Disc Golf Etiquette: How to Conduct Yourself on the Course
The rules of disc golf are straightforward — get the disc into the basket in as few throws as possible. But, there’s also an important set of rules about how to conduct yourself on a disc golf course.
Proper disc golf etiquette is crucial for keeping the game safe and fun and ensuring that disc golf is respected as a sport.
Here, you’ll find our list of the top disc golf etiquette rules to follow on the course. These basic rules will educate you on how to act on the course, how to stay safe and keep other players safe on the course, and how to ensure a smooth flow of play.
The Top Disc Golf Etiquette Tips
1. Respect Other Players
The top disc golf etiquette tip is respecting other players — and anyone on or near the course. This also applies to respecting the discs and property of other players.
Always treat other players and bystanders respectfully and kindly — and remember, when you are on the course, you are representing the entire sport. Be sure to be courteous, kind, and thoughtful of other players and park-goers.
2. Respect the Disc Golf Course
Many Perth disc golf courses are publicly funded and free to play on — what a wonderful benefit we get to enjoy as disc golfers!
Respecting the rules of each course ensures that other disc golfers can continue to enjoy free or low-priced courses and helps ensure the safety of players and bystanders.
Rules will vary from course to course, making it important to learn the local ordinances and follow the course rules.
In general, here are some general disc golf course rules players are expected to follow:
- Do not play in a public park if it is closed
- Follow the designated path for each hole
- Avoid damaging the course
- If a park says no alcohol allowed, do not drink on the course
- Follow the parks hours — If the park lists that it closes at dusk, make sure to finish up and leave by dusk
- If the disc golf course is a public park, be aware of bystanders and be courteous to other players and all park guests
- If you are on a golf course, observe any posted signs and follow the course rules (never drive a golf cart on tee pads or greens and stay on designated paths)
- Do not rip informational markers off of holes
- Do your part to keep up the course — many of these courses are free to use, do your part to help maintain it by being respectful of the course (more on this below)
3. Pick Up After Yourself
One of the biggest aspects of respecting a disc golf course is picking up after yourself or your group. The general rule? If you bring it in, bring it out.
Dispose properly of any trash and, better yet, pick up any trash you find on the course. Your goal should be to leave the disc golf course the same as you found it, or better.
If the course has a trash can, you may dispose of your litter there. If not, have a trash bag handy so you can pack out any trash you create.
4. Never Risk Hitting Someone
One of the most important disc golf etiquette rules to follow is protecting those around you. Your ultimate goal as a disc golfer is to ensure the safety of yourself, other players, and everyone around you.
When it comes to possibly hitting another player, someone’s pet, or a park-goer with a disc — never take a chance. Always be aware of your surroundings and ensure that you have a clear shot before you throw. If in doubt, do not throw the disc.
Many disc golf courses are at public parks where bystanders may be completely unaware of the sport or course. If you notice a person or group of people who are unknowingly blocking the fairway, politely explain to the person what you are doing and see if they will briefly move out of the way.
Talk with a person who isn’t willing to move? Simply be polite and move on to the next hole. In a public park, everyone has the right to be there. It is better to politely skip the hole than to put someone in harm’s way or risk damaging the sport’s reputation.
If you ever do accidentally throw toward another player or bystander, loudly yell ‘FORE’ and be sure to follow up and apologise.
5. Observe the Rules of the Game
To keep yourself, other players, and any bystanders safe — as well as learn how to play disc golf correctly — study and learn the official rules of disc golf.
The Professional Disc Golf Association has a convenient breakdown of The Official Rules of Disc Golf for reference.
6. Do Not Be A Distraction
It is important to be respectful of other players on the course, as well as other park-goers. Here are some general rules to follow on the course to ensure you are not a distraction to anyone:
- Do not play loud music on the course — keep the volume on your speakers low or, better yet, use earbuds
- Do not talk when someone is throwing
- Stand behind a player and out of their line of sight when they are throwing — never walk in front of a player who is throwing, stand too close to them, or touch them
- Do not open a loud, crinkly package or open a soda when a player is throwing
7. Limit Group Sizes
If you have a large group, consider splitting it up into smaller groups. For instance, a crew of eight players should split up into two groups of four.
Large groups of players lead to congestion on the course and can be frustrating for other groups. Also, playing in a smaller group will likely be more fun for you too. Waiting for seven other players to throw before you can get tiresome. Smaller groups keep things moving smoothly and make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
8. Do Not Hold Up Other Players
It is important to pay attention to other players and groups to make sure you aren’t holding anyone up. If you notice another group quickly approaching you, check with your group first before offering to let the other group move in front of you. Wait at the next tee for the group and kindly let them know they can move ahead of your group if they wish.
On the course, work on keeping up a reasonable rate of play. While some shots are technical and require extra preparation, avoid overthinking every single shot or keeping up a long pre-shot routine that holds up other players in your group.
If your group catches up to another group and is getting held up, respectfully ask the group if you can play through.
If you are behind a group, always wait for them to finish the hole before starting your turn.
9. Be Mindful When Jumping Holes
It is generally fine to jump holes, but make sure you aren’t cutting in front of another player or group. If you want to jump to a different hole, make sure there isn’t another group behind you that may end up getting forced to wait for you.
