Revised July 28, 2012
The object of the game of disc golf is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest throws of the disc. The competitor who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest throws plus penalty throws is the winner.
Play on each hole begins at the teeing area and ends at the target. After the player has thrown from the tee, each successive throw is made from where the previous throw came to rest. On completing a hole, the player proceeds to the teeing area of the next hole, until all holes have been played.
Disc golf courses are normally laid out in and around wooded areas with diverse terrain to provide natural obstacles to the flight of the disc. These natural obstacles are very much a part of the game and must not be altered by a player in any way to decrease the difficulty of a hole. Players must play the course as they find it and play the disc where it lies unless allowed otherwise by these rules.
All measurements listed in the rules are given in metric units. The following English System equivalents are to be used when no metric measuring device is available. Under no circumstances shall players or officials use independent conversion calculations.
|Metric System||English System|
|10 meters||32 feet 10 inches|
|5 meters||16 feet 5 inches|
|3 meters||9 feet 10 inches|
|2 meters||6 feet 6 inches|
|1 meter||3 feet 3 inches|
|30 centimeters||11 and 3/4 inches|
These rules have been designed to promote fair play for all disc golfers. In using these rules, players shall apply the rule that most directly addresses the situation at hand. If any point in dispute is not covered by the rules, the decision shall be made in accordance with fairness. Often a logical extension of the closest existing rule or the principles embodied in these rules will provide guidance for determining fairness.
Players are expected to call a violation when one has clearly occurred. Calls must be made promptly.
If in doubt, players may attempt to consult an official. If none is available, players have the option of proceeding with provisional throws as described in 804.06.
A player shall not receive a warning for a rules violation unless the rule specifically provides for a warning. Warnings do not carry over from one round to the next round or to a playoff.
A rules violation that results in a warning may be called by any player in the group, or by an official. All players in the group shall be advised of the warning, and it shall be noted on the scorecard.
A rules violation that results in one or more penalty throws may be called by any player in the group, or by an official. If called by a player, it must then be seconded by another player in the group.
Unless otherwise stated, any determination made by the group as a whole shall be made by a majority of the group, or by an official.
A throw or an action that is subject to penalty under more than one rule shall be marked and/or penalized in accordance with the rule that results in the most penalty throws, or, among rules that call for an equal penalty, the rule that was first violated.
Discs used in play must meet all of the conditions set forth in the PDGA Technical Standards.
A disc which has been modified after production such that its original flight characteristics have been altered is illegal, excepting wear from usage during play and the moderate sanding of discs to smooth molding imperfections or scrapes. Discs excessively sanded or painted with a material of detectable thickness are illegal.
A disc which is cracked or perforated is illegal.
A disc that is questioned by another player or an official is illegal unless it is subsequently approved by the Director.
A player who throws an illegal disc during play shall receive two penalty throws, without a warning. A player who repeatedly throws an illegal disc during the round may be subject to disqualification in accordance with Section 3.3 of the PDGA Competition Manual.
All discs used in play, except mini marker discs, must be uniquely marked. A player shall receive a warning for the first instance of throwing an unmarked disc. Each subsequent throw by the player with an unmarked disc shall incur one penalty throw.
During a round, a player shall not use any artificial device that may directly assist in making a throw, except those devices that reduce or control abrasion to the skin (such as gloves, tape, bandages, or gauze) and medical items (such as knee or ankle braces). Placing an object as a directional aid is not allowed. An item such as a towel or a pad may be placed on the lie as long as it is not greater than one centimeter in thickness when compressed.
A device that is questioned by another player or an official is illegal unless it is subsequently approved by the Director.
A player shall receive two penalty throws, without a warning, if observed at any time during a round to be using an illegal artificial device. A player who repeatedly uses an illegal device may be subject to disqualification in accordance with Section 3.3 of the PDGA Competition Manual.
Players should not throw until they are certain that the thrown disc will not distract another player or potentially injure anyone present.
Players should watch the other members of their group throw in order to aid in locating errant throws and to ensure compliance with the rules.
