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What to Do When You Find a Lost Disc and Other Etiquette on the Disc Golf Course

When you are new to a hobby, there are certain actions that veteran players do unconsciously as a part of respect. In bowling, this means you wait to throw until after the person in either lane next to you throws. In softball, you avoid a freshly chalked line, and when approaching a stop sign at the same time as another car, the person on your right goes first. Disc golf is no different, so here are some rules so you can follow to be respectful on the course.

  1. Return lost discs

I’ll admit, I’m someone who scavenges OB areas looking for lost discs to add to my bag, but if they have a name and cell phone or PDGA number, I return them to their owners.

Hole 3 at Twining Park is notorious for losing discs, and when I first started playing in May of 2020, I lost a disc in the pines on that hole. I kept coming back, looking for it, until one day I found the same model in a different plastic. It had a name a number on it, but I missed my disc so much that I just kept it.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I want you to learn from my mistakes. I have since returned the disc to its owner and every other one I’ve found with a name and number on it. Not only is a lost disc a financial loss, but it sucks to lose a staple in your bag that you rely on and know what it does.

So, when you find a disc with a name and number on it, you have a couple options. One, text or call the number on the disc and arrange for a meet-up place and time. If you are not from the area, a simple text telling the owner where you found the disc is also helpful. Some people also reach out on Facebook. If there is a name and a PDGA number, you can look the person up on the PDGA website, get their location, and have a more accurate search on Facebook.

With that said, I highly encourage you to put your name and number on your discs. I’ve lost a couple of mine and have been fortunate enough to get them returned each time; disc golfers are good people who understand what it’s like to lose a disc and want it back.

  1. Follow order

When starting out, it doesn’t really matter who throws first. After the first hole though, the order is dependent on the previous hole’s results. If you throw par, but your friend throws a birdie, they will throw before you on the next hole. The order is not dependent on score. Even if you are beating your friend, they will throw before you if they beat you on the last hole.

During each hole, the person farthest from the pin throws first. When they are throwing limit distractions. This includes any sort of noise or unnecessary movement. If the shot is close to the pin, stay clear of the basket. No matter what, though, stay behind the person that is throwing.

I learned this the hard way early on. I went to my disc while my brother drove from the teepad, and he hit me square in the shoulder. I fell to the ground partly in pain and partly in shock. I was lucky he didn’t hit me in the neck.

My dad also got hit by my cousin and it left a nice cut on his head. Disc golf is not a contact sport, don’t make it one.

  1. Let faster throwers play through

If you are in a large group or are less experienced and take longer to get done with a hole, let faster players go ahead of you. This allows for faster game play for everyone and limits wait time.

On a similar note, if there is a large group starting just before you that you want to avoid, you can choose to start on a different hole. Make sure, though, that this doesn’t cause waits or problems for other groups on the course.

I’ve played by myself plenty of times when doing course reviews, and groups are nice enough to let me play through without having to ask. If not, always be polite in asking to play through.

  1. Shovel teepads

Trying to throw on a slick or covered teepad in the winter can be dangerous. If you are going to play at your local course or a course you play often after a snowfall, consider bringing a shovel along.

Not only will this help your game but everyone else’s who plays after you. Plus, the sooner snow and ice get cleared from the teepads the easier it is. After a couple of days, the snow and ice stick to the pads more, making them nearly unusable.

  1. Use common sense

Some rules are more straight forward than others, but I’ll spell them out for everyone so you can’t say you never knew.

Respect the park. This includes disposing of your trash in appropriate locations. If there aren’t any trash cans near the current hole, keep it in your bag or your pocket until one is available.

Do not damage or deface park property. As much as we all hate hitting branches or trees, this does not give you permission to cut them down. If the park has other playground or sporting equipment, use it properly or leave it alone. You’d hate if someone damaged a basket, so don’t damage someone else’s fun.

Leave bathrooms as clean as you found them. This means placing paper towels in the garbage, disposing of toiletries in their appropriate containers, and making sure the sinks and toilets aren’t clogged.

Music on speaker is okay, but make sure it’s at a reasonable volume. Ask to play your music before starting. If not everyone is okay with it, considering bringing along headphones. If you are playing music on a speaker, make sure it is appropriate. My home course is near retirement housing and a park frequented by kids, so I don’t think they want to hear the f-bomb every other word.

There are plenty or other rules to discuss, so I thought I’d end the post with a funny video made by Prodigy that covers some of them.

Overall, play to have fun and make sure others have fun too.

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