Also, be aware that some disc golf courses located next to ball golf courses do not allow skipping holes or starting anywhere but hole 1.
10. Wait for Other Players to Putt or Throw
If you notice a nearby playing throwing or putting, consider pausing your throw until they finish theirs. Waiting is a simple sign of respect and can prevent the other player from getting distracted.
11. Help Find Lost Discs
Notice a player who is missing a disc? If the person is in your group, definitely use proper disc golf etiquette and help them out. If the player is in another group, consider taking a break from your game and offer to help them look for it if you have the time.
If you find a disc, check to see if the owner has listed their information on it. Players often list their email addresses or phone numbers on their golf discs (a great idea!). If the disc has contact info, make sure to get the disc back to the owner. If the disc only has a name, ask around your group or check with other groups to see if anyone is missing a disc.
You can also check local disc golf groups on social media to see if anyone posts about a missing disc.
12. Practice Good Sportsmanship
Another important disc golf etiquette tip is practising good sportsmanship. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of disc golf sportsmanship:
- Don’t criticise another player’s technique or game — Criticising another disc golfer can make you look bad and may cause someone to lose their enthusiasm for the sport.
- Don’t offer unsolicited advice — A few helpful tips and friendly insight may be appreciated by a disc golf newbie. But make sure your advice is wanted. Offering tips to a player that didn’t ask or offering constant advice can come off as offensive or irritating.
- Do offer motivation and encouragement — “Great throw!” or other motivational words can be an excellent way to support your fellow players.
- Don’t brag — It’s exciting to have a great round and it’s fine to be proud of yourself, but don’t overdo it on the self-praise.
- Do keep your cool — Bad shots are frustrating but you should avoid displays of kicking, shouting expletives, or anger. It is distracting to other players and can give observers/park-goers a bad impression of the sport.
- Do move on — If you have a bad hole, try to shake it off and move on rather than focusing on it for the rest of the game. Constantly talking about a bad shot you had can take the fun out of the game for everyone else.
- Don’t cheat — Always be fair and honest in your play
- Do handle disagreements respectfully — Disagree on a score? Be calm and respectful when handling any disagreements with your fellow players.
13. Use Your Mobile phone Sparingly
Need to send out a quick text, track your score, or want to snap a picture of a cool hole? Go ahead! But constantly snapping pictures at every hole or sending out messages throughout the game can get annoying for other players. Mobile phone use becomes especially troublesome on the course if it holds up other groups.
Pay attention to your mobile phone use and make sure it isn’t holding up any other players, including those in your group or players in a group behind you.
14. Do Not Damage Branches or Trees on the Course
Have a branch in the way of your shot? Breaking a branch to ensure you have a clear throwing path is completely against the rules.
Never damage any trees or branches on a disc golf course. Along with damaging the property itself, you also risk damaging the reputation of the sport.
If you are facing an obstacle, do your best to — safely — throw around it.
15. Remove Your Golf Disc from the Basket
It is common courtesy to remove your golf disc from the basket right away, also known as ‘clearing the basket’. This prevents your disc from potentially blocking another player’s disc from staying in the basket.
16. Wait Until a Shot Lands Before Complimenting Another Player
It may sound a little superstitious, but it is considered courteous to hold your compliments until a shot lands. Many players believe that commenting “nice shot!” while the disc is still in the air can cause it to get caught by an unexpected wind gust or roll poorly once it lands. If you’re playing with an experienced group, hold your compliments until a disc lands.
17. Represent the Sports Well
Every time you are playing disc golf, you are representing the sport. We have an awesome, fast-growing community that is full of enthusiastic, supportive players.
When on a disc golf course, consider wearing cargo shorts, tennis shoes, and a nice shirt as opposed to torn or ratty clothes. Even a simple t-shirt and a pair of athletic shorts are fine outfit choice that still looks put together. Try to look professional, act professional, and treat others — both players and bystanders — with respect
Players who are disrespectful put a strain on disc golf’s reputation and can tarnish the professional image so many players have worked hard to earn. Conducting yourself properly and respectfully helps protect the integrity of the sport and builds up disc golfers as an organised, professional group.
18. Be Aware of Tournament Etiquette
For casual play, some disc golf etiquette rules aren’t overly important. But if you play a tournament, make sure to learn about expected behaviour.
For instance, here are some tournament disc golf etiquette tips that differ from the casual play:
- Groups are required to stay in the same order during rounds
- Players are expected to actively help other players look for lost discs
- Players must stay behind the furthest person out (the person who is farthest from the basket throws first)
Here’s a look at the Australian Disc Golf Code of Conduct for tournaments if you are interested in learning more.
Want More Disc Golf Tips?
We hope our list of disc golf etiquette tips helps you enjoy the sport in a fun, considerate, respectful, and safe manner. The following disc, golf etiquette ensures a smooth flow of play for everyone on the course and helps maintain the integrity and reputation of the sport.
Our goal is to grow the sport of disc golf and share our love of the sport with as many people as possible. One of the biggest ways we do this is through our blog where we share beginner disc golf tips and more — but we also love giving personalised advice to beginner disc golfers.
If you aren’t sure which disc golf starter set is right for you, how many golf discs you need to start with, or how to choose the best distance drivers, please contact us. We love chatting about disc golf and helping players find the discs that will help them grow their skills and advance their game.