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Official Rules of Disc Golf

Official Rules of Disc Golf

We all want to play our best and score well. But at the end of the day, what we’ll be remembered for most in our disc golf careers is the way we carried ourselves on and off the course.

Disc golf etiquette helps us understand what is expected of us in terms of courtesy and custom on the course.

In the final episode of PDGA Rules School, we’ll be looking at disc golf etiquette, both as it appears in the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG) and as part of the Disc Golfer’s Code.

Courtesy Rules

Some elements of etiquette are informal - like clearing out your disc from the basket before another player putts, or calling “fore!” if a disc is heading towards a player.

Learning the rules has its advantages. Not only can it help you avoid costly penalties, but it can also give you tools to use to your benefit in certain situations.

In this episode of Rules School, we’ll be looking at four rules found in the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG) that may help during your next round.

Optional Relief with No Penalty

Nobody likes adding out-of-bounds strokes to their score, but if you do go OB, the last thing you want is a difficult lie or awkward angle to make your scramble to save par even more difficult.

A lot of new players learn the rules by watching coverage of the pros playing in the sport’s biggest events. We see them marking their lie, taking relief, jump putting from outside the circle, and many times the commentators will discuss the rules as we see the action unfold on the screen.

But one thing that you won’t see very often on the Pro Tour, but which is unfortunately very common in other levels of competition, is a misplay.

In this episode of PDGA Rules School, we’ll be looking at several common types of misplays, as well as the penalties and procedures for misplays given in the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG) section 811.

Alright! You’ve made it off the tee, down the fairway and all the way to the putting green. You’re doing great, but you’ve still got to put the biscuit in the basket, as they say.

In this episode of Rules School, we’re going to look at how to complete the hole according to the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG) section 807.

Completing the Hole 

In order to officially finish a hole, the rules say that the thrower must release the disc and it has to come to rest supported by the tray or the chains below the chain support.

In disc golf, we are always hoping for a lie that is clear, flat, and generally provides good footing for our next throw.

Unfortunately, we are sometimes left with lies that are less than optimal: on the side of a slippery muddy slope, in a ditch, under a rock, and so on.

In this episode, we’re going to look at ways that players can take relief from obstacles and other obstructed stances during their round according to the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG) section 803.02.

Moving Casual Obstacles

The rules allow you to move casual obstacles that are on the playing surface where you can legally place a supporting point when taking your stance.

In the last episode of PDGA Rule School, we examined Out-of-Bounds areas, which are areas on the course designated by the Tournament Director as “off limits”.

In this episode, we’re going to look at another tool that TDs can use to add challenge and maintain safety and flow on the course: mandatory routes.

The rules governing mandatory routes (804.01) were revised in 2022, so pay close attention to make sure you are up to date.

The PDGA Board of Directors has approved an update to section 804.01, Mandatory Routes, of the Official Rules of Disc Golf (ORDG), effective as of March 2, 2022. This rule update does not change the concept of restricted routes as defined by the ORDG. It provides clarification of how restricted routes are intended to operate.

In the last episode of PDGA Rules School, we examined the putting area and the special rules that are in effect when a lie is within 10 meters of the base of the target.

In this episode, we’ll be looking at Out-of-Bounds (OB) areas, which are another type of regulated area that falls under the Official Rules of Disc Golf Section 806.

An OB area is an area designated by the TD as “off limits”. Landing in an out of bounds area comes with a penalty throw, and shots cannot be thrown from an out-of-bounds area. 

In the last episode of Rules School, we looked at the rules that regulate stance.

We noted that the rules allowed us to begin our run-up and finish our follow-throughs outside of the area of the lie, so long as we were making contact at the moment of release.

Things change quite a bit when a lie is within the putting area.

Official Rules of Disc Golf (806.01): Putting Area »

What is the Putting Area?

The putting area is the area enclosed by a circle with a 10-meter radius extending from the base of the target.

Stance

In the last episode of PDGA Rules School, we learned that every shot in disc golf takes place from a lie—whether this is the notebook-sized area behind a marked area on the fairway, or the larger teeing area at the beginning of each hole.

In order to throw from a lie, you need to take a stance (802.07), which just means you need to position your body to make the throw.  Whether or not the stance you take is legal depends on where your supporting points are at the moment of release.

The Lie

Every shot in disc golf is thrown from a lie (802.05). Put simply, the lie is the designated area of the playing surface on which a player must establish their stance in order to throw.

There are two types of lies specified by the Official Rules of Disc Golf: teeing areas and marked lies. Drop zones can be treated either like a teeing area or played in the same manner as a marked lie, depending on how it is designated by the Event Director.

Welcome to Rules School!

PDGA Media has produced a 12-part Rules School video series covering the basics of the Official Rules of Disc Golf.

The series is intended as an easily accessible guide for players who may be playing in their first organized leagues or tournaments, as well as a resource for experienced players who want to brush up on specific sections of the rules.

In Episode 2, host Brian Earhart discusses section 802.02: Order of Play.

Welcome to Rules School!

PDGA Media has released a new 12-part Rules School video series covering the basics of the Official Rules of Disc Golf.

The series, which was inspired in-part by the influx of new players in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is intended as an easily accessible guide for players who may be playing in their first organized leagues or tournaments, as well as a resource for experienced players who want to brush up on specific sections of the rules.

Can I throw an extra shot for fun? What's the deal with the mini discs? My drive is under the basket, should I just pick it up and tap the chains?

PDGA tournament or league play can have some differences from the casual rounds you might be used to throwing.

Luckily, all you need to have a successful first event is to know a few basic things. As you play more tournaments – or even run some events of your own – you’ll quickly become well-versed in the PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf (which you should read up on before your tournament, along with the Competition Manual).

As disc golf continues to grow at an exponential rate, revisions and fine-tuning are sometimes required to update our rules and competition standards to stay ahead of the game as equipment, courses, tournament management and technology continue to evolve.

Sometimes the changes are minor, and sometimes they are more profound.

The process is an in-depth look at the current rules and regulations of disc golf with several contributors having input on any proposed changes. Here is that process:

Golf, at its core, is a sport of integrity and courtesy to fellow players, the course, and the game itself. It’s a game of personal responsibility — a self-officiating battle between the player, the course, and competitors.

The rules of disc golf are thorough, and the enforcement of the rules are critical to upholding the integrity of the game, which, as you know, has absolutely exploded in recent years.

With the massive influx of new players finding disc golf, both as casual and tournament players, there are a few guidelines that, at the end of the day, protect and uphold the integrity of the game.

After years of research, debate, and sometimes heated discussions, a new revision of the PDGA Offical Rules of Disc Golf and the PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events has been finalized, printed, and published. The new version represents many changes, some big and some small, but we believe that all of them were necessary. 

The text below is taken from pages 36 and 37 of the new PDGA Official Rules of Disc Golf. Links to the current and new revisions are available at the bottom of this article.