where it is announced that PDGA rules apply, then the PDGA Rules of Disc Golf apply, whether the event is sanctioned by the PDGA or not. The Competition Manual only applies to PDGA events. If no announcement has been made regarding the rules, you can play by whatever rules your group or the event participants agree on, including the PDGA rules.

QA-APP-7

Q:

What if there is no Tournament Director?

A:

All PDGA-sanctioned tournaments have a Tournament Director. For non-sanctioned events or casual play, if anyone has authority over the players, they can take on the responsibilities of the Director. If no one wants to be the Director, then you will have to play without some of the functions of the Director. For example, there may not be any appeals of group rulings. Some Director functions may be available in other ways. For example, the course signage should tell you in what order to play the holes, where any out-of-bounds is, and other things that are normally covered in the players’ meeting or caddy book.

QA-APP-8

Q:

Everyone in my playing group is a certified official. Certain rules require either two players in the group or an official to make the call. Can just one of us make these calls since we’re all officials?

A:

No. To make calls during tournament play, you must have been authorized by the Director as a Tournament Official. Passing the test does not make you a Tournament Official (referred to throughout the rules as an Official). Additionally, Officials have restrictions on making calls depending on whether they are playing or not. An Official (including the TD) who is playing cannot act as the sole Official for calls that affect players in their division. A non-playing Official can be the sole person to make a call where rules indicate an Official may make the call. A spotter can make calls (for example, regarding the position of a disc that has gone out-of-bounds) if they are also an Official. If they are not, their call should be considered as input for a group decision.

QA-APP-9

Q:

When a throw is not used (such as an abandoned throw, an unused provisional throw, a throw that was interfered with, or an unplayed throw in doubles), penalty throws incurred by that throw are ignored. Which penalties are those, exactly?

A:

Penalty throws for: out-of-bounds, hazard, missed mandatory, above two meters, stance, marking, taking improper relief, or lost disc. All other penalties and warnings apply.

QA-APP-10

Q:

Can video or other media be used as evidence to make a rules call?

A:

PDGA policy is that video evidence can only be used to document player misconduct as defined under section 3.03 of the Competition Manual. Evidence of player misconduct may be evaluated at any time by the PDGA Disciplinary Committee. No other use of video or other media is allowed for the purpose of making rulings during tournament play.

Throw

QA-THR-1

Q:

My throwing hand bumped a tree branch during my backswing, knocking the disc to the ground, and the disc rolled forward of my lie. Was that a throw?

A:

No. A throw begins when the disc is moving forward in the intended direction. A disc dropped or knocked out before or during a backswing does not count as a throw.

QA-THR-2

Q:

Are there any restrictions on how you throw the disc? For example, can you throw nothing but overhand shots?

A:

There are no restrictions on how you throw the disc. You may throw backhand, sidearm, overhand, thumber, or any other way that occurs to you. You can throw it with your foot if you want.

Excessive Time

QA-TIM-1

Q:

If the player who is next to throw is absent, can the other players go ahead and throw? Does that give the absent player more time to show up?

A:

No. The player who is next after the absent player can throw after having waited 30 seconds. If the missing player hasn’t shown up by then, they get par plus four for the hole (essentially, that player is late for that hole, similar to being late for their starting hole).

Teeing Off

QA-TEE-1

Q:

How are teeing areas designated?

A:

Directors may use any of several methods to define the teeing areas and drop zones. A single course may use more than one type of tee. When in doubt, ask the Director. Here are some common ways of designating teeing areas:

  • If an artificial tee pad is provided and has no markings, the teeing area is the area which contrasts with its surroundings in color, material, height, and/or texture.
  • Some tee pads are built with a follow-through area in front. The follow-through area may be a different color, or it may be the part in front of a marked tee line. The part of the pad which is behind the follow-through area is the teeing area.
  • If an outline is marked (whether a complete or partial line, or with four markers), the teeing area is the area within the outline. If markers are used, the teeing area is defined by the outside edges of the markers.
  • If no artificial tee pad is provided, the teeing area extends three meters perpendicularly behind the designated tee line. If a line marks the tee line, the teeing area includes the marked line. If two tee markers mark the tee line, the teeing area extends forward and outward to the outer edges of the tee markers.
  • If there is only a tee sign, or one tee marker, the tee is to one side of and behind the sign or marker.

QA-TEE-2

Q:

I threw my drive off a raised concrete tee pad. When I let go, the front of my foot was hanging off the front edge of the pad. Was that a stance violation?

