Disc Golf

Basic Instructions

Begin at a pre-determined spot, and have each player throw their disc. Continue through the hole, if you finish first wait at the end of the hole for the other players, here is where you write down your scores. The target for the previous hole should be where you begin shooting for the next hole.

After the game, add up the scores for each person; the lowest score wins.

The initial "drive" is taken from a designated tee area. Each subsequent throw is taken from just behind the spot where the disc came to rest. Each throw is added to the player's score. Each hole is given a par rating just like regular golf. A common strategy for a par-three hole, as in golf, would be drive (long throw toward the basket), approach or "chip" (mid-range throw to the "green"), putt (short throw into the basket). The hole is scored when the disc has come to rest in the target basket or when it hits the designated part of an object (for example, post or tree) if there are no baskets and it is an object course.

Most holes are par threes, which is partly because most pro players should score a three on the hole and partly because it is easier to remember one's score. A player only needs to remember how much they are up or down from par to figure out their score easily. Very long holes (typically 800' or longer) may be considered par fours or fives depending on the difficulty of the hole. Stroke play is the most common scoring method but there are many others, including match play, skins, doubles, and speed golf.

General Description

isc Golf (D-Golf, Frisbee Golf, or Frolf) is a sport in which individual players or teams throw a flying disc into a basket or other target. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, "The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc." Disc golf is similar to golf and uses much of the same rules and terminology. Unlike golf, most courses are located in public parks and are free to play.

As of early 2006, there were more than 2000 permanent disc golf courses installed around the world, although the vast majority of them are in the United States. Just like regular golf a typical course will have 18 holes, but each hole averages between 250 and 450 feet rather than yards. Many smaller courses have only 9 holes, while an increasing number of courses offer an additional 9 holes to make 27 available holes to the disc golfer. Many disc golf courses are in open, grassy public parks, but more challenging courses are set in semi-wooded and hilly areas, some quite rough and natural. One good example of a classic long course with wooded hills is De Laveaga Disc Golf Course in Santa Cruz, California, USA.

The target in disc golf is usually a metal basket that is mounted horizontally about three feet in the air, and attached to a pole that is around 5 feet tall. To better allow discs to come to rest in this basket, chains are suspended from another circular section near the top of the pole and allowed to hang limply to a point where they are connected to the pole in or near the receiving basket.

Another common target is the 'Tone Hole.' This is generally a metal pipe, approximately 8" to 10" in diameter, mounted on a sturdy wooden post. Hitting the target is confirmed by the sound of the disc contacting the pipe. 'Natural' holes, being pre-existing natural or man-made features, are occasionally used as well. These targets can be taped on trees or telephone poles as well.

Disc golf is unique in that PDGA and WFDF rules, based in player conservation efforts as well as fair play, make it a violation to cause damage to the course's flora. Fauna are not similarly protected, however. With most courses not requiring greens fees, the relative low cost of discs, and tournament fees still fairly low, the disc golf social structure may be among the most egalitarian and relaxed in organized sports.


There are a wide variety of discs, divided into three basic categories: putters, mid-range discs, and drivers. Within each of these categories, each disc has its own distinct flight characteristics. Some discs fly straight, turn left, or turn right, depending on how they are thrown by the player. The putters are designed similar to discs you would play catch with. They are designed to fly straight and very slow. Mid-range discs have slightly sharper edges, which which makes it so that it can cut through the air with ease. These discs are harder to learn to throw, but can fly much farther. Drivers have the sharpest edge and have most of their mass is concentrated on the outer rim of the disc rather than distributed equally throughout. Drivers are the hardest types of discs to learn how to throw; their flight path will be very unpredictable without practice. There are several classes of drivers intended for different distances: depending on a driver's "stability," it could be a straight or turning driver. Golf discs typically weigh between 150 and 180 grams, and measure about 21-24 cm in diameter. PDGA rules prohibit discs weighing more than 200 grams, or whose weight is more than 8.3 grams per centimeter of diameter.

The most common brands of disc are Innova, Discraft, Gateway, Millennium, DGA, Lightning, DiscWing, Latitude 64, and 1080 Disc Golf.