Players should take care not to produce any auditory or visual distractions while other players are throwing. Distracting actions include: shouting, cursing, freestyling, striking course equipment, throwing out of turn, throwing or kicking golf bags, throwing minis, and advancing on the fairway beyond the away player. Shouting at an appropriate time to warn someone in danger of being struck by a disc is not a courtesy violation.
Refusal to perform an action expected by the rules, such as assisting in the search for a lost disc, moving discs or equipment, or keeping score properly, is a courtesy violation.
Littering is a courtesy violation.
Courtesy dictates that players who smoke should not allow their smoke to disturb other players. Disposing of a cigarette butt by dropping it on the ground is littering.
A player violating a courtesy rule may be warned by any affected player, even if from another group, or by an official. The player shall be assessed one penalty throw for each subsequent courtesy violation of any type in the same round. Repeated violations of courtesy rules may result in disqualification in accordance with Section 3.3 of the Competition Manual.
Teeing order for the first hole to be played is determined by the order in which the players are listed on the scorecard(s).
Teeing order on all subsequent holes is determined by the scores on the previous hole, with the lowest score throwing first, and so on. If the previous hole was a tie, the scores are to be counted back until the order is resolved.
After all the players in the group have teed off, the away player throws next. After that and each subsequent throw, the player who is then the away player throws next, until all players in the group have holed out.
To facilitate flow of play, a player who is not the away player may throw if the away player consents.
During tournament play, no group may play through the group ahead unless the group ahead is required to stand aside in accordance with the rules or as directed by an official.
Throwing out of turn is a courtesy violation.
A practice throw made during the round shall result in one penalty throw being added to the thrower's score.
Play begins on each hole with the player throwing from within the teeing area. When the disc is released, the player must have at least one supporting point in contact with the surface of the teeing area, and all supporting points must be in contact only with the surface of the teeing area. Supporting point contact outside the teeing area is allowed if it comes before or after, and not at, the moment the disc is released.
Any supporting point contact outside the teeing area at the time of release constitutes a stance violation and shall be handled in accordance with sections 802.04 E and F.
The thrown disc establishes a position where it first comes to rest.
A disc is considered to be at rest once it is no longer moving as a result of the momentum imparted by the throw. A disc in water or foliage is considered to be at rest once it is moving only as a result of movement of the water, the foliage, or the wind.
If the disc first comes to rest above or below the playing surface, its position is on the playing surface directly below or above the disc.
If the thrown disc breaks into pieces, the largest piece is deemed to be the thrown disc.
If the thrown disc has moved after it first came to rest on the in-bounds playing surface, it shall be replaced to its approximate position. If it first came to rest elsewhere, the disc need not be replaced, and any determinations are made relative to where it first came to rest.
The position of a thrown disc on the in-bounds playing surface marks its lie.
Alternatively, a mini marker disc may be used to mark the lie by placing it on the playing surface, touching the front of the thrown disc on the line of play.
A player is required to mark the lie with a mini marker disc in the following situations:
Marking an approximate lie;
Marking a disc above or below the playing surface (see 802.02.C);
Relocating the lie within one meter of an out-of-bounds area (see 802.03.D);
Taking relief (see 803.01).
If the position of the thrown disc is in-bounds but within one meter of an out-of-bounds line, the lie may be marked by placing a mini marker disc on the playing surface at any point on a one-meter line that extends perpendicularly from the nearest point on the out-of-bounds line and passes through the center of the thrown disc, even if the direction takes the lie closer to the target. For the purpose of marking the lie, the out-of-bounds line represents a vertical plane.
If a large solid obstacle prevents the player from taking a legal stance behind the marker disc, the player may instead mark the lie by placing a mini marker disc on the playing surface immediately behind that obstacle on the line of play.
A marker disc that is moved prior to the ensuing throw shall be replaced to its original position to mark the approximate lie.
A player shall receive a warning for the first violation of a marking rule. One penalty throw shall be assessed for each subsequent violation of any marking rule during the round.