A:

No. The rule states that all supporting points must be within the teeing area at the time of release. “Supporting point” refers to any point on the player that is in contact with the playing surface (in this case the tee pad), rather than to a complete body part such as a foot. The part of the foot that is hanging off the end is not a supporting point because it is not in contact with the playing surface, so no violation has occurred.

Lie

QA-LIE-1

Q:

My throw landed on a bridge that spans an OB creek. Do I play from the bridge, or is my disc OB since it’s above the creek? What if I’m on the bridge but over land?

A:

A bridge is an example where one playing surface is vertically stacked above another playing surface. Each playing surface is treated independently. The bridge is in-bounds unless the TD has declared it to be OB, regardless of whether a playing surface above or below it is OB. If the two-meter rule is in use, it does not apply because your disc is on, not above, the playing surface. You mark your lie on the bridge, and there is no penalty.

Marking the Lie

QA-MAR-1

Q:

An inexperienced player in my group flipped his disc to mark it and threw from there. What’s the call?

A:

That is a marking violation since an improper method was used to mark the lie. A player’s first marking violation results in a warning.

QA-MAR-2

Q:

May I mark my lie with a mini, then decide to place the original disc back in position and pick up the mini?

A:

No. Once you’ve picked up the thrown disc you cannot use it as a marker.

QA-MAR-3

Q:

My disc is stuck in a tree, directly above the trunk. How do I mark it?

A:

If there is room to mark your disc directly below it, that is what you do. If not, you mark at the first available spot back along the line of play.

Stance

QA-STA-1

Q:

A supporting point is defined as “any part of the player’s body” that touches the playing surface. However, there’s almost always a layer of clothing such as a shoe between the player’s body and the playing surface. Does that count?

A:

Yes. The phrase “part of the player’s body” should be interpreted to include not only clothing but also mobility devices such as canes or crutches (as long as they are providing support).

QA-STA-2

Q:

Can I hold onto a branch or other object behind my lie while putting?

A:

Holding on to something behind your lie for support is not prohibited by the rules, provided that the object is in-bounds. It also must not be moved, since you are required to take the stance that results in the least possible movement of obstacles on the course. You are not allowed to hold onto another person for support, as that person is not part of the course.

QA-STA-3

Q:

Our course has two horizontal rainwater run-off culverts that exit from the side of a hill into the fairway. They are about two feet in diameter with metal grills over their exits that have gaps big enough for discs to enter but not a player. If a disc enters a culvert, can the player simply mark on the hillside directly above their disc’s location in the culvert with no penalty since the disc is below the playing surface?

A:

Yes. Inside the culvert is not a playing surface, but the hillside above it is. If the TD has not provided guidance on how to handle discs entering these culverts, then players can mark on the hillside directly above their disc with no penalty.

QA-STA-4

Q:

I have an uphill lie for a short putt. Can I place my back foot on the lie and my front foot on the ground ahead of the lie, then lift my front foot just before releasing? After throwing the disc my momentum takes me behind the lie. I call this a “fade-away” putt.

A:

Yes, that is allowed. Your stance was legal when you released the disc, and you did not go past your lie (closer to the hole) after releasing.

Obstacles and Relief

QA-OBS-1

Q:

My drive ended up under a picnic table. Can I play from behind it? On top of it?

A:

In general, no. Picnic tables, along with any other park or course equipment, are obstacles on the course. They are to be treated as any other obstacles, for example a bush or a tree. How you play your next throw depends on the picnic table. If there is room for you to take a stance under it, even by sticking your leg underneath, that’s what you do. If your disc is on top of the picnic table and there is room underneath, it is a lie above ground and you mark directly below it and play from there. If the disc is on top and there’s no room underneath (for example, a solid picnic table), you play from on top if that is reasonable. Otherwise, the table is treated as a solid obstacle and you mark behind it on the line of play.

QA-OBS-2

Q:

A large broken branch (a foot in diameter and eight feet long) is in my stance. Am I allowed to move it?

A:

Yes, if you are able. There is no limit on the size of a casual obstacle as long as it meets the definition. You can move it as long as that’s practicable and you throw within the 30 seconds allowed by the Excessive Time rule.

QA-OBS-3

Q:

My disc came to rest under a long fallen tree branch. The branch is clearly detached from the tree, and extends from behind my disc to in front of it. Can I move the branch?

A:

Yes. If part of the branch is in your stance or run-up behind your marker, you’re allowed to move it, even if another part is between your lie and the hole.

