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PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf & Competition Manual Updated for 2019


Update December 31, 2018 — After listening to member feedback, the PDGA Board of Directors has drafted and approved language changes to Rule 803.01.B.1, CM 3.03.B.5, CM 3.03.C.3, and CM 3.03.C.4.  

These changes clarify the intent and application of these sections and better conform with the intent of the Board in approving the changes.  The changes include clarification of when a player may move casual obstacles; replacing "possession or use" with "public display or use"; referring to "illegal or prohibited" substances under "any applicable law"; and grouping marijuana at all Tier levels with alcohol at B-Tier and above.  These changes also make it clear that 3.03.B.5, 3.03.C.3, and 3.03.C.4 are concerned with things that occur between the two-minute warning and the submission of a player's scorecard.


Revisions are periodically required to update our rules and competition standards to keep up with the constantly evolving nature of disc golf equipment, courses, tournament management, technology, etc. These updates and edits can range from nearly unnoticeable verbiage alterations to complete rewrites of an entire section. Fortunately, the changes approved by the board of directors for the 2019 revision of the PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf and the PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events contains mostly the former.   

These revisions come about via a process that appears fairly simple on paper but requires dozens of hours of work behind the scenes by the many volunteers involved. The process is as follows:

  1. The Rules Committee and Competition Committee receive and review feedback throughout the year.
  2. The committees deliberate internally and decide which items to recommend for board approval.
  3. The committees' initial recommendations are sent to the board of directors for review and feedback.
  4. The board reviews the recommendations and then sends their questions and comments back to the committees.
  5. The committees make their final revisions and submit them to the board for approval.
  6. The board votes to approve or deny each of the submissions. 

The items listed below were approved by the board of directors and will take effect on January 1, 2019. They will NOT appear in the online versions of the PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf or the PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events until the day they take effect. 

Rule Book Changes

802.05.C Throwing - Lie

Remove:

A drop zone is marked and played in a manner similar to the marking and playing of a teeing area.

Replace With:

A drop zone may either be marked and played in the same manner as a teeing area, or in the same manner as a marked lie.

803.01.B.1 Obstacles and Relief - Moving Obstacles

Remove:

A player may move casual obstacles that are on or behind the lie.

Replace With:

A player may move casual obstacles that are partially or completely on the lie or in the stance area, regardless of whether they extend in front of or behind the lie.

804.02.B Regulated Routes - Prohibited Routes

Remove:

A throw has missed a mandatory if, from the direction of the tee, 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).

Replace With:

A throw has missed a mandatory if, from the direction of the 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).

809.01.A Other Throws - Abandoned Throw

Remove:

A player may choose to abandon a throw by declaring their intention to the group.

Replace With:

A player may choose to abandon their most recent throw by declaring their intention to the group.

809.03.A Other Throws - Practice Throw

Remove:

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. Practice throws are disregarded.

Replace With:

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.

809.03.B | Other Throws - Practice Throw

Remove:

A player receives one penalty throw for making a practice throw.

Replace With:

A player receives one penalty throw for making a practice throw; the throw itself is disregarded.

Competition Manual Changes

1.06.B.4 Grouping and Sectioning

Remove:

C-Tier events have the option to randomly mix divisions for groupings (first round ONLY) with the exception that Junior II – Junior VI divisional players should only be mixed with other players from those same divisions. 

Replace With:

C-Tier events have the option to randomly mix divisions for groupings (first round ONLY) with the exception that Junior ≤15, Junior ≤12, Junior ≤10, Junior ≤08, Junior ≤06 divisional players should only be mixed with other players from those same divisions. 

1.06.J Grouping and Sectioning

Remove:

First round “Super Groups” for media purposes are NOT allowed unless for live coverage and previously approved by each player within the group and by the PDGA Tour Manager.

Replace With:

First round “Super Groups” for media purposes are NOT allowed unless for video coverage and previously approved by each player within the group and by the PDGA Tour Manager.

1.10.C Distribution of Prizes (new addition) 

Insert:

The required Added Cash for a tier level must be allocated across all Pro divisions based on the percentage of entry fees brought into the overall Pro portion of the event by each division. Added cash above the minimum may be allocated at the TD’s discretion.