Discs come in various types of plastic. For example, Innova makes discs in four types of plastic: their "DX" line plastic is the most affordable model, which wears most easily over time; the "Pro" line plastic offers increased durability, an enhanced grip and better glide; the "Champion" line is distinguished by clear or pearlescent plastic, and they are designed to provide maximum durability while retaining their flight characteristics; lastly, the new and most expensive "Star" line is advertised to offers the durability of the Champion plastic with the improved grip of the Pro plastic. Other companies such as Millennium offer discs in their "Millennium" plastic, their improved "Quantum" plastic, Their "Supersoft" line and their top-of-the-line "Sirius" plastic. Discraft offers "D," "X," "Z," and the latest, "ESP," which is similar to Innova's "Star" or Millennium's "Sirius." It is important to note that the durability, glide, performance, and cost of the discs are greatly influenced by the type of plastic. For example, upon impact with a tree, a "DX" plastic disc is much more likely to become bent or otherwise damaged -- and therefore change its flight characteristics -- than is a "Champion" plastic disc. The trade-off is that a premium-plastic disc often costs about twice as much as the same mold in low-grade plastic. Many players swear by the cheaper plastic, claiming that D or DX discs that have been "seasoned" to varying degrees have more desirable flight characteristics; unfortunately, this often necessitates carrying many copies of the same disc in various states of wear.

Players often carry their discs in specialized bags designed to organize their gear. Manufacturers of disc golf-specific bags include REVOLUTION Disc Golf, Innova, Discraft, and Lightning.

The stability depends on the weight, size, speed and shape of the disc. Stability is increased when the player is able to "snap" the disc off the fingers, giving it a high rate of spin and therefore a lot of angular momentum. A disc that is overstable for one player may be stable or even understable for another.

Throwing into the wind will make a disc fly more understable than it usually does, due to the higher airspeed. For a right-hand backhand thrower, this means that a disc will turn more to the right than it would normally. Therefore, to maintain a straight line, an overstable disc (i.e. one that turns to the left normally) should be thrown into the wind. An understable disc will be more likely to turn over (or flip) when thrown into the wind. For a right-hand backhand thrower, this will result in a dramatic right turn. The headwind will also cause the disc not to fade back to the left at all. Throwing with the wind will cause the opposite effects: a disc will behave as if it is more overstable, so players usually choose a more understable disc in a tailwind.

Each disc is also meant to be thrown within a certain speed range. If the disc is thrown slower than that range, it will fly overstable (to the left). Conversely, if the disc is thrown faster than that speed range, it will fly understable (to the right). The directions given in parentheses are for right-hand backhand throwers. A common example of this is when a beginner purchases a disc that is designed for pro-level players with extremely strong throws. This disc, in the hands of a beginner with a weak arm, will curve hard to the left (overstable), not giving them much distance at all.

The disc spin, angle upon release, and air speed (partially related to arm speed) are important control factors. The Bernoulli principle of flight allows the disc to achieve lift, when the air flows over the top of the disc, faster than the bottom of it. As a disc gets older and is used often (Banged into trees, rocks, targets, etc.) it will normally become more and more understable. The roller, which segues smoothly from the air to the ground, can far exceed the distance of a regular forearm or backhand throw. Disc geometry is crucial as only certain discs will roll well.


Disc golf has probably been played since the early 1900s. But the modern day disc golf started in the late 60's. George Sappenfield, a man from California, realized that golf would be a lot of fun if played with FrisbeesĀ®. He set up an object course for kids to play on. The early FrisbeeĀ® Golf Courses were "Object Courses" using anything from lamp poles to fire hydrants as targets and begin to crop up in the Midwest and East Coast. A year later Sappenfield introduced the game to many other FrisbeeĀ® players. Many of them brought the game back to the U.C. Berkeley campus. It quickly became popular and they laid out a permanent course in 1970.

The first standardized target course was put in by "Steady Ed" Headrick, a great flying disc innovator known as the "Father of Disc Golf", in what was then known as Oak Grove Park in La Canada Flintridge, California. (Today the park is known as Hahamonga Watershed Park). This park is immediately to the south of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which supplied at least a few of the earliest players. Ed worked for the San Gabriel, California-based Wham-O Corporation and is credited for pioneering the modern era of disc sports.

Ed Headrick coined and trademarked the term "Disc Golf" when formalizing the sport and invented the Disc Pole Hole, the first disc golf target to incorporate chains and a basket on a pole. Headrick founded, the Disc Golf Association (DGA), the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) and the Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA) and worked on standardizing the rules and the equipment for the quickly growing sport. Ed open sourced his trademark term "Disc Golf" and turned over control and administration of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) to the growing body of Disc Golf players in order to focus his passion for building and inventing equipment for the sport. Upon his death, Headrick was cremated and his ashes were made into a limited number of discs per his wishes. The discs were given to friends and family and are sold with all proceeds from the sales going to a nonprofit fund for the "Steady" Ed Memorial Disc Golf Museum at the PDGA International Disc Golf Center in Augusta, Georgia.

The modern disc golf target consists of a metal basket with chains hanging over it and was invented in 1976.