QA-OBS-4

Q:

A loose, broken branch is hanging down just behind my marker, making it difficult for me to take a stance. It is not touching the ground. Am I allowed to move it? Do I get casual relief?

A:

No. Since it is not on or behind your lie (your lie is on the playing surface), it has the same status as a healthy, connected branch. You will have to play around it.

QA-OBS-5

Q:

Can I get relief from irritating plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or nettles?

A:

No, unless the Director has declared casual relief for them. Those plants affect players differently, and very rarely pose a serious health risk. If your disc goes into some plants and you don’t want to play from there, you can take optional relief, or abandon the throw, at the cost of a penalty throw.

QA-OBS-6

Q:

How do I mark my lie when my disc lands in an area of the course that has sensitive, protected, endangered, or valuable foliage?

A:

The Director may declare an area to be OB or a Relief Area, in which case you mark your lie according to the relevant rule. If no special handling of the area has been announced by the Director, and you are prohibited from entering it, then it is a Relief Area, and you play according to the applicable rule. Note that you can take optional relief, or abandon the throw, at the cost of a penalty throw.

QA-OBS-7

Q:

What can I do about an unplayable, unsafe, or poorly marked tee?

A:

If the problem with the tee is a casual obstacle that cannot be easily removed (such as standing water), you can take casual relief behind the tee. No relief is provided for other adverse tee conditions, though you can place a towel down to provide traction if the tee is slippery. If the tee is poorly marked, locate an Official or a local player in another group if possible to help identify the tee area boundaries.

QA-OBS-8

Q:

There’s a huge spider web right in front of me where I want to throw. Can I knock it down?

A:

Only if at least some of it is on the ground on or behind your lie, in which case it is debris and can be removed as a casual obstacle. If it’s only in your flight path or it doesn’t touch the ground, it cannot be moved.

QA-OBS-9

Q:

A player taking relief from obstacles or from a Casual Area can move back along the line of play to the first available lie. What is the “greater relief” that the Director can announce?

A:

Greater relief could be a drop zone, a re-throw, or the ability to move the lie. Relief (moving the lie without penalty) is granted for situations that are out of the ordinary, so the Director has a lot of leeway to deal with exceptional situations.

Regulated Routes

QA-MAN-1

Q:

My throw went past the mandatory on the incorrect side, then rolled back around the other side and ended up short of the mando. Have I still missed it?

A:

Yes. The mandatory line only extends to the incorrect side of the mando. There is no line on the correct side of the mando, so coming back around on that side does not change the status of the throw. You have crossed the line and have not come back across it, so you have missed the mando. Note: If your disc crossed that line and then came back across the line, you have not missed the mando. One way to think about mandos is to imagine the path of the disc as a string. Pull that string taut, then see which side of the mando it passes to.






QA-MAN-2

Q:

I missed the mandatory, and no drop zone has been marked. Where is my lie?

A:

You go back to your previous lie.

QA-MAN-3

Q:

A mandatory was marked on the trunk of a tree, with the arrow pointing left. The trunk splits into two main trunks. My disc passed between the two upper trunks. Did I miss the mandatory?

A:

It’s not an easy call, because the mandatory is poorly defined. Your group will first need to decide what the mandatory object is, i.e. whether one of the two upper trunks is a continuation of the lower one. Once that has been determined, your group will have to decide on which side of that object your disc passed.

Establishing a Position

QA-POS-1

Q:

How do I mark a disc in an inaccessible location below the playing surface like a crevice? Is there a penalty?

A:

The rules that apply to a disc above the playing surface also apply to a disc below the playing surface. If you can locate your disc in the crevice and no reasonable stance can be taken there, you can mark your lie directly above it on the playing surface without penalty. If the point directly above the disc is in the air or within a solid object, mark your lie at the first available spot back along the line of play.

Disc Above Two Meters

QA-2M-1

Q:

Is the two-meter rule still in effect?

A:

By default, the two-meter rule is not in effect. The TD may choose to put it into play for as much of the tournament as they choose, including for particular obstacles. If that happens, it will be covered in the players’ meeting and/or the caddy book.

QA-2M-2

Q:

A disc supported by the target is not subject to the two-meter rule. What about a disc supported by other course equipment such as a tee or course sign?

A:

That is still subject to the two-meter rule, as it is not a target. The only exception is the target for the hole being played, so if you somehow manage to get your disc stuck above two meters on a target for another hole, it is subject to the two-meter rule.

QA-2M-3

Q:

An Official ruled that my disc was more than two meters above the playing surface before I got there to take a look at it. Another player shook my disc down before I could mark the lie. The two-meter rule was in effect. What’s the ruling?