1.08.E Reduction of Field Size

Remove 1.08.E from Reduction of Field Size

Events with more than two rounds must post payout (including all added cash) prior to the start of the last round.

Insert As 1.10.D in Distribution of Prizes 

Events with more than two rounds must post payout (including all added cash) prior to the start of the last round.

Subsequent 1.10 Re-lettering Changes:

  • Original 1.10.C - “Any prizes (money or . . .“ is re-lettered to 1.10.E
  • Original 1.10.D - “The usage of . . .“ is re-lettered to 1.10.F
  • Original 1.10.E – “Any prizes that a player . . .” is re-lettered to 1.10.G

1.13 Youth Safety

Remove:

Players in the MJ3, FJ3, MJ4, FJ4, MJ5, FJ5, MJ6, and FJ6 divisions must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds.  Additionally, any player younger than 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian regardless of the division they play in.  A single parent or guardian may be responsible for multiple junior players in the same group if agreed upon by all of the parents/guardians prior to the start of the round.  Players in the MJ1, FJ1, MJ2, and FJ2 divisions may be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds.

Replace With:

Players in the Junior ≤12, Junior ≤10, Junior ≤08, Junior ≤06 divisions must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds. Additionally, any player younger than 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian regardless of the division they play in.  A single parent or guardian may be responsible for multiple junior players in the same group if agreed upon by all of the parents/guardians prior to the start of the round.  Players in the Junior ≤18 and Junior ≤15 divisions may be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds.

Insert (as final paragraph):

The PDGA highly recommends that Tournament Directors create their tournament schedules to ensure that all players in the two youngest age groups (Junior 08 and Junior 06) be scheduled to play no more than 18 holes in one day. Additionally, TDs should use their discretion to possibly limit the amount of daily play concerning the Junior ≤10 divisions (age 10 and younger) depending on the length and strenuousness of their course.

3.03 Player Misconduct

Of all the changes for this revision, section 3.03 of the Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events, Player Misconduct, is getting the most significant overhaul. The updated verbiage utilizes more specific and clear language that focuses on the expectations of the player and the broad strokes of the potential consequences (which are further clarified as the section proceeds).  It also incorporates section 812 (Courtesy) of the PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf by explicit reference and clarifies that the structures of the Rules and the Competition Manual exist in tandem, not in mutual exclusivity.

The prior language in B was repetitious (A just indicated that players are expected to behave in accordance with policies set out in this section), and the progression from A to B was not a narrowing of scope. Some language was swapped between the two sections, gendered language was removed (“sports ethics” instead of “sportsmanship”), and it is now clearer which violations may receive a warning and which do not. It also clarifies that where the Tournament Director chooses to issue a warning, a subsequent violation means automatic disqualification.

With these changes, A now indicates that players must adhere to a standard and lists the three non-mutually- exclusive ways in which punishment can be levied (by players under the Rules, by TDs under the Rules or the Competition Manual, and by the PDGA after the fact). B now outlines penalties for violation of the new standard with some examples. C now outlines four offenses that result in immediate disqualification, without a warning.

Remove:

A.  The PDGA adopts a strict policy of appropriate behavior during events, as well as appropriate comments to the media. Any conduct deemed to be unprofessional is subject to a tournament warning or immediate disqualification by the Tournament Director, and may also be subject to further disciplinary actions from the PDGA.

B.  Players are expected to behave in a professional and sportsmanlike manner while participating in a PDGA-sanctioned event. Actions that are in violation of this conduct include but are not limited to:

  1. Repeated and overt use of abusive or profane language
  2. Throwing items in anger (other than discs in play)
  3. Overt rudeness to anyone present
  4. Willful and overt destruction, abuse or vandalism of property, including animal and plant life
  5. Cheating: a willful attempt to circumvent the rules of play
  6. Physical attacks or threatening behavior to anyone present
  7. Activities which are in violation of federal, state or local laws or ordinances, park regulations or disc golf course rules. Tournament Directors are granted the discretion to disqualify a player based on the severity of the offending conduct. An official tournament warning prior to disqualification may be issued by a Tournament Director where appropriate.
  8. The possession of illegal substances in violation of federal, state or local laws. The use of marijuana is not permitted at PDGA events, regardless of federal, state or local laws, or the possession of a medical marijuana card.
  9. Excessive use of alcohol or public intoxication at the tournament site.
  10. Possession of alcohol from the start of play until the player’s scorecard is submitted is not allowed. Such possession shall result in immediate disqualification at PDGA events sanctioned at B-Tier or higher. The Tournament Director may, at his sole discretion, elect to issue a warning to the offending player in lieu of disqualification solely at PDGA events sanctioned at C-tier and below. If a player has been previously issued a warning for alcohol possession at the same event, all subsequent violations shall result in immediate disqualification.
  11. Overt failure or refusal to enforce the rules of disc golf during competition.
  12. Failure or refusal to cooperate with, or obstruction of any investigation by an official into the competitor’s conduct or the conduct of another competitor.
  13. Deliberately seeking to manipulate one’s player rating through intentional misplay or withdrawal

C.  Players are required to report any player misconduct to a Tournament Official when available or to the Tournament Director directly at the completion of the round.

D.  Tournament Directors are required to report any disqualifications and player misconduct to the PDGA as quickly as possible.

E.  Disqualified players shall forfeit any prize money or merchandise and shall not receive a refund of entry fees.

Replace With:

A. All players must adhere to a professional standard of sporting ethics, courtesy, and integrity while participating in a PDGA-sanctioned event and when commenting to the media. Conduct that violates this standard is subject to courtesy violations called by players (see Rule 812, Courtesy), penalties issued by the Tournament Director, and any further disciplinary action deemed appropriate by the PDGA.

B. If a player violates the above standard, the Tournament Director may opt, in their sole discretion, to issue a tournament warning for a first offense (except as specified in subsection C, below). Otherwise, the Tournament Director will immediately disqualify the player. Actions that violate this standard include, but are not limited to:

  1. Repeated and overt use of abusive or profane language.
  2. Throwing items in anger (other than discs in play).
  3. Overt rudeness or threatening behavior to anyone present.
  4. Willful and overt destruction, abuse, or vandalism of property, including animal and plant life (see also Rule 803.03, Damaging the Course).
  5. Public display or use of alcohol, even where otherwise lawful or permitted, from the two-minute warning until the player’s scorecard is submitted at an event sanctioned at C-Tier level or below (see 3.03.C.4 for penalties at events sanctioned at B-Tier or above).  This rule does not apply to L-Tier events, where, if event venue rules permit it, players of legal age may consume alcohol during the round.
  6. Overt failure or refusal to enforce the rules of disc golf during competition (see also Rule 802.02.B, Enforcement).
  7. Obstruction of, or failure or refusal to cooperate with, any investigation by an official into the player’s conduct or the conduct of another player.
  8. Deliberately seeking to manipulate one’s player rating through intentional misplay or withdrawal (see also Rule 811.E, Misplay).
  9. Activities not listed in this subsection or in subsection C, below, which are in violation of federal, state or local laws or ordinances, park regulations or disc golf course rules.

C. The following actions also violate the above standard. Players who commit one or more of these violations will not receive a warning, and will be immediately disqualified by the Tournament Director:

  1. Cheating: a willful attempt to circumvent the rules of play.
  2. Physical attacks upon anyone present.
  3. Public display or use of illegal or prohibited substances in violation of any applicable law (national/federal, state/provincial, local/city/county, et al) from the two-minute warning to the time the player's scorecard is submitted.
  4. Public display or use of alcohol at PDGA events sanctioned at B-Tier or higher, or of marijuana at PDGA events sanctioned at any Tier level, even where otherwise lawful or permitted, from the two-minute warning to the time the player's scorecard is submitted.

D.  Players are required to report any player misconduct to a Tournament Official when available or to the Tournament Director directly at the completion of the round.

E.  Tournament Directors are required to report any disqualifications and player misconduct to the PDGA as quickly as possible.

