Understanding the Official Rules of Disc Golf for 2024
Disc golf is a young and developing sport. To keep up with increasing player numbers, more money entering the sport, and countless other changes over time, the PDGA proposes and approves updates to the Official Rules of Disc Golf. By keeping what works and changing what doesn’t, each update helps to zero in on the fairest, most-practical set of rules to suit our evolving game.
Below are the most important changes for 2024, likely to affect everyone from Ams at C-tiers to touring pros. These changes took effect at all PDGA-sanctioned events starting January 1st. Visit the PDGA’s website for a comprehensive list of updates to this year’s Official Rules.
803.01 MOVING OBSTACLES
The PDGA has greatly broadened the area in which you can move casual obstacles. You may now “move casual obstacles that are on the playing surface farther from the target than the front edge of the lie.” This change comes in response to players wanting to clear debris in their runup, but not being allowed by the old rule.
“A casual obstacle is any item or collection of loose debris (such as stones, leaves, twigs, or unconnected branches), or any item as designated by the Director.” If it is not a part of the course, a living plant, or attached to a part of the course or a living plant, you can move it as long as part of the obstacle is behind your lie.
What if a branch is on the ground mostly in front of my lie, but partly behind it? Can I move it?
According to the PDGA, “If part of the branch is anywhere on the playing surface behind the front of your lie, you’re allowed to move it, even if another part is closer to the hole than the back of your marker.”
What if a branch is entirely behind my lie, dead, but hanging off a live tree and not touching the ground? Can I move it?
The PDGA says, “No. Since it is not on the playing surface behind your marker, it has the same status as a healthy, connected branch. You will have to play around it.”
Every player will be required to keep an independent scorecard, recording scores for each other member of their card for the entire round at PDGA-sanctioned events. Tournament directors will be required to provide every player with a means of keeping score, either digitally or on paper. Players can only delegate scorekeeping to their designated caddy.
A player who submits a scorecard with their own score incorrect will receive a two stroke penalty. A player who submits a scorecard with another player’s score incorrect will receive no penalty, as long as it was a simple mistake. You will receive no penalty if one of your cardmates records your score incorrectly. Intentionally recording someone else’s score incorrectly or putting down numbers at random violates section 3.03 of the Disc Golf Competition Manual enforcing “a professional standard of sporting ethics, courtesy, and integrity.”
3.02 PACE OF PLAY
The PDGA has introduced a new way for Tournament Directors to keep up pace of play during tournament rounds. Officials and TDs now have the ability to put an entire card ‘on the clock’ for playing too slowly. “On the clock means that a Tournament Official will accompany the group and actively time each player” making sure each throw is compliant with the 30 second rule until the group is taken off the clock. Warnings and penalty strokes will be issued on an individual basis each time a card member takes more time than their allotted 30 seconds. If the entire group continues to play too slowly, all players on the card will be issued an excessive time violation. Reasons a group might be put on the clock include taking scores by the basket of the previous hole or not starting a timer when a card member loses a disc.
Proposed Rule Changes That Won’t Take Effect for 2024
There were a couple major rule changes proposed for 2024 that won’t be taking effect. It was proposed that C-tier registration would be limited to only PDGA members and a new D-tier would be created for certain flex-start tournaments. These two changes will not be taking effect for 2024. Non-PDGA members can still pay the extra fee to enter C-tiers without joining the PDGA. Flex starts will maintain their C-tier status.