A:

Since an Official has ruled, the two-meter penalty is applied, and the lie is placed directly below where your disc had stuck, as can best be determined by the Official and your group.

Lost Disc

QA-LOS-1

Q:

My throw was headed toward an OB lake when it went out of sight, and we never found it. Do I play it as lost, or as OB?

A:

If your group agrees that there is compelling evidence that the disc went into the OB lake, then you assume that that is what happened, and play it as OB. If there is uncertainty about whether it went in the lake, then you play it as lost.

QA-LOS-2

Q:

My disc was declared lost after a fruitless three-minute search. As I began to head back to my previous lie, we found the disc. Now what do I do?

A:

It remains a lost disc, and you continue back to your previous lie.

Putting Area

QA-PUT-1

Q:

If I’m straddle putting, does my other foot have to be on a line perpendicular to my lie?

A:

No. Your other foot can be as close to the target as the back of your marker. So, your other foot does not have to be directly to the side of the foot behind the marker. In fact, the foot behind your marker can be as much as 30cm back (the length of the lie) and/or 10cm to the side (half of the lie’s 20cm width), which means that your other foot can actually be closer to the target. It just can’t be closer than the back of your marker. Also remember that the shape that marks the same distance to the target as the back of your marker is a circle whose center is the target.

Out-of-Bounds

QA-OB-1

Q:

My favorite driver went OB. Can I retrieve it for my next shot?

A:

Yes, as long as you make your next throw within the 30 seconds allowed by the Excessive Time rule.

QA-OB-2

Q:

My drive went into an OB pond which is surrounded by tall reeds. One meter from where the disc was last in-bounds puts me in the middle of the reeds. Can I just go back to the tee?

A:

Yes. Going back to the previous lie is one of the OB options. Alternatively, you could declare an abandoned throw with the same result. You can also take optional relief back along the line of play (without it costing you an additional penalty throw) because you would be taking optional relief following a penalty for out-of-bounds. That is probably your best option.

QA-OB-3

Q:

My disc hit a flexible fence from the OB side. Was the disc briefly over in-bounds when the fence flexed, or perhaps by having slightly penetrated a hole in the fence?

A:

No. The fence defines an OB plane which flexes as the fence flexes. Unless the disc has penetrated and remained lodged within the fence, the fence is considered to be a continuous impenetrable surface. Your disc was not in-bounds at any point when it struck the fence.

QA-OB-4

Q:

My disc went OB. Can I use the optional relief rule to mark my lie back along the line of play, instead of one meter from OB?

A:

Yes. Optional relief is available for free (without adding a penalty throw) after a throw that results in a penalty throw and that requires placement of a lie (such as OB or above two meters).

QA-OB-5

Q:

My throw landed next to an OB creek. It’s hard to tell whether the disc is in the creek or not since the edge of the creek comes up into some mud and grass. Another player went up to my disc and pushed it down to see if there’s water underneath. Is my disc now automatically in-bounds because another player touched it?

A:

No. Note that the interference and position rules are written in terms of a disc being moved rather than merely touched. The other player did not change the location of your disc. In fact, a disc must sometimes be manipulated in order to determine its status or whose it is. If you move your possibly OB disc, it is automatically OB. But there is no corresponding rule that makes it in-bounds if someone else moves it. If that happens, you restore your disc to its approximate position as agreed upon by your group.

QA-OB-6

Q:

A player in my group foot-faulted and was called on it (and seconded). His throw went OB. Does he get a warning, a penalty, or two penalties?

A:

A player’s first stance violation results in a penalty throw. In this case, there were multiple violations. Normally, the first violation to occur is the one that counts. In this case, that’s the foot fault (though it doesn’t really matter as it’s one penalty throw either way). There’s no re-throw, so the disc is played as OB. Since a player cannot receive penalty throws for multiple violations on a single throw, there’s just one penalty throw.

QA-OB-7

Q:

The rules say you can mark relative to where the disc “last crossed into OB”. At what point does that happen? For example, a disc may fly above the OB line for a while. Is that point where part of the disc first crossed the line, or when the entire disc crossed the line?

A:

It’s when the entire disc crossed the line. To be super-technical, since the disc is a circle, there will be a single point of last contact with the inner edge of the OB line. That is the point you use for marking.

Casual Area

QA-CAS-1

Q:

My disc landed in a creek that has been declared casual. May I place a rock or a broken limb behind my mark, to stand on in order to keep my feet dry?