F.  Disqualified players shall forfeit any prize money or merchandise and shall not receive a refund of entry fees.

3.05.B Carts, Caddies and Groups

Remove:

Players will have the option to bring a caddie or carrying device during their round of play. Although a player’s caddie is subject to all items within the PDGA Rules of Play and the PDGA Competition Manual including the dress code. A caddie need not meet membership or certified official requirements.

Replace With:

A caddie is a person who carries a player's equipment or provides other assistance during the round. Players may designate one caddie at a time during their round. A caddie must comply with the same PDGA Rules of Play and PDGA Competition Manual their player must follow, including the dress code, although a caddie need not be a PDGA member nor Certified Official.

3.05.C Carts, Caddies and Groups

Remove:

Players choosing to use a caddie will be solely responsible for their caddie’s conduct from the two minute warning until the player’s card is turned in. Misconduct by a caddie may subject both the player and caddie to disqualification and/or suspension.

Replace With:

Players choosing to use a caddie will be solely responsible for their caddie’s conduct from the two-minute warning until the player’s card is turned in. Any penalties for misconduct by a caddie (as defined in this section and in CM 3.03, Player Misconduct) will be applied to both player and caddie.

3.08.H Tournament Director Rights and Responsibilities

Remove:

In the occurrence of an event not following the responsibilities set forth in the Sanctioning Agreement, Tour Standards, and Competition Manual, the PDGA reserves the right to demote the event in the future, or to suspend the Tournament Director from running future events.

Replace With:

In the occurrence of an event not following the responsibilities set forth in the Sanctioning Agreement, Tour Standards, PDGA Privacy Policy, and Competition Manual, the PDGA reserves the right to demote the event in the future, or to suspend the Tournament Director from running future events.

Comments

Submitted by cheesethin on

Doesn't the new mando wording allow the possibility of missing a mando from the 'wrong' direction? Eg a player could make the mando on one throw, then from that lie throw backwards (not saying why they would want to) and have their throw cross the mando line, and therefore be deemed to have missed the mando?

Submitted by cdamon on

That (largely theoretical) possibility existed with the original wording, though it would require a hole that makes a U-turn; at that point one could argue whether "from the direction of" follows the contour of the hole, or the path a flying crow would take.

You're correct that such a backward throw would satisfy the definition of having missed a mando. The Rules Committee will discuss this point for the next revision.

-Conrad

Submitted by davidheath on

In most parts of Australia, law states that your supervision of children rules (1.13) must apply to anyone under 18.

In the new text for 803.01.B.1, reference is made to "stance area." I can find no definition for this term.

In 'Player Misconduct' Item 'D' although the text states that players MUST report infractions, I see nothing to enforce this. Surely it's not a courtesy violation, especially if no-one outside the playing party knows!

Submitted by RoJo on

809.03 “A drop is not a practice throw.” Please consider adding similar text to 802.01 in order to clarify that “A drop is not a throw.” Can-o-worms.... Possibly further specifying that, “a dropped disc is an unintentional release of a disc ((not made as a competitive attempt to change the lie) and must not exceed 5 meters in the air. An unintentional release is considered a drop as agreed on by the group. Thanks.

No... Rules are rules... QA is questions and answers. If you have to refer to the QA to define the rules, then the rules are written badly - if it is not included in the rules, then reading it in the QA means the same as reading it the National Enquirer.

#HireRealWriters

803.01.B.1 Obstacles and Relief - Moving Obstacles - Does this mean you are no longer allowed to move casual objects in your run up? Or is the area of your run up considered "stance area"

Submitted by cdamon on

No, that hasn't changed. The only intended change is the expansion from "lie" to "stance area" in order to clarify that you can move stuff that's not technically in your lie but which affects a supporting point, for example your other foot for a straddle putt. It also includes your run-up area. This is something we'll clarify in the near future with an online correction or a Q&A, and/or in the next rulebook revision.

-Conrad

An "index of terms" needs to be a specific set of "Definitions" - It is nice that you have an 'index of terms' - this should be "Part 1" not "Appendix E" A rule book should be written as though it is a legal document - because, as the sport grows and more money is involved, it will inevitable become one. The PDGA can write the book as though that is the intent, or be surprised when some 'slighted pro' is mad enough about something to file suit, but we are in the world of million dollar contracts now and poor writing, inexact definitions, inconsistently used terms and definitions, and conflicting or vague rules are all things that really matter.

