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Frequently Asked Questions - Rules Questions and Answers

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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:

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.