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Top 10 Disc Golf Rules to Know

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

The following are a list of the Top 10 rules to know as a casual or competitive player. These aren’t ranked in any order, but present common moments where rules may come into question based off of my experience:


1. Foot Faults

When a player throws, his/her plant foot is to be within a “one sheet of paper” space behind the mini marker or previously thrown disc.


During a tee-off, the plant foot is to remain on the tee box area during the throwing action.

2. Out of Bounds (OB) vs Casual Relief

OB is a predetermined area that the disc and your body is not allowed to be in during your turn. If a disc flies OB, the disc is brought back in-bounds at the spot where the disc exited play with a one stroke penalty to the player’s score. The mini is set 1 meter (3 feet) in-bounds to give the player ample space for throwing their next shot without worry of their back foot being OB.


A player may start their approach from OB, but must be fully in-bounds during the throwing phase. If the disc is laying OB but any piece of it is in-bounds, the disc is considered in-play with a one meter relief.

Casual relief is sometimes predetermined but can also be called by the group to prevent hazardous situations to the player such as poor footing or crawling into a giant thorn bush and having to throw from inside it. Proper etiquette is to take the next shot from the declared casual relief approximately up to 10 feet behind the previous throw to ensure safety. This awards the player no penalty.

3. Putting In/Out of Circle 1

Circle 1 is a 10 meter (33 feet) radius that encircles the basket, also known as the “green.” If not marked, the group may decide if a player is within the Circle 1 perimeter. Within this area, a player must demonstrate balance through the entire putting action.


Simply, the player cannot advance their feet, knees, or body towards the basket beyond the mini marker except for the natural extension of their arm and upper body. If the player steps forward or falls to any direction, a foot fault penalty is taken.

Putting outside of Circle 1 allows for the use of a step or jump putt to gain extra momentum/distance for the disc to travel. However, the disc must be released from the hand before the back foot leaves the ground or a foot fault may be called.

4. Turn Order

When starting a round, your card typically starts in turn by players alphabetical first name. Then players proceed by taking turns based off of who is the farthest from the basket. At the next hole, the player who scored the lowest previous score goes first and the rest of the card follows based on who had a lower score than the next. If players tie a score, the player who had the better score previously on the hole before last is the one who goes next.


This pattern would repeat back to the beginning of the match if needed.

5. Mini Markers

New players may not see the need for ”mini’s“, but the rules demand that a player cannot pick up their previously thrown disc and throw it again without the lay being marked to ensure a foot fault doesn’t give the player an advantage. Flipping your disc forward is also against the rules.


Stepping on your disc during a throw is a foot fault, as with stepping on a mini. Mini’s are placed at the front of your disc in the direction of the basket, creating the shortest distance from the disc to basket.

Picture taken from the PDGA rulebook.

6. Scoring a Basket

To ensure a “score,” the disc must enter between the bottom of the top band and the top of the basket cage and come to rest either in the chains or within the basket. A disc: laying on the top of the basket, laying under the basket, or gets stuck in the cage are all considered no scores. Additionally, by definition, if the disc goes through the cage entirely and rests in the basket, it’s a no-score as well.


No-scores mean you must take another stroke to finish the hole.

Imagine taken from the PDGA rules Handbook.

7. Tee box safety

With some weather conditions, safety of footing on a tee box may not be the best, so a player is allowed to use 3 feet to the left or right of the tee box. Players should always ensure their own safety and take precautions as needed.

8. Disc Stuck off the Ground

Should your disc come to rest caught in a tree or some other obstacle within bounds, a player is to use a mini placed directly under the disc. After the mini is placed, then a player is allowed to retrieve or shake down their disc.


Some tournaments may also utilize a ”2 meter” rule where a player is penalized if the disc comes to rest two meters or more above the ground.

9. Scoring

Each player should ideally keep track of their own scores along with the group’s score card. In a sanctioned event, if a card is turned in with a mathematical error, everyone on the card takes a two-stroke penalty. Players should double check all scores on the card to ensure their score is correct and no other player “shaved“ their own strokes.

10. Time Limits

When a player is due on the tee box and when it’s their turn to throw their next shot, that person is given 30 seconds to decide and make their throw. Should a disc become hidden from view, a player is to set a 3 minute timer and all players are required to help find the disc. A penalty stroke may be added if a person surpassed their time limit, or if a player refuses to help find the “lost“ disc. A lost disc counts as a penalty stroke and the player re-throws from the previously thrown location.

This wraps up our Top 10 Rules to Know! Any other questions? Please contact us and we’ll get you an answer to the information you need!

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