The idea that "It is possible that "stance area" will be formally defined and added to that list in the next revision" is 100% backwards. Adding a term like that should not ever be allowed until, it has been properly and specifically defined in the definitions.

Again - Hire Technical Writers and attorneys - Stop the process of "let's try this wording this year"...

I am curious about an instance I ran into at an event this year with a mando. My disc went on the outside of a mando tree, hit a branch within that tree, and kicked backwards returning around the inside of the mando line. I’m assuming it’s still missing the mando since it kicked back on the other side of the line but clarification would be great. Thanks

Submitted by cdamon on

If I'm picturing it correctly, where the outside of the tree is the wrong side of the mando, then yes you did miss that mando. That would be the same as rolling around the wrong side and coming back toward you on the correct side. The fact that you came back across the correct side does not affect the status, since you have crossed the line on the wrong side. Once the disc has crossed the line on the wrong side, the only thing that can change its status is to come back across that line.

Mandatories - Looks like PDGA took another swing and miss at Mandos. Indicating "a throw or sequence of throws that crosses the line in both directions" leaves the very confusing door open for a player to throw another shot ("sequence of throws") back around a mando after having missed the mando without any penalty.

#HireRealWriters

Submitted by cdamon on

A sequence of throws where the first one misses the mando is not something we need to worry about, since after that first throw has missed the mando, the player moves to the drop zone, and there is no sequence. That clause is there to cover a different situation, where a player has gone around the correct side and come across (toward the tee) the line on the incorrect side. At that point, they have not missed the mando, nor do they need to unwrap; they can throw back across the mando line on the incorrect side, toward the target. For a diagram, see the last image in QA-MAN-1. The "string" analogy in that QA is still the easiest way to think about mandos: connect the flight paths of your throws on the hole to form a string, and pull it taut; then check to make sure it does not pass a mando on the wrong side.

Mando rules have turned out to be particularly challenging to write. If you have language that covers the various scenarios properly (see that QA) in a clearer and/or more concise fashion, please share.

I do have a significantly better way to define mandos, and have sent that wording in on at least a couple of occasions... so yes,... shared (but of course, I will share again).

You have, however brought up several other 'related problems' with the "beer and pizza" approach to the writing of the rule book.

1) QA is not rules. Rules are numbered, listed specifically in the rule book, searchable, able to be referenced by a specific line item when in question - and most importantly, NEED TO BE accurate, precise, complete, and all terms must be defined and consistently applied. A QA section carries none of that and consists of opinions on how the rules might be applied - and carries the same "Rules Weight" as the local newspaper comics.

2) "Mando rules have turned out to be particularly challenging to write" - YES THEY ARE - This is only one of the reasons the PDGA needs to stop having disc golfers write the rules and HIRE PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL WRITERS AND LAWYERS. The PDGA needs to stop acting like a mom and pop organization that functions out of someone's garage and 'makes it up as they go along'. At least for the rules, the PDGA needs to pretend they are a professional organization that has some idea about how to function as such. There are over 100,000 members - this is not a little local club making up a new game!

3) If you line up shots like they are a string and pull it taught - and there is a mando in play - it will almost always pass on the wrong side of the mando - that is the mando's purpose. Most of the time, with a mando in play, a string from the teepad to the basket will pass on the wrong side of the mando. The string is meaningless... the path the disc follows is where the importance lies.

4) 'Where we started'. The inclusion of the phrase "sequence of throws" (which is specifically written into the "RULE 804.02.B Regulated Routes - Prohibited Routes" - and not in some meaningless QA) inherently opens the door to throwing back around the mando. The wording itself grants the player the option to throw again and complete his sequence. I threw, I missed, I threw again back around the other side, now I made it... "sequence of throws". What you have done in your explanation is an attempt at differentiating "THIS sequence of throws" from "THAT sequence of throws" - but in fact, you have merely emphasized my point that the phrase should never be included - and more importantly, is shouldn't be included without being specifically technically defined for the purpose of the rules.

