Oct 29 2009, 01:24 PM
There are a few rules out there that have struck me as maddeningly imprecise. In discussing these rules mid-round with other players I have noticed that there is a lot of uncertainty even among the savviest of veterans. Perhaps this is the attorney in me talking here but it seems that some guidance from the powers that be could help clear this sort of thing up. Perhaps even some video demonstrations that illustrate rule applications?

1. Backing in to foliage.
803.04(2)(D). A player must choose the stance that
will result in the least movement of any
part of any obstacle that is a permanent
or integral part of the course.

In my view, this rule as written makes a huge percentage of stances illegal, that are not considered illegal by tournament players. I have been struggling with the interpretation of this rule, and watching some of the sport's greats at the USDGC this rule is simply not currently played as written. For example, your lie is in the middle of a small bush 25' away from the hole. You of course want to take a putt, so you gingerly insert your leg into the bush and straddle out. Branches are touching your leg, but you aren't really bending anything backwards, and it's clear you're trying to avoid interfering with the bush as much as possible while still giving yourself a somewhat-awkward straddle putt at the basket. But the bush has plenty of foliage, and you're touching it a little bit even in your least-interfering stance. Your crouch and putt moves (slightly) some branches and leaves. Now, you COULD have gotten BEHIND the bush, laid down, put a foot directly behind your lie, and not touched the bush at all. Of course, you wouldn't have a makeable putt if you did so. It's been my experience that NO ONE takes the second lie, even though the rules clearly say that you "must choose the stance that will result in the least movement of any part of any obstacle."

How do people interpret this rule?

2. The exact spot of the "lie" depending on whether it is marked with a mini or not.

803.04(2)(C). Any throw from within 10 meters or
less, as measured from the rear of the
marker disc to the base of the hole, is
considered a putt. A follow-through after
a putt that causes the thrower to make
any supporting point contact closer to
the hole than the rear edge of the marker
disc constitutes a falling putt and is
considered a stance violation . The player
must demonstrate full control of balance
before advancing toward the hole.

A first question is whether marking your lie with a mini changes your "lie." It appears that it does (advancing your lie a disc-length). So if your disc comes to rest straddling the 10m line, by marking your lie with a mini, you will be inside the 10m circle, and otherwise you will be outside. Is this correct? And say your marked lie is just inside the 10m, but by taking your 30cm relief, you can putt from outside 10m...this would be a falling putt despite the fact that it was over 10m, correct? Another area of disagreement.

I have also heard from tournament players that they believe the front of the disc is the lie even if it is not marked with a mini, meaning that players can only be about 3 inches behind their (non-mini) disc when releasing. This doesn't seem to make sense, but it's out there; on the flip side it is also a little strange that by marking your lie with a mini or not you change where you throw from.

3. Rule of Verticality.
What is it? In the rulebook it only seems to apply to marking lies within one meter of out-of-bounds.

D. The Rule of Verticality: The out-ofbounds
line represents a vertical plane.
Where a player’s lie is marked from a
particular point within one meter of the
out-of-bounds line pursuant to the rules,
the one-meter relief may be taken from
the particular point upward or downward
along the vertical plane.

I don't think people really know that it is limited to marking lies within one meter of the OB line. What is the rule here? Say there is a big rock crevice that my disc is in and I can't put my foot directly behind the lie, but I can easily put it within 30 cm if the rule of verticality is interpreted to allow me to stand directly behind it, but above (or below) where the disc is resting. An even crazier situation along the same lines happened to me one tournament: my disc was in a cave below the basket, and if I could have taken a lie directly above where my disc was, it would have been an easy upshot; as it was, I had to crawl into the cave, play directly backwards to get out of the cave, and then continue with the hole.
(perhaps this only happens at crazy montana courses)...

Ok, back to work...


Oct 29 2009, 01:34 PM
2. is the easy one. The reference point for making the call on inside or outside 10m is the back edge of your marker whether it be the original thrown disc or a mini, not where you choose to stand within the 30cm behind it. And yes, your mark is different if you use a mini versus leaving your disc on the ground which becomes the marker and you get the full 30cm behind it.

3. Verticality does not officially work in the upward direction from a disc below the playing surface such as a disc in a crevice. However, if you read the Q&A for Disc below playing surface, you sort of get permission to mark on the playing surface with no penalty: But the preference would be for the TD to identify those areas and specify that free relief upward is allowed for those places on a course where it might occur.

1. My perception of how others who try to play by this the rule interpret it is that if they prefer to stand, they will take the standing stance that produces the least movement. In other words, they will straddle versus stand behind their lie if that produces the least movement. They don't feel they need to kneel, even if that would produce less movement. If they do decide kneeling is the better stance for some situation, they will take a kneeling position among several possibilities that results in the least movement. So I'm not sure how to write that more clearly in the rules. But it would seem that people are OK with a person standing, even if they could produce less movement by kneeling or lying on the ground, as long as they take a standing stance that produces the least movement.

Oct 29 2009, 04:29 PM
1. Backing into foliage is never legal because it moves obstacles between the lie and the hole. Similarly, walking through tall weeds on a line between the lie and the basket is not allowed.
803.05.B. Obstacles Between the Lie and Hole: A player may not move, alter, bend, break, or hold back any part of any obstacle, including casual obstacles, between the lie and the hole, with one exception: A player may move obstacles between the lie and the hole that became a factor during the round, such as spectators, players’ equipment, open gates, or branches that fell during the round. Where it is not known if an obstacle has become a factor during a round, it shall not be moved. It is legal for a player’s throwing motion to make incidental movement of an obstacle.

2. Yes, the lie moves relative to the thrown disc depending on how it is marked, but no closer to the hole than the leading edge of the thrown disc.

3. Yes, the rule of verticality is used by players in many places it should not be. The PDGA rules do not recognize the the disc can ever be located below the playing surface and is always marked on the playing surface directly below the disc. In real life there are situations where the disc can be located below the playing surface where marking by the rules is not possible. It is a spot that I have always thought needed to be addressed.
Dry weather opens cracks in the soil here that are easily several inches across and several feet deep. There is no provision for marking on the surface, but that is the approach taken here.

Oct 29 2009, 04:59 PM
1. Backing into foliage is never legal because it moves obstacles between the lie and the hole. Similarly, walking through tall weeds on a line between the lie and the basket is not allowed.

This rule is almost always ignored. The "big butt back-up method" is employed by many of my competitors at PDGA tourneys, putting me at a competitve disadvantage when I gingerly slide a foot or hand within 30cm and on the LOP and resort to a turbo/twist.

I consider it a compliment when they have to cheat to beat me. :D

Oct 30 2009, 02:36 PM
Concerning #1 why is it you think the rule is bad when the problem is the players don't follow it? That doesn't make the rule wrong, it makes the players wrong. You seem to imply that if the top players don't follow the rule the problem is with the rule not the top players. You want this fixed? Great. Start calling the rules violations when you see them.