A:

If you choose not to take casual relief back along the line of play, then you must take your stance as you would anywhere else on the course. The only time you are allowed to move obstacles is to move casual obstacles out of your lie. If you do not want to play the lie as is, or take casual relief, you can take optional relief, or abandon the throw, at the cost of a penalty throw.

QA-CAS-2

Q:

Does the term “body of water” in the casual relief rule include bodies of ice and snow?

A:

No. “Casual water” as listed in the rules is water as it’s commonly understood, in its liquid form. The rules do not grant casual relief from snow, ice, or even steam should you encounter it. Note that the Director can announce that ice or snow are casual obstacles, in which case they may be moved if they are on or behind your lie.

QA-CAS-3

Q:

My group agrees that my disc landed in a murky body of casual water. We could not find it. Do I play it as lost, or take casual relief?

A:

If your group agrees that there is compelling evidence that the disc is in the puddle, then you assume it is in fact in the puddle, and take casual relief without penalty. Your group will need to agree on an approximate location so that you can take your relief back along the line of play. If your group is not confident that the disc is in the puddle, it is played as a lost disc.

Completing the Hole

QA-COM-1

Q:

If I have a drop-in, do I need to throw the disc in, or can I just place it in the tray and let go?

A:

You can place it in the tray, but you must release it and let it come to rest before retrieving it. A release is a required part of a throw, so merely touching the chains or the tray with your putter is not a throw and does not complete the hole.

QA-COM-2

Q:

I putted and my disc stayed on top of the basket. Now what?

A:

You have not completed the hole (unless your disc somehow entered the target correctly before landing on top). Mark your lie below the disc and continue.

QA-COM-3

Q:

I putted and my disc wound up in a horizontal position on top of the tray’s rim, spanning two nubs. Does it count?

A:

Yes, the disc is supported by the target and some part of the disc entered the target by going above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support. One way to think of entering the target correctly is to picture a cylindrical plane going from the top of the tray to the bottom of the chain support. If the disc breaks that plane, it has entered the target correctly. In this case, the part of the disc that is still hovering over the tray has done that.

A few scenarios for how discs could end up supported by the basket are pictured below:

  1. The orange disc spanning the nubs is good, whether it got stuck there on its way in or on its way out after having hit chains. Part of the disc is over the top of the tray so it has entered the target correctly.
  2. The red disc dangling on a single nub is good. Some small part of the disc is over the top of the tray, so it has entered the target correctly.
  3. The white disc is good. The only way it would not be good is if it fell through the top, which does not appear possible for this target.
  4. The red disc suspended in the chains is good. It must have gotten there by entering the target correctly.
  5. The yellow disc is good. The bottom of the disc breaks the cylindrical plane between the top of the tray and the bottom of the chain support, so it has entered the target correctly.
  6. The soft red disc wedged in the tray is almost certainly not good, as by far the most likely way for it to get there is by flying into the side of the tray from the outside. If it somehow entered the target over the top of the tray and bounced back out before getting stuck in the side (extremely unlikely), then it is good.

QA-COM-4

Q:

Everyone in my group watched my soft putter push through the side of the basket and come to rest completely inside of it, not wedged at all. They said the putt was no good. Are they right?

A:

Yes. A throw that is observed by the group or an Official to enter the target by wedging through the tray or by dropping through the top of the chain support is not considered good, even if it comes to rest in the basket or chains, because it has not entered the target correctly (above the rim of the tray and below the top chain support). If no one sees the throw on a blind hole or when the target is too far away, the group must make a decision.

QA-COM-5

Q:

As I release a putt, I push off from my back foot so that after release I am balanced on my front foot. I typically freeze there for a couple of seconds, then swing my back foot forward and continue toward the hole. Is that a foot fault?

A:

It’s hard to say. Your group will have to make a judgment call. To demonstrate “full control of balance” the player must perform some action that breaks up the flow of movement toward the target after release, before proceeding toward the target. Some examples of actions that demonstrate balance might be: (1) a clear pause and display of balance, (2) placement of the back foot on the ground behind the mark, or (3) retrieval of the marker disc. The key to all of those is to show balance and control of your body behind the mark before moving forward. The best course of action is to leave no room for doubt, which is easy to do if you are indeed in control of your body after you’ve released the putt.

QA-COM-6

Q:

My disc was resting in the chains, and I let the next player putt. His putt knocked my disc out of the basket and onto the ground. Do I need to make another throw to complete the hole?

A:

No. Once your disc came to rest supported by the basket, you completed the hole. You can pick up your disc and go to the next hole.

