What Are The Basic Rules Of Disc Golf?

Disc golf is a thrilling outdoor sport that combines elements of traditional golf with the skills of throwing a disc. If you’re new to the game or simply curious about its rules, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll provide you with a concise overview of the basic rules of disc golf, helping you understand the fundamentals and get out on the course with confidence. From tee-offs to scoring, we’ve got you covered!




Disc golf is played with specialized flying discs that are designed for distance, accuracy, and control. These discs come in different shapes, sizes, and weights, each serving a specific purpose. There are three main types of discs in disc golf: drivers, mid-range discs, and putters. Drivers are used for long-distance shots, mid-range discs are versatile for a variety of distances, and putters are used for short, accurate throws into the basket.


The basket is the target in disc golf. It consists of a metal basket with chains hanging from it. The purpose of the chains is to catch the disc and prevent it from bouncing out. The basket is mounted on a pole and is usually placed off the ground to create a challenging and fun target for players. When a disc successfully lands in the basket, it is considered a successful completion of the hole.

Tee Pad

The tee pad is the designated starting point for each hole. It provides a flat surface for players to begin their throws and helps establish a fair playing field for everyone. Tee pads can be made of various materials such as concrete, rubber, or natural materials. They are typically marked with a designated area where players must place their feet before throwing.


Throwing Discs

The objective of disc golf is to throw the disc from the tee pad and land it in the basket in the fewest number of throws possible. Players must strategize their throws, taking into account the distance, terrain, and obstacles on the course. The ultimate goal is to complete each hole with the lowest score, which is determined by the number of throws it takes to reach the basket.

Scoring Points

Scoring in disc golf is based on the number of throws it takes to complete each hole. The player with the fewest throws on a hole receives the lowest score (e.g., 3 throws for a par 3 hole), while additional throws result in higher scores. At the end of the round, the total number of throws for each player is added up to determine their final score. The player with the lowest score is the winner.

What Are The Basic Rules Of Disc Golf?


Course Layout

Number of Holes

A typical disc golf course consists of 18 holes, similar to traditional golf. However, some courses may have fewer or more holes, depending on available space and design. Each hole offers its unique challenges, requiring different throwing techniques and strategies.


The length of each hole can vary significantly, ranging from short, easily reachable holes to long, demanding ones. Some courses include a mix of hole lengths to provide players with a balanced and diverse experience. Longer holes usually require more powerful throws, while shorter ones may require more accurate and finesse shots.


Disc golf courses often incorporate natural and man-made obstacles to add excitement and difficulty to the game. These obstacles can include trees, bushes, water hazards, elevated baskets, and out-of-bounds areas. Negotiating these obstacles requires skill, precision, and strategic shot selection.

Throwing Technique


The stance is an essential aspect of disc golf throwing technique. There are various stances that players can utilize, including the backhand and forehand (or sidearm) throws. The backhand throw involves positioning oneself with the non-dominant side facing the target and utilizing a pulling motion with the throwing arm. The forehand throw, on the other hand, involves positioning oneself with the dominant side facing the target and using a pushing motion with the throwing arm.


The grip is crucial for maintaining control and achieving the desired flight path of the disc. There are different grip techniques that players can employ, such as the power grip and the fan grip. The power grip involves gripping the disc with all the fingers underneath and pressing against the rim for maximum power. The fan grip, on the other hand, involves spreading the fingers along the underside of the disc’s flight plate for more control and accuracy.

Throwing Styles

Disc golf offers players the flexibility to choose from various throwing styles based on their comfort and skill level. Some common throwing styles include hyzer, anhyzer, and straight shots. A hyzer shot is achieved by releasing the disc with an angled edge, causing it to curve towards the dominant side. An anhyzer shot, on the contrary, involves releasing the disc with an angled edge away from the dominant side, resulting in a curve in the opposite direction. Straight shots involve releasing the disc with a level flight path, minimizing curvature.

Shot Selection

Choosing the right shot for each situation is essential in disc golf. Players must assess factors such as wind direction, distance to the target, and obstacles in their path. Different discs are designed to provide specific flight characteristics, such as stability and fade. Players must consider the flight characteristics of each disc and select the appropriate disc for each shot to maximize their chances of success.

What Are The Basic Rules Of Disc Golf?

Out of Bounds


If a player’s throw lands out of bounds, they incur a penalty stroke. Out-of-bounds areas are usually marked with designated lines or markers. Players must take care to avoid throwing their discs outside of the established boundaries to prevent incurring unnecessary penalty strokes.


