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. As soon as a disc enters the restricted space it is considered to have missed the mandatory, whereas a disc is not considered OB until it comes to rest. Therefore, the missed mandatory 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.
You are responsible for playing the course properly. If you disagree with the group and an official is not readily available, play a provisional and have the TD make a ruling later.
If you are playing an event where it is announced that PDGA rules apply, then the Offical 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. 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 caddie book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 anywhere you could put a supporting point when taking a stance, you’re allowed to move it, even if another part is closer to the hole than the back of your marker.
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.
Once your disc has entered the restricted space, the rest of the flight does not matter. You have missed the mandatory.
You go back to your previous lie.
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 caddie 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.
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). First relief is taken as specified in 806.02.D, then optional relief is taken straight back on the line of play (803.02.D,E). A player may not take one meter of relief from OB after taking optional relief even if the relocated lie is near an OB line.
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.
Only if at least some of it is on the playing surface where a supporting point may be placed, 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.
No. 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.
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. Mark your lie below the disc and continue.
Yes. The flight of the disc does not matter. If it is supported by the tray or the chains below the chain support, the hole is complete.
It’s hard to say. 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 could 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.
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.
Yes. If the disc is supported by the tray or the chains below the chain support, the hole is complete.
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.
Yes, just have your group agree on an approximate lie from which the abandoned throw was made and play from there.
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.
No. A throw of less than five meters (in the air) to return a disc is not a practice throw.
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 interference rules state that a disc that has been moved 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.
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.
Not so much. Intentionally misplaying a hole to your advantage can get you disqualified. Any throws played with the wrong starting group are disregarded. You need to find your assigned group.
Maybe. Though being a jerk isn’t explicitly listed as a courtesy violation, any action that is “distracting or unsportsmanlike” can be penalized. You 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. 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, this is a post-production modification which alters the original flight characteristics (813.01.C.1). The disc is no longer in a round, saucer-like configuration required by the Technical Standards. Even though the modification may be temporary, it is illegal to throw the disc while in this configuration.
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.
No. Team members must use a single marking method to mark the lie, and mark the lie only once.
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 signal. If the group actually started early but never heard the official start signal, their scores stand as thrown with no penalties.