QA-COM-7

Q:

On a blind hole, I threw a fast, stable disc that skipped hard toward the basket. When we walked up, we found it wedged in the front of the tray. Was that an ace?

A:

Probably not. It’s a group decision. There’s a very high probability that the disc wedged itself into the tray from the outside. A disc must enter the target correctly in order to complete the hole. The odds that it entered above the tray and then wedged in the tray on its way out are extremely low. However, if your group cannot reach a majority decision, the benefit of the doubt goes to the thrower and the ace counts.

Scoring

QA-SCO-1

Q:

Is there a penalty for failing to record a score for a particular hole, even if the total is correct?

A:

Yes. Scorecards submitted without a score marked for a hole are incorrect and will have two penalty throws added to the correct total score.

Abandoned Throw

QA-ABA-1

Q:

How does Abandoned Throw work? How is it different from the old Optional Re-throw?

A:

Abandoning a throw means that (except for being added to the score) the throw never happened. The original throw plus one penalty throw are counted in your score. When you abandon a throw, the resulting lie is disregarded and any penalties incurred by that throw are disregarded as well.

QA-ABA-2

Q:

On a short, easy hole, I shanked my drive into a dense forest, and it stuck high up in a tree. The two-meter rule is in effect. I’d rather re-tee than play from in the forest. Will I be throwing 3, or 4?

A:

You will be throwing 3 after declaring that you are abandoning your drive. You count your original throw and add one penalty throw for abandoning that throw. Penalties incurred by an abandoned throw are not counted.

Provisional Throw

QA-PRO-1

Q:

What is the provisional throw rule and when should it be used?

A:

A provisional throw is used when a player disagrees with the group’s ruling and no Official is available, or when it might save time in case of a possible lost or OB disc, or missed mandatory. Provisional throws allow play to continue by deferring the ruling until the status of the disc in question can be determined, or an Official is available to settle the matter. In the case where a ruling is disputed or uncertain, a player may have to play out from both the original and the provisional throws, essentially completing two legs. Once a ruling has been made, only the throws for the correct leg are counted.

Practice Throw

QA-PRA-1

Q:

After marking my lie I lobbed my putter about 3 meters toward my bag. It hit my bag, kicked up, and rolled about 10 meters down a hill. Was that a practice throw?

A:

No. A throw of less than five meters (in the air) to return a disc is not a practice throw.

QA-PRA-2

Q:

My buddy left an unused disc near the tee. I picked it up and saw him on the next hole, so I threw it to him. He was about 30 meters away. Was that a practice throw?

A:

Yes. It traveled more than five meters in the air, so it was a practice throw, regardless of the purpose of the throw.

QA-PRA-3

Q:

A player in my group was angry after having missed a short putt. After completing the hole, he putted hard into the chains from about two meters away. Was that a practice throw?

A:

Yes. The throw was not made as a competitive throw, nor was it made to set aside an unused disc or to return a disc to a player. That makes it a practice throw.

Interference

QA-INT-1

Q:

My disc was stuck in a tree far above two meters (with the two-meter rule in effect), when another player’s throw knocked it to the ground. Where is my lie, and am I subject to a two-meter penalty throw?

A:

The disc is played relative to where it first came to rest. Since that was clearly above two meters, you are subject to a penalty throw just as if the disc had stayed in the tree. As for the player whose throw knocked your disc down, the interference rule does not apply when the interference is caused by a competitively thrown disc.

Misplay

QA-MIS-1

Q:

My group played a hole that is not part of the tournament course. What is the penalty?

A:

If the hole was played in place of a hole that is part of the course, then a two-throw penalty is added to each of the scores for that hole. If the hole was played in addition to the holes that make up the course, a two-throw penalty is added to each player’s total score (the scores for the extra hole are disregarded).

QA-MIS-2

Q:

I threw from another player’s disc by accident. Was that a foot fault, or a misplay?

A:

That’s a misplay because the wrong lie was used. A foot fault, or stance violation, presumes that the correct lie is being used but that the player missed it when throwing.

QA-MIS-3

Q:

I missed a mandatory on my drive, but we didn’t realize it until after I had made another throw. What do I do?

A:

Your second throw was a misplay because you made it from an incorrect lie. It should have been made from the drop zone (or from the tee if there is no drop zone). Since you caught your mistake after a single misplayed throw, you don’t count or play that misplayed throw. Instead, you get one penalty throw for the misplay. Your next throw is from the correct lie for the missed mandatory. The penalty for missing the mandatory still applies since it was made before the throw that was a misplay.