A player must choose the stance that will result in the least movement of any part of any obstacle that is a permanent or integral part of the course. Once a legal stance is taken, the player may not move an obstacle in any way in order to make room for a throwing motion. It is legal for a player's throwing motion to cause incidental movement of an obstacle.
When the disc is released, a player must:
Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie; and,
Have no supporting point in contact with the marker disc or any object (including the playing surface) closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc; and,
Supporting point contact with or beyond the marker disc is permitted after the disc is released, except when putting.
Putting. Any throw from within 10 meters of the target, as measured from the rear of the marker disc to the base of the target, is a putt. Supporting point contact closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc after the disc has been released is a stance violation. The player must demonstrate full control of balance before advancing toward the target.
A player shall receive a warning for the first stance violation in the round. Subsequent stance violations in the same round shall incur a one-throw penalty. Stance violations may not be called or seconded by the thrower.
Any throw made from an illegal stance is disregarded. A re-throw must be taken from the original lie, prior to subsequent play by others in the group.
Basket Targets: In order to hole out, the thrower must release the disc and it must come to rest supported by the chains and/or the inner cylinder (bottom and inside wall) of the tray. It may be additionally supported by the pole. A disc that enters the target below the top of the tray or above the bottom of the chain support is not holed out.
Object Targets: In order to hole out, the thrower must release the disc and it must strike the marked target area on the object as specified by the Director.
Obstacles to a Stance or Throwing Motion: With the exception of casual obstacles to a stance as described below, a player is not allowed to move any obstacle on the course. No relief is granted from park equipment (such as signs, trash cans, or picnic tables), which is considered to be part of the course. A player is allowed to request that other people remove themselves and/or their belongings from the player's stance or line of play.
Casual Obstacles to a Stance: A player may obtain relief only from the following obstacles that are on or behind the lie: casual water, loose leaves or debris, broken branches no longer connected to a tree, motor vehicles, harmful insects or animals, players' equipment, people, or any item or area specifically designated by the Director before the round. To obtain relief, the player must remove the obstacle if it is practical to do so. If it is impractical to move the obstacle, the player's lie may be relocated to the nearest lie which is no closer to the target, is on the line of play, and is not more than five meters from the original lie (unless greater casual relief is announced by the Director).
Course equipment may always be restored to its proper working order, including the clearing of obstacles.
A player shall receive one penalty throw, without a warning, for violation of an obstacle or relief rule.
A player who purposely damages any part of the course shall receive two penalty throws, without a warning. The player may also be disqualified from the tournament, in accordance with Section 3.3 of the Competition Manual.
Optional Relief. A player may elect at any time to take optional relief. The lie may then be relocated to a new lie which is no closer to the target, and is on the line of play. One penalty throw shall be added to the player's score.
Optional Re-throw. A player may elect at any time to re-throw from the previous lie. The original throw plus one penalty throw shall be counted in the player's score.
It is the responsibility of the player to play the course correctly. Before play begins, players shall attend the players' meeting and learn about any special conditions that may exist on the course, including extra holes, alternate teeing areas, alternate hole placements, out-of-bounds areas, mandatories, and drop zones.
A misplay has occurred if the player has failed to complete every hole on the course correctly and in the proper order, or has played from an incorrect lie for any throw.
In instances where the misplay rules affect players within a group differently, the group shall remain together while a hole is being completed by some of the group in order to verify scoring and rules compliance.
In instances where a misplay is discovered after the player has turned in the scorecard, the misplay shall not be replayed and the player shall receive a two-throw penalty for the misplay.
A misplay is not a stance violation, nor is it a practice throw.
A player who deliberately misplays the course to gain competitive advantage shall be penalized in accordance with Section 3.3 of the Competition Manual.
Types of misplay:
Incorrect Lie. The player has:
Teed off from a teeing area that is not the correct teeing area for the current hole; or,
Thrown from a lie established by a disc other than the thrown disc; or,
Played an out-of-bounds disc as if it were in-bounds; or,
Thrown from a lie established by a previous throw which passed a mandatory on the wrong side.
