What Is Disc Golf? Learn to Play Frisbee Golf and the Equipment Needed for Frolf!

Disc golf, frisbee golf, or my wife’s favorite frolf is one of the fastest growing sports in the world because it’s simple and inexpensive to play.

So it’s no surprise you’ve stumbled across this article, answering the decades-old question, “What is disc golf?”

In short, disc golf is a flying disc game where you attempt to throw your disc or frisbee into the basket in as few throws as possible.

There’s much more to the game than that simple explanation, so keep reading to discover the rules of disc golf, what equipment you need for disc golf, and where to play disc golf!

What is Disc Golf?

The history of disc golf goes much further back in history than most people think and it’s astounding it didn’t become a competitive sport sooner.

Disc golf is similar in concept to traditional golf, but instead of hitting balls with clubs, players throw specially designed discs, sometimes called frisbees.

The objective is to throw the discs into a target, usually a metal basket, in as few throws as possible.

Like ball golf, disc golf features various holes, each with a designated par score. Players move through the course, completing each hole and tallying their scores as they progress.

At the end of the round, the disc golfer with the lowest score (fewest throws) wins.

The Rules of Disc Golf

Disc golf rules govern gameplay and ensure fair play and sportsmanship; click the link to view the official PDGA Rules.

Most disc golfers use a simplified set of rules because there are many ways to play the game, such as limiting the number or type of discs for each player, alternating shots, and many others. Foundation does an excellent job of creating new ways to play disc golf on their YouTube Channel if you ever need any ideas.

Below are the basic rules of disc golf:

1. Tee Shot

Players start each hole from a designated tee. The throw must be made with at least one foot within the tee box, and both feet must be on the ground during the throw (you can step to throw).

2. Fairway & Approach Shots

After the initial tee throw, subsequent throws are made from where the disc lands. Players must establish a supporting point behind the spot where the previous throw landed. The other foot may be in any position that’s not closer to the basket than where the disc landed, including in contact with the marker disc.

3. Completion of a Hole

A hole is considered complete when the disc rests in the target. This means the disc must be sitting in the chains or basket, not on top of the basket. The player then proceeds to the next hole.

4. Scoring

Players keep track of their throws on a scorecard. The number of throws it takes to complete a hole determines the score. The player with the lowest overall score at the end of the round is the winner.

5. Out-of-Bounds (OB)

Certain areas on the course may be designated as out-of-bounds. If a throw lands out-of-bounds, a penalty stroke is added, and the player must throw from a designated drop zone, from the previous lie, or from where the disc was last in bounds, depending on the specific rules of the course and tournament director.

6. Mandatory (Mando)

Some courses have a “Mando” sign, which forces disc golfers to go around certain trees or hit specific gaps; otherwise, a stroke is added to their score, or they throw their next shot from the drop zone.

7. Disc Golf Etiquette

Disc golf, like any sport, has its own etiquette. Players should be respectful of other players on the course, avoid distracting movements or noises during others’ throws, and follow any additional course-specific etiquette rules.

Disc Golf Equipment

Disc golf is exploding in popularity because it requires very little equipment to get started, and the equipment is inexpensive.

All you need are a few discs, but as with any sport, there is plenty of other disc golf gear to buy as you trek deeper into the realm of disc golf.

1. Discs

Disc golf discs are all you really need to play disc golf (assuming you’re playing at a disc golf course). They come in various weights and types, each designed for specific flight patterns. Knowing how many discs you need to play disc golf with will help you gain an advantage on the course!

Check out our disc buying guide for help with purchasing your first or 10th disc!

2. Disc Golf Bag

Now that you have a few discs, you’ll likely want a bag to carry and keep them organized.

Disc golf bags come in various sizes and styles to accommodate different numbers of discs.

They often have additional compartments for storing accessories such as water bottles, towels, keys, and phones.

Disc golf carts have also exploded in popularity because you can pull them around instead of carrying your discs all over the countryside, and some disc golf carts double as a seat.

3. Mini-Marker Disc

A marker disc, also known as a mini, is a small disc that marks the spot where the previous throw landed. It ensures that players accurately establish their supporting point for subsequent throws.

Casual disc golfers don’t need a mini, but if you plan to play competitively, you will need one.

4. Scorecard and Pencil

Keeping track of scores is an essential part of disc golf. Scorecards and pencils are used to record the number of throws taken on each hole, allowing players to keep a running total of their scores.

There are also many disc golf apps that will help you track your score; my favorite is UDisc.

Disc Golf Courses

There are disc golf courses being created all over the world. Many courses are in city parks, public areas, and part of golf courses, whereas other disc golf courses are privately owned, and you must pay to play a round.

Hole Layout

Disc golf courses consist of multiple holes, each with a unique layout. The layout includes the teeing area, fairway, and basket.

Each hole presents its challenges regarding distance, obstacles, and terrain.

There are par 3, par 4, and par 5 holes, depending on the distance and difficulty of the hole. A par 3 is generally 350 feet or less, a par 4 is 350 to 450 feet, and a par 5 is 450+ feet long. Sometimes, a par 3 might be 400 feet long to make the course more challenging.

Course Design

Serious disc golf course designers carefully plan each hole’s layout to create various shot opportunities and challenges. Distance, terrain, and vegetation are considered when designing a course.

There are beginner-friendly, intermediate, and professional courses, all with varying degrees of difficulty.

Benefits of Playing Disc Golf

Playing disc golf has many benefits. I could write an entire article documenting them, and I might someday, but for now, here are the ones that come to mind.

  • Exercise by walking around the course and throwing discs.
  • Getting outside into nature, even if it’s just a city park.
  • Socializing: humans are social creatures and enjoy being around other people.

Frequently Asked Questions: What is Disc Golf?

Is disc golf the same as frisbee golf?

Yes, disc golf is the same as frisbee golf. Though most serious disc golfers don’t like the term frisbee golf because they use discs, not frisbees.

What is the golden rule in disc golf?

The golden rule in disc golf is to treat others the way you would want to be treated. So don’t behave properly, don’t take an excessive amount of time to throw, and don’t rage out if you’re playing badly.

Is disc golf a cheap sport?

Yes, disc golf is a cheap sport. Discs cost anywhere from $12-$30 apiece, and you only need a few discs to get started playing.

How many discs are allowed in disc golf?

There is no limit to the number of discs that are allowed in disc golf.

How many discs does a beginner need?

A beginner needs 3 discs, a putter, a mid-range, and a fairway driver.

Final Putt: What is Disc Golf?

You can now answer your friends when they ask, “What is Disc Golf?”.

Confidently saying, “Disc golf is a dynamic and engaging sport combining precision, strategy, and outdoor enjoyment.”

Or you can grab your discs, find a course near you, and embark on an adventure in the world of disc golf with them!

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