QA-MIS-4

Q:

After the cards were turned in, I realized that I had not finished a hole that I had started. What’s the penalty?

A:

The penalty is two throws, as stated in rule 811.C. An additional throw is added (based on 811.F.3) to represent the final throw on the hole that was not completed. The score for that hole is the number of throws that were made, plus two throws for the penalty, plus one more for completing the hole.

QA-MIS-5

Q:

In the middle of my round I had stomach pains and had to find a restroom. I was in there long enough that my group played a hole without me. Can I rejoin them and take a penalty for the hole I missed?

A:

Yes. That is a type of misplay known as Missed Hole Due to Late Arrival or Absence. You get par plus four on the hole.

QA-MIS-6

Q:

My group started on the wrong hole. What should we do?

A:

For each player, it depends on how many throws were made. If only one throw was made, there is a one-throw penalty. If two or more throws were made, the player finishes the hole and takes a two-throw penalty. If at least one player has made two throws, the group continues play. Otherwise, the group picks up and goes to the correct hole.

QA-MIS-7

Q:

A player in my group said he was going to take a quick bathroom break, but he wasn’t on the tee when it was his turn to throw. 30 seconds went by, and soon after that the player stepped onto the tee. Does that player get par plus four for being absent?

A:

No. A player is absent if their group does not have any indication that the player will show up. That’s not the case here, so the player gets a warning for Excessive Time. However, if the player is taking an inordinate time away from the group (say, more than a few minutes), they can be considered absent.

QA-MIS-8

Q:

I got to the course late, after the two-minute warning, and found out I had been assigned to hole 12, which is all the way on the other side of the park. There’s no way I could get there in time, so I was looking at getting par plus four for missing the hole. Then I noticed that hole 3, which is close, only had a threesome. If I join them, I get a two-throw penalty for starting on the wrong hole and/or in the wrong group, saving two strokes. Clever, right?

A:

Not so much. Intentionally misplaying a hole to your advantage can get you DQ’ed. The rules about starting on the wrong hole or in the wrong group are intended to address inadvertent mistakes. Deliberately starting in the wrong group to avoid a greater penalty puts you at risk of a greater penalty, including DQ. In this case, the TD could reasonably assess both penalties: par plus four on your first hole (for being late), and two penalty throws for starting on the wrong hole.

Courtesy

QA-COU-1

Q:

A rival of mine likes to play head games, for example by telling me my score for the round, that he thinks I will make or miss a putt, etc. Can I call a courtesy violation on him?

A:

Maybe. Though being a jerk isn’t explicitly listed as a courtesy violation, any action that is “distracting or unsportsmanlike” can be penalized. You and your group will need to decide if the player’s behavior is bad enough to call. Short of that, it is something you, your group, and/or other players will have to work out with them. If the behavior is bad enough, or there’s a pattern of it for that player, you can notify the TD and/or the PDGA Disciplinary Committee.

Equipment

QA-EQU-1

Q:

Can I use rangefinders?

A:

Yes, but you must still throw within the 30 seconds allowed by the Excessive Time rule.

QA-EQU-2

Q:

Are remaindered discs (X-ed out discs, factory seconds, hot stamp rejects, etc) of PDGA-approved models legal for use in PDGA competitions?

A:

Yes. They are legal for PDGA play as long as they also meet the overall restrictions (weight, rim sharpness, flexibility, etc) as outlined by the PDGA Technical Standards document. Players always have the right to question the legality of a disc used in competition. In such cases the TD will make the final call.

QA-EQU-3

Q:

I left my favorite putter in the car. Can my friend go get it for me during the round?

A:

Yes. You are allowed to add discs to your bag after the round has started. Make sure the errand does not distract other players and that you don’t violate the Excessive Time rule. The best time to do that is between holes.

QA-EQU-4

Q:

May I use stuff on my hands to get a better grip?

A:

Yes. The use of grip aids is acceptable since nothing in the rules specifically prohibits their use. You may need to clean the disc periodically to prevent grip material from building up and adding thickness or weight to the disc.

QA-EQU-5

Q:

I’m a converted ultimate player and I like to wear friction gloves when I play disc golf. Are those allowed?

A:

Yes. Gloves are specifically allowed by rule 813.02.A as a device that controls abrasion.

QA-EQU-6

Q:

My disc landed in a spot that has very hard, rocky ground. May I place a towel or pad down in order to protect my knee?

A:

Yes. You may place a towel or a small pad which is less than 1cm thick when compressed on the lie, including within a drop zone or teeing area.