If no subsequent throws have been made after the misplayed throw, the player shall continue play from the correct lie and be assessed a one-throw penalty for the misplay. If an additional throw or throws have been made after the misplayed throw, the player shall complete the hole being played and be assessed a two-throw penalty for the misplay.
Wrong Target. The player has holed out on a target that is not the target for the hole being played. If no subsequent throw has been made, play continues from the resulting lie. If the target is a basket target, the disc is above the playing surface, and play proceeds according to 802.02.C. If the player has teed off on the next hole, a two-throw penalty shall be added to the score for the misplayed hole.
Failure To Hole Out. The player has teed off on a hole without having holed out on the previous hole. The score for the misplayed hole shall be the number of throws made, plus one for holing out, plus two penalty throws for the misplay. The player must not actually hole out on the previous hole. Intentionally failing to hole out constitutes withdrawal from competition.
Non-Sequential Play. The player has completed play on a hole in the wrong order. The player shall proceed to play the course in its proper order. Regardless of the number of holes skipped or played in the wrong order during the round, a total of two penalty throws shall be added to the player's total score for the misplay. The score earned from any completed hole shall stand, and any completed hole shall not be replayed.
Missed Hole Due To Late Arrival. The player has failed to play a hole due to late arrival. The player receives a score of par plus four for the hole. See Section 1.5 B of the Competition Manual.
Omitted Hole. The round has been completed, and the player has neglected to play a hole. The hole is scored the same as a hole missed due to late arrival.
Incorrect Hole. The player has completed play on a hole that is not part of the course for that round, in place of a hole that is part of the course for the round. The hole shall stand as played, and two penalty throws shall be added to the player's total score.
Extra Hole. The player has completed play on a hole that is not part of the course for that round. Two penalty throws shall be added to the player's total score. Throws made on the extra hole are not counted.
A maximum of 30 seconds is allowed to each player to make a throw after:
The previous player has thrown; and,
The player has had a reasonable amount of time to arrive at the disc; and,
The playing area is clear and free of distractions.
A player shall receive a warning for the first excessive time violation. The player shall be assessed one penalty throw for each subsequent excessive time violation in the same round.
A mandatory restricts the path the disc may take to the target. A disc must pass the correct side of the mandatory before the hole is completed. A disc has passed the mandatory once it establishes a position beyond the mandatory line.
The mandatory line is the line marked by the director or course designer to indicate when a disc has passed or missed the mandatory.
If no line has been marked, the mandatory line is defined as a straight line through the mandatory, perpendicular to the line connecting the mandatory to the previous mandatory, or if there is no previous mandatory, the tee.
In the case of a double mandatory when no line has been marked, the mandatory line is the straight line connecting the two mandatories, and extends beyond them in both directions.
A throw has missed the mandatory if it passes the incorrect side of the mandatory from the direction of the tee, and establishes a position completely beyond the mandatory line.
A throw that has missed the mandatory results in a one-throw penalty. The next throw shall be made from the drop zone, as designated for that mandatory.
If no drop zone has been designated, the player shall play from the previous lie.
If, after a mandatory has been passed, a subsequent throw crosses the mandatory line on the correct side but in the reverse direction, the mandatory has no longer been passed. The player must still pass the mandatory on the correct side. A line connecting the lies for the hole must pass to the correct sides of all mandatories for the hole.
The nearest mandatory which has not yet been passed is considered to be the target for all rules related to marking the lie, stance, obstacles, and relief, if the line of play does not pass to the correct side of that mandatory.
A thrown disc that strikes a person or animal is played where it first comes to rest.
A thrown disc that is intentionally deflected or was caught and moved shall be given an approximate position at the point of contact.
A player who intentionally interferes with another player's disc in any of the following ways shall receive two penalty throws:
Altering the course of a thrown disc (other than to prevent injury); or,
Moving a thrown disc or mini marker disc (other than in the process of identification, retrieval, or marking); or,
Obscuring a thrown disc or mini marker disc.
A player whose thrown disc was intentionally interfered with by another player as described in 804.03.D.1 has the option of a re-throw.