This all said... the "Better Way"...
First - The definitions need to be created, and a recognition that the current definition of "Mando" and "OB" are terrible and this differentiation needs to be made specific. Each item (Mando and OB) causes problems for the other and when they appear in the same situation those problems become worse.

Without rewriting the definitions here myself, I'll define the problems.

1) A Disc that is "OB" is inherantly "at rest"... because it can only be OB once it comes to rest.

2) A Disc that misses a mando can inherantly ONLY DO THAT WHILE IT IS MOVING. Once it comes to rest, it is no longer 'missing the mando', it has already done that... back where the mando is. Where it comes to rest has no relevance as to which side of a mando it passed on.

Given these basic premises, we can identify that a disc is OB once it comes to rest, and a disc that misses a Mando does so while it is "In Motion". This basic differentiation solves a significant number of problems for both situations - and also fixes some course design problems that these poorly defined terms create.

As for "sequence of throws"... it just needs to be removed. One throw... it only takes one throw to pass a mando on the wrong side. If the disc happens to be on the line which bisects the mando and is perpendicular to the line that passes through the teepad or previous mando and on the 'bad side', it is 'on the line' and therefor, still safe. If the next throw then completes the trip past the wrong side of the mando, it was that 'next throw' where the infraction occurred... but still,... just one throw.

With regard to your "cut rolls around the bad side of the mando" situation... this can be dealt with in either of two ways:
1) It is unfortunate, but still, throwing back the direction the disc rolled from would qualify as missing the mando because that throw does, in fact, pass on the wrong side of the mando and fulfills all of the functions of missing the mando (it is unfortunate in a similar manner to having your putt spit through the chains, roll down the hill and into the OB lake... unfortunate,... but happens).
or
2) you make a specific allowance for it in the RULES by creating a rule 804.02.B.1 that allows for the situation, something that reads something like this:

"In the event a disc has passed on the correct side of a mando, and in the
same motion, proceeds to pass back around the incorrect side of the same
mando, the disc is considered to have properly navigated the mando and is
not required to pass the correct side a second time."

Still - the most critical piece of defining Mando rules lies in the concept that a disc passes a Mando while it is "in Motion" and is Out of Bounds (OB) only once it comes to rest.

e.g. Consider the situation where a disc misses a mando AND lands in an OB area. The party line answer to this conundrum is to identify "which happened first" - but the reality is that the Mando ALWAYS happens first because a disc cannot be OB until it comes to rest. It can't come to rest until it has stopped moving and no longer has the opportunity to pass on the wrong side of a mando. If you look into the QA, however, it then introduces a completely new concept of "entering an OB area"... which as far as the rules are concerned is NOT illegal - nor is it even frowned on. In fact, it's a critical function in almost all good courses. Any place you throw across water, have an island hole, or even in many cases have defined fairways, the course is designed such that you are required to throw over an OB area... this is not a 'foul' - yet when determining "which happened first" it is treated as though you have done something wrong by throwing over an OB... NO... THAT IS WHAT A MANDO IS FOR. If your disc has to follow a path while it's moving... Mando. If the disc is not allowed to come to rest somewhere... OB.... So... the answer to the question is this: "A Missed Mando should ALWAYS take precedence over a disc that lands OB". This simple concept cleans up so, so many questions...

Most importantly... THIS CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH...
HIRE PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL WRITERS

This "making it up as we go along" stuff has gone on way, way too long.

Submitted by cdamon on

1) It is not unusual for the rules for a sport to be accompanied by an ancillary document that goes into more detail and/or outlines specific scenarios in order to provide guidance. The USGA accompanies its rules with Interpretations and also offers a Decisions Book. Our Q&A serves both those purposes. I feel that the rules should be general, and that it's useful for an accompanying document to provide real-world examples of how various rules are applied. Most of the Q&A's are questions that have been asked repeatedly by players writing in.

3) The string follows the flight path of each throw. If you look above, I wrote "connect the flight paths of your throws". That's different from just connecting the lies.

4) Once you miss a mando, you go to the drop zone. You don't have the chance to throw back across the mando line.