Match Play

QA-MAT-1

Q:

My opponent conceded a putt, but I’d still like to throw the putt to keep my putting stroke fresh. Can I do that?

A:

No. Once your opponent concedes a putt, you have completed the hole. A putt thrown after that is an extra throw. The first extra throw incurs a warning; subsequent ones incur penalty throws.

Doubles and Team Play

QA-DOU-1

Q:

My doubles partner threw an approach shot using the thrown disc as the marker. Can I mark it with a mini for my throw?

A:

No. Team members must use a single marking method to mark the lie, and mark the lie only once.

Competition Manual

QA-CMP-1

Q:

Can women play in any division?

A:

A woman may play in any division as long as she meets the qualification criteria for that division. There are no divisions that are restricted to males only.

QA-CMP-2

Q:

What happens if a group starts play before the official signal is given?

A:

If a group mistakenly starts play early and then hears the official start signal, they return to the tee and start over. None of those throws count as practice throws even if made after the two-minute warning. If the group actually started early but never heard the official start signal, their scores stand as thrown with no penalties.

Summary of Rule Changes

In the opinion of the PDGA Rules Committee, the 2018 edition represents a large step forward. Far more effort has gone into it than into other revisions. There is a significant amount of change, which is summarized below. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write to the Rules Committee using the contact form on the PDGA website.

General

The rules have been restructured to more closely follow the order of events during the play of a hole. That makes it much easier to find the right rule, and it keeps related rules together. Rules that cover infrequent scenarios (such as misplay) are toward the end.

There is no longer a separate section for definitions. Terms are defined where they first appear. That way, there is no need to flip back and forth between the definitions and the rules. Each defined term is listed in the index, along with the rule where it is defined.

The text of the rules has been rewritten into a less formal and more conversational style. For example, the word “shall” no longer appears.

New sections have been added to gather together similar rules:

Regulated Routes, Regulated Positions, and Regulated Areas.

Rules for Match Play and Doubles have been added.

The Q&A’s have been rewritten, reorganized, and greatly expanded.

New Stuff

Relief Area: A Relief Area is essentially a penalty-free OB area. A TD can use a Relief Area to keep players out of certain areas of the course, for example an area around a yellowjacket nest, an area under construction, or an area with protected plants.

Hazard: A Hazard is an area where you get a penalty but do not relocate the lie.

There’s a new OB option, available at the discretion of the TD: you play from the closest in-bounds point (similar to a lateral hazard in golf).

Major Rule Changes

The lie is now an area. It’s a rectangle 20cm wide and 30cm deep centered behind the marker.

Lie Area

Minor Rule Changes

802.02.D: If a throw does not change a player’s lie (for example, missing the island on an island hole), they throw again instead of waiting for others to throw.

802.07: There is no longer a re-throw after a stance violation. The throw counts.

802.07.C: There is no longer a warning for the first stance violation.

803.02.A: The five-meter limit on casual relief has been removed. You may go back along the line of play to the first available lie, however far that is.

803.02.E: A player may take free optional relief (back along the line of play) when placing the lie after taking a penalty for OB or above two meters.

809.01.A: A player may abandon a throw at the cost of one penalty throw (other penalties are not counted). Abandoned Throw replaces Optional Re-throw.

804.02.B: The mandatory rules have been clarified by limiting them to penalizing throws that pass the wrong side of the mandatory. The most important part is that the only line that matters is the one that extends to the incorrect side of the mandatory (two lines to the outside for a double mandatory).

805.02.C: A target for a hole other than the one being played is subject to the two-meter rule.

806.02.G: If an OB area has a drop zone, the TD may allow you to go directly there at the cost of two penalty throws (rather than trying to throw over an OB lake, for example).

806.02.D.3: You are guaranteed a lie up to one meter from all OB (handles OB lines that create a corner).

807.B: The rule for completing the hole has been simplified. Your disc must enter the target correctly and then be supported by the target.

809.03.A: Practice throw has been redefined. A throw that travels less than 5 meters in the air to return a disc to a player or your bag is not a practice throw.

810: The consensual interference rule (formerly 804.03.G) has been removed.

810.F: Accidentally interfering with your own throw (for example, if your putt rolls back and hits you or your bag) incurs a one-throw penalty. As before, intentional interference with your own (or anyone else’s) throw incurs a two-throw penalty.

810.H: You can move a disc that has landed on or behind your lie.

811.F.5: A player who is not present to play a hole gets par plus four.

811.F.9: A player who starts on the wrong hole and/or in the wrong group receives a two-throw penalty.