Players shall not stand or leave their equipment where interference with a disc in play may occur. A player may require other players to move themselves or their equipment if either could interfere with the throw. Refusal to do so is a courtesy violation.
Altering the course of a thrown disc with the consent of the thrower in order to prevent the disc from becoming lost is not punishable interference. Any disc whose course is altered for that reason is considered to be a lost disc.
A disc is out-of-bounds if its position is clearly and completely surrounded by an out-of-bounds area. See 802.02.B for determining when a disc in water or foliage has come to rest.
The out-of-bounds line is part of the out-of-bounds area.
A disc that cannot be found is considered to be out-of bounds if there is reasonable evidence that the disc came to rest within an out-of-bounds area. In the absence of such evidence, the disc is considered lost and play proceeds according to rule 804.05.
A player whose disc is out-of-bounds shall receive one penalty throw. The player may elect to play the next throw from:
The previous lie; or,
A lie that is up to one meter away from and perpendicular to the point where the disc last crossed into out-of-bounds, even if the direction takes the lie closer to the target; or,
Within the designated drop zone, if provided.
The out-of-bounds line represents a vertical plane. Where a player's lie is marked from a particular point within one meter of the out-of-bounds line, the one-meter relief may be taken from a point upward or downward along the vertical plane.
If the thrower moves the disc before a determination regarding its out-of-bounds status has been made, the disc shall be considered out-of-bounds.
A disc shall be declared lost if the player cannot locate it within three minutes after arriving at the spot where it was last seen. Any player in the group or an official may begin the timing of the three minutes, and must inform the group that the timing has begun. All players in the group must assist in searching for the disc. The disc shall be declared lost upon expiration of the three minutes.
A player whose disc is declared lost shall receive one penalty throw. The next throw shall be made from the previous lie.
The Director may designate a drop zone for lost discs on a particular hole. If a drop zone is provided, the player may throw from there instead of from the previous lie. In all cases the original throw plus one penalty throw shall be counted in the player's score.
If it is discovered, prior to the completion of the tournament, that a player's disc that was declared lost had been removed or taken, then the player shall have two throws removed from the score for that hole.
A marker disc that is lost shall be replaced to mark the approximate lie with no penalty.
Provisional throws are extra throws that are not added to a player's score if they are not ultimately used in the completion of the hole. The use of provisional throws is encouraged in all situations where there is a question regarding a player's lie and a provisional throw would expedite play, or when the thrower questions a ruling. The unused throws are not to be added to the thrower's score nor treated as practice throws as long as the player announces that such additional throws are provisional throws prior to making them.
Provisional throws are appropriate in the following circumstances:
To save time. A player may declare a provisional throw any time:
The status of a disc cannot readily be determined; and,
The majority of the group agrees that playing a provisional throw may save time; and,
The original throw may be out-of-bounds, may be lost, or may have missed a mandatory.
To appeal the group's or an official's ruling. A set of provisional throws may be taken to complete a hole as part of an appeal when the player disagrees with the group decision and an official is not readily available, or if the player wishes to appeal the decision of an official. The scores from both sets of throws shall be recorded. The proper ruling and score are then determined by the Director at the end of the round.
For information regarding tournament procedures that are not covered below (such as beginning play, rain or hazardous conditions, disqualification and suspension, grouping and sectioning, handling of ties, classification of players, or officials), see the Competition Manual.
When a group cannot reach a decision regarding a ruling, the benefit of the doubt shall be given to the thrower. However, any player may seek the ruling of an official, and the official's ruling supersedes the group's ruling. Any player desiring an appeal of the group's decision shall promptly and clearly express that desire to the group.
If an official is readily available, the group shall stand aside to seek the official's ruling, allowing other groups to play through.
If an official is not readily available, the group shall proceed in one of two ways. The group may reach a decision with the benefit of the doubt going to the thrower, and continue play. Alternatively, if the thrower does not wish to continue play under the group's decision, the thrower may declare a provisional per 804.06 B. The use of provisional throws is encouraged in all situations where the thrower questions the group's or an official's ruling.