I agree that a disc must come to rest before it can be determined to be OB (technically, it must establish a position).

Mandos: I don't see how declaring that a disc can only miss a mando while it's in motion solves anything. To get an idea as to what we have in mind regarding mando rulings, take a look at the diagrams in QA-MAN-1. If you can provide clear, concise language that captures those rulings, I'm all ears. As you have guessed, the text about a "sequence of throws" is intended to cover the scenarios in the last two diagrams, where a disc has passed the correct side and then come backwards across the line on the bad side - the goal is to clarify that throwing across the line (on the incorrect side) on the subsequent throw does not result in missing the mando. If you declare that missed mando always takes precedence over going OB, you open up what I'd consider a counterintuitive ruling in certain cases. For example, imagine a hole with an OB street along the right side and a mando 300' ahead in the middle of the fairway, where you have to go to the left. I yank my drive and it skids down the street. It entered the street about 20' ahead of the tee. Since the mando line for a single mando extends indefinitely, then under your rule I would have to go to my disc (beep beep) and figure out which side of that line it's on. If it's short, I'm back near the tee. If it crossed the line, I go to the drop zone. That doesn't feel right.

As far as your suggested text goes, bear in mind that there is no longer the concept of "making" or "passing" a mando. There is only missing it, which is penalized.

Regarding the situation of both missing a mando and going OB, the point that neither technically occurs until the disc has come to rest was pointed out many years ago. While that is a clever point, most players have a common-sense understanding of which happened first. That's made explicit in QA-APP-2.

[ As for replacing the Rules Committee with hired professionals, feel free to write to the Board as that would be their decision, not mine. ]

I have to agree with those that say you need professionals writing the rules. PDGA needs a professional rules committee not players that think they understand a rules process. There are so many holes in the rules. Allowing step putts and jump putts is a Glaring Example. Players that use these techniques are violating the rules. It is cheating pure and simple. All other shooters have to land behind their lie but these players get to land beyond their lie. Jump putt - just land behind your lie, easy peasy. Not complicated to understand. A three year old can write better rules.

Submitted by cdamon on

Hi, I'm the chair of the Rules Committee and the primary author of the rules starting with the near-rewrite in 2013. It's important to understand the difference between writing rules and adopting them. During a revision cycle, the Rules Committee comes up with a set of proposed changes and votes on them. Changes that pass are then presented to the Board, which also votes on them. Changes that may seem to be obvious improvements can fail at either level.

Jump putts are a good example. Even if we set aside the question of whether going past your lie should be allowed at all, a non-trivial percentage of jump/step putts performed in tournament play are illegal (but never called but it's hard to be sure during live play). The Rules Committee has been aware of this issue for more than ten years. We have made a couple of proposals in the past to address the issue. One was to move the putting circle out to 50m. Another (which I prefer) is to extend the circle to everywhere, i.e. never go past your lie. Bear in mind that that would be a very controversial change, and a good number of players would think we had lost our minds.
 

Ok,... the arguments surrounding "jump putts" are yet another very strong reason that technical writers and lawyers NEED to be employed when writing a rule book.

The difference between 'writing rules" and 'adopting rules' is basically irrelevant in the question as that is more about the process of ratification rather than the understanding of the importance of concise, understandable, and most importantly consistent wording.

The jump putt rule itself is similarly irrelevant - but the ideas tossed forth here are maybe the best illustration of why "concise, understandable, and consistent" language are critical. (To fully disclose my particular opinion on the matter, I think you are both wrong and the ideas behind the current rule are actually very good and conceptual change would be ill-advised, but the wording should be corrected.)

Conrad mentions that he would like to see the rule "extend the circle to everywhere, i.e. never go past your lie". Fundamentally understandable, and Michael resolves this by saying "Jump putt - just land behind your lie, easy peasy. Not complicated to understand". Let's look at the logic in these concepts, shall we?

First, Conrad's idea:
The problem with "never go past your lie" is all of the "other stuff" it effects, and how that cascades through rule writing.