In some cases, such as a lost disc or an unplayable lie, players may need to re-throw from the same spot or a designated drop zone. Re-throwing allows players to improve their position and resume play within the rules of the game.

Taking Relief

When encountering obstacles or challenging terrain, players may need to take relief to ensure a fair and safe play. Relief options may include taking a penalty stroke and re-throwing from a designated relief area or taking a specific number of steps away from the obstacle to create a clear throwing path.

Order of Play

Starting Order

The starting order in disc golf is typically determined by random selection, such as flipping discs or drawing numbers. The player with the lowest number or the winning flip goes first. The remaining players then take turns in a predetermined order throughout the round.

Taking Turns

After the initial starting order, players take turns throwing their discs from the tee pad and advancing towards the basket. The player whose disc is farthest from the basket throws next until all players have completed the hole. This rotational order ensures fairness and allows players to maintain an equal opportunity to showcase their skills.

What Are The Basic Rules Of Disc Golf?

Fair Play


Disc golf, like any sport, has a set of etiquette rules that players should follow to maintain fairness and respect for others. Common etiquette practices include not disturbing other players during their throws, not walking in front of or obstructing the line of sight of the person throwing, and observing proper behavior and language throughout the game.

Respecting Other Players

Respecting other players’ focus, concentration, and space is crucial in disc golf. It is essential to wait for your turn patiently and refrain from making unnecessary noise or distractions. Additionally, players should always demonstrate good sportsmanship, providing positive encouragement and support to their fellow competitors.


Counting Throws

When keeping score in disc golf, each throw is counted, including penalty strokes. It is important to accurately tally the number of throws for each player on each hole to determine their overall score. Participants must diligently keep track of their throws and ensure a fair recording of their performance.

Counting Penalty Strokes

Penalty strokes are accounted for separately and added to the total number of throws for each hole. These penalty strokes are incurred when a player violates out-of-bounds boundaries, fails to complete a hole, or commits other rule infractions. Penalties serve as a mechanism to encourage fair play and adherence to the rules.

Calculating the Score

To calculate the final score, the total number of throws for each player throughout the round is added up. The player with the lowest overall score is the winner. In the case of a tie, additional tiebreaker rules, such as sudden-death playoffs or countback systems, may be implemented.

Tournament Rules

Player Divisions

In disc golf tournaments, players are typically divided into different divisions based on skill level, experience, and age. This divisional system allows participants to compete against players of similar abilities, ensuring fair and competitive gameplay. Common divisions include Open, Advanced, Intermediate, Recreational, and Junior divisions.

Tee Assignments

Tournaments often have multiple tee pads available for players of different skill levels. Tee assignments are determined based on a player’s division. Divisions with higher skill levels may use longer and more challenging tee pads, whereas lower skill level divisions may use shorter and more forgiving tee pads. This allows players to showcase their skills while maintaining an appropriate level of challenge.

Rules Modifications

In some tournaments or special events, certain modifications to the official rules may be made. These modifications can include mandating specific throwing styles, implementing temporary out-of-bounds areas, or altering the tee pad or basket locations. Tournament organizers and disc golf governing bodies work together to ensure a fair and exciting experience for all participants.


Throwing Caution

Safety is paramount in disc golf. Players must exercise caution while throwing discs to avoid injuring themselves or others. This includes being aware of the surroundings, ensuring there are no players or spectators in the intended flight path, and maintaining control during the throwing motion. Accidental slips, releases, or throws in unsafe situations should be avoided at all costs.

Avoiding Hazards

Disc golf courses may contain hazards such as water bodies, dense foliage, or rough terrain. Players must be mindful of these hazards and take necessary precautions to avoid injury. It is essential to retrieve discs safely and avoid entering potentially dangerous areas where retrieval may be challenging or hazardous.

Awareness of Other Players

Being aware of other players on the course is crucial for maintaining safety. Players should always keep an eye on their fellow competitors and wait until they are safe before throwing. Additionally, communication is vital in ensuring that players are aware of each other’s presence and intentions during the game.

Disc golf is a thrilling and engaging sport that combines elements of precision, strategy, and camaraderie. By following the basic rules and guidelines outlined above, players can enjoy a fair, safe, and enjoyable disc golf experience. Whether playing casually with friends or competing in tournaments, disc golf offers an incredible way to appreciate nature, challenge oneself, and have a great time. Grab your discs, head to the course, and enjoy the exhilaration of disc golf!


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