A player may appeal an official's ruling to the Director. If the Director is readily available, the appeal shall be heard directly. The group shall stand aside awaiting the ruling on appeal. If the Director is not readily available, the group shall continue playing under the official's ruling. The appeal shall be made as soon as is practical. The decision of the Director shall be final.
Where a group's or official's decision is overturned on appeal, the official or Director may, in the interest of fairness, allow the thrower's score to remain the same, or adjust the thrower's score to reflect the correct interpretation of the rules. Only in a case where a replay is the most fair solution, at the discretion of the Director, shall a hole or holes be replayed.
The player listed first on the scorecard(s) bears primary responsibility for picking up the group's scorecard(s).
Players in the group shall rotate the scorekeeping task proportionally, unless a player or a scorekeeper volunteers to keep score more and that is acceptable to all members of the group.
After each hole is completed, the scorekeeper shall call out each player's name. The called player shall answer with the score in a manner that is clear to all players of the group and the scorekeeper. The scorekeeper shall record that score and read it back, in a manner that is clear to all players of the group. If there is any disagreement about the score a player reports, the group must review the hole and attempt to arrive at the correct score. If the group cannot reach consensus on the player's score, they shall consult 805.01.
The scorekeeper shall record the score for each player on each hole as the total number of throws, including penalty throws. The total score for the round shall also be recorded as the sum of all hole scores, plus any additional penalty throws. The use of anything other than a number (including the lack of a score) represents an incorrect hole or total score and is subject to penalty as described below.
Warnings and penalty throws given to a player for rules infractions shall be noted on the scorecard.
At the end of the round, each player shall sign the scorecard to attest to the accuracy of the score on each hole as well as the total score. If all players of the group agree that a hole score was recorded in error, the score may be changed prior to the scorecard being turned in. Players whose scorecards are turned in unsigned accept responsibility for the scores recorded.
All players are responsible for returning their scorecards within 30 minutes of the completion of a round. The round has been officially completed for all competitors when the last group on the course has completed their final hole and has had, in the Director's opinion, reasonable time to travel from their final hole to tournament headquarters. Failure to turn in the scorecard on time shall result in the assessment of two penalty throws, without a warning, to each player listed on the late scorecard.
After the scorecard is turned in, the total score as recorded shall stand with no appeal, except for the following circumstances:
Penalty throws may be assessed at whatever time the infraction is discovered until the Director declares the tournament officially over or all awards have been distributed.
If it is determined that the total score was incorrectly recorded, either by an error on a hole score or by an error in totaling the hole scores, including omission of the total score, the director shall add two penalty throws to the correct total score. These penalty throws are not added when the Director corrects a player's score for other infractions determined after the player had turned in an otherwise correct scorecard.
Rules governing special conditions that may exist on the course shall be clearly defined and disseminated to all players prior to the start of the tournament. All special conditions shall be covered in the players' meeting. Each player is responsible for adhering to all points covered in the player's meeting.
A drop zone may be utilized in special conditions. The Director must announce prior to the tournament how it is to be used and whether a penalty throw is to be assessed.
No rules may be stipulated which conflict with these rules, unless approved by the Tour Manager.
Discretionary rules are rules that may be invoked by the Director without prior approval from the PDGA. Any discretionary rule that is in effect must be announced by the Director prior to the tournament and in the players' meeting.
If a disc has come to rest above two meters, as measured from the lowest point of the disc to the playing surface directly below it, the player shall be assessed a one-throw penalty. The player shall then proceed in accordance with 802.02.C.
If the lie directly below the disc on the playing surface is out-of-bounds, the disc is played as out-of-bounds regardless of its height above the playing surface.
A disc supported by the target is not subject to the two-meter rule.
If the thrower moves the disc before a determination has been made, the disc is considered to have come to rest above two meters.
The Director may declare the two-meter rule to be in effect for the entire course, for particular holes, and/or for individual objects.
Experimental rules are rules variations that may be invoked by the Director only with prior approval from the PDGA. Any experimental rule that is in effect must be announced by the Director prior to the tournament and in the players' meeting.