A rule like that would 'unintentionally' make an 'X Step' illegal. At least, it would be illegal if you stepped off the teepad after releasing your disc. In fact, it would make any type of run-up illegal and relegate all disc golf throws to be made with feet planted so the thrower's momentum would not cause the thrower to step forward after releasing the disc. You might say, "so release the disc earlier so your momentum finishes you at your lie" - except that this would mean that when you release your disc, your foot would, in fact be not on your lie (that 20cm x 30cm rectangle behind your disc or marker), and you would be guilty of a foot fault. You can add to this that planning your throw, not for where you 'release the disc', but rather, for "where your momentum carries your trailing foot to land" would cause a list of problems longer than most romance novels.

So the logical 'correction' to this would be to alter the rule such that it in some way defines a "putt" differently from a "throw" (both of these terms *should* be right up front in the "Definitions" - but 'the PDGA way' would be to try to answer this more 'softly' in the "QA section" as though that carries some 'rules weight' - and leave the actual "rule" left unencumbered by any specific language that would allow the player to know absolutely whether or not he/she was committing an infraction). Once we've defined that there is a difference between a putt and a throw - almost certainly by saying "if it went into the basket, it is a putt" (and simultaneously recognize that "if you missed, than it really can't be called a foot fault anyway because... you missed"), there will be a feeling that something is accomplished. By doing this, we can eliminate the accidental rule against moving your feet when you throw and we will have reduced the 'accidental infractions' down to "Only Aces are Illegal"... ah how the mighty will have fallen... - Does that mean my buddies have to buy me beer every time they ace?

Let's move on to Michael's idea:
"Jump putt - just land behind your lie." This is a bit simpler, and really just a subset of the problems created by Conrad.

The problem here is that any throw must "Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie". Jumping and landing behind the lie would really require some combination of a few factors to be true:
-- 1) You jumped from a point that is not in contact with your lie;
-- 2) You released the disc while you were in the air and not while you were in contact with the ground anywhere;
-- 3) You jumped straight up and landed in the same place you jumped from; or
-- 4) You jumped, then landed, then released your disc.

Obviously, all of these factors cause problems for the "Stance" rule... interestingly though, they don't seem to have any problem with the "Throw" rule as that one is really just a definition anyway.

Really, Really, Really.... No Kidding... Conrad, I KNOW you believe the Rules Committee is doing good - and your heart is in the right place. You are not wrong - a "Rules Committee" is a critical function... in fact, that is the exact group who should be working MOST CLOSELY with the writers and lawyers... but for all that is good about this game (and it is almost ALL GOOD)... PLEASE, I implore you... HIRE TECHNICAL WRITERS and Lawyers.

Get yourself a starting place with structure, precision, and most of all consistency. Accept that the rules don't need continual "change" - what they need is a MAJOR FIX in language - and the internal resources to successfully complete this task don't exist. The process you mentioned "the Rules Committee comes up with a set of proposed changes and votes on them. Changes that pass are then presented to the Board, which also votes on them" NEEDS to undergo a "consistency" check point, which needs to be done by someone with the skills and understanding of that process - NOT the guy at the table who says "I'll do that".

Submitted by cdamon on

First, a couple clarifications. I'm not at all sure that I want to change the rules so that you can never go past your lie. What I meant is that of the proposed solutions, that's the one I prefer. I think it's worth considering.

That rule would not apply to tee shots, so you could step off the teepad after releasing your drive. That has a ready analogue in the use of tees in golf, which is only allowed for the first shot on a hole.

It would not make any runup illegal. The current putting rule does not prohibit a run-up; it only states that after release you cannot go past your lie until you've shown balance. It's perfectly legal to walk (or even run) up to a putt as long as you don't go past your lie. You could run up to any lie as long as you show balance behind your lie after releasing. That would affect how fairway drives and long approaches are executed. I've gone out and tested it during rounds, and my game is not affected much by it, but I don't take a big run-up even on tees (I do a short X-step, probably three steps). Such a rule would have a couple of benefits: there'd no longer be a special rule for putts, and there's be no need for a 10m circle.

You lost me a bit before "Only Aces are illegal". That statement and its lead-up did not make sense to me.

Defining a stance rule in terms of landing on your lie is not something we've ever considered.

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