A Virtuous Disc Golfer’s 9 Disc Golf Etiquette Rules

These disc golf etiquette rules were inspired by Arnold Palmer’s Rules for Golf Etiquette …

Disc golfers have a way of returning favors. At least “good disc golfers” do. I do not play consistently and most of the time I am barely a B-rated rated player, but I consider myself a good disc golfer because being a good disc golfer means more than having a score well under par at the end of the round. If you are a good disc golfer then you are being responsible to yourself, the game, the disc golf course, and the other players. It could be said you are a virtuous disc golfer.

Here are my disc golf etiquette suggestions for being the virtuous disc golfer.

1. Try to avoid being the slow player. Be honest with yourself – if we are always waiting for you to finish up or forgetting that you haven’t even holed out yet then you are the slowest player. You don’t have to hurry up, just play fast enough to stay fairly close to the group in front of you. When it is your turn to putt then be ready. Don’t stop and then decide which disc to use only to grab the one you always use. Did you lose your disc? 3 minutes is what you get if you have someone waiting for you to hole out. If needed encourage everyone to play ready golf.

2. Don’t lose your cool. Ok, so its obvious you are not going to win the doubles round. Does that mean you suddenly quit playing your best? Do you lose your temper because you missed the 7 foot putt? Are you gonna curse now? Poor baby. If you decide to be an assclown and you make your cardmates wish they were somewhere else then consider taking up a different sport – like yoga – please.

3. Be the tree. In other words don’t distract other players when it is their turn to play. Shut up and stand still while the other player takes a stance and the disc is released. You expect others to do it for you so try to do it for them.

4. Try to look decent. First impressions are everything! One day I am playing disc golf in a tournament (The Sizzler) and wouldn’t you know a newspaper reporter decides to join us on our card. Guess who was wearing shorts with massive holes in them???!!! Dressing like I didn’t give a damn didn’t make me much of a disc golf ambassador. Needless to say I did not make the front page the next day. Today’s sportswear can be comfortable so I should check out Under Armor one of these days.

5. Try not to let me know you have a cell phone. I am just as guilty. Sometimes I forget to turn mine off. And I can count on at least  one individual to call me at the worst time – like right in the middle of my partner’s drive. Do whatever it takes to shut your device up. If you have to make a call step away and keep it short. No one should know your cell phone exists.

6. Help out your fellow players. Another trait of the virtuous disc golfer is willingness to help out. Good disc golf etiquette ensures that all players in the group assist in searching for any lost discs. Besides, that is the rule. It is helpful to watch the shot to prevent it from being lost in the first place. Help a lost disc golfer and show them where hole 1 is, or where the restrooms are, or the park office, etc. It also helps to pick up an item or 2 of litter now and again.

7. Return the lost disc. Returning the disc will make sure you get yours back. This is karma at its best. I ALWAYS return discs. Recently I was contacted by a guy on facebook named Ryan Craig. He showed me a picture of my bag which was stolen several years ago. He offered to return my discs and bag – and then didn’t. I guess there are people who think cruel hoaxes are real f@#$%n funny. All I have to say is that you mess with karma then expect karma to mess back. I bet he drinks Bud Light to boot! Speaking of which . . .

8. Stop drinking Bud Light and throwing your cans and bottles on the course. Drinking beer on the course is not necessarily bad disc golf etiquette, but his past weekend I played disc golf on a local executive golf course and sure enough, the litter spotted was Bud Light bottles like the ones available at the bar. Bud Light is full of GMO corn syrup anyway! Maybe if you spend an extra $1.75 on a 12 pack you won’t litter. You see Bud Light cans and bottles on the ground anytime someone chooses to throw crap on the ground. The same can be said of cigarettes. These are the most found items on any disc golf course. Each cigarette butt and beer bottle costs you one stroke on your scorecard! The virtuous disc golfer maintains a good course for the other disc golfers and as I mentioned before, picks up litter on occasion.

Do you drink this crap?? Then keep it off my course!!

9. Stop buying plastic bottles of water. Buying plastic bottles of water and then throwing them away in to the landfill is such a waste. Plastic pollutes when it is manufactured, when it is being used, and when it is disposed of. Plus plastic is full of funky stuff. Buy reusable bottles instead and bring them with you. Let the other disc golfers know you do not do the plastic thing anymore!

Those miscellaneous items. You know what they are. Basically they are anything that can enhance or spread the sport in any way. Showing your respect for the sport and each other is another example of disc golf etiquette. Remember that we are all disc golf ambassadors 24/7. Spread the sport people. 

Suffice to say disc golf and disc golfers do repay favors. The virtuous disc golfer knows this. Be the good player by exhibiting good disc golf etiquette and you will be the virtuous player. It is important to respect our culture and abide by our established disc golf etiquette rules. I could be the best player, but if I am a d-bag I am not the virtuous player. I am not the good player.

What do you think?




I would add two other rules.
– don’t smoke weed on the course! most courses are on public land and weed attracts the wrong kind of attention from authorities and the people with purses strings, plus it carries forward stereotypes.
– support the sport in your own way (money, time teaching others, course work days) likely anything you put into the sport will be returned


I have a little issue with #1. I am a novice player, so my throws aren’t near as far as the rest of the players on my card, so we are always having to stop for me to walk up to my disc and make my throw a few times before we reach the rest of the card. During my first tournament, the guys on my card (three of them were definitely sandbaggers, their scores beating everyone out not just in the rec league but also in the intermediate division), kept grumbling and complaining whenever we had to stop to wait for me to advance my disc. I guess they weren’t too aware of the idea of “be the tree”. After about three holes, I found myself being psyched out by these baggers and was trying to “keep up with the big boys” by putting a lot of power into my throws, move quickly up to my disc to throw again before they could start with the complaints. I pushed myself too hard and ended up pulling a muscle which ruined my game for the rest of the tournament. Yes, you do need to be conscious of holding everyone up, but at the same time, the rest of the card needs to be aware that not everyone on the course plays like they do.

Some advice that has done me well on all my tournaments since then is to play your own game at your own pace. That doesn’t mean crawl like a snail, but don’t allow others to move at a pace that throws off your game. Relax and play your game and all will be cool.

On the subject of baggers, maybe that should be one of the rules for being a virtuous disc golfer – play in the proper division. One player I spoke with said he coaches people like this – stay in your division until you place in the top 3 spots two or three times in a row. Then, advance up to the next level and start over.


801.04 section C reads “…Players should take care not to produce any auditory or visual distractions while other players are throwing. Distracting actions include: shouting, cursing, freestyling, striking course equipment, throwing out of turn, throwing or kicking golf bags, throwing minis, and advancing on the fairway beyond the away player…”
If you play with ball golfers like we did last Saturday then slower pace may be an issue. During a casual round it is not an issue. At the tournament level you are just going to have to do your best as far as being slow. As your game improves it will be less and less of an issue.

Scott A

All great points Zach and I know what you mean about not being able to throw as far as others. I have had the same problem myself in past tourneys with rude and self-centered disc golfers who think only 300+ feet disc hurlers should play the sport.

As for sandbagging, I think it should go by that person’s score and not their placement on where they play in future tournaments. If the top 20 players in rec are playing less than 10 over par, those players are really playing at an intermediate level type of play. I read on another site (which I go by to determine the division someone should be playing in) the following:

Recreational: Score range: 63+
Intermediate: Score range: <63
Advanced: Score range: < 58

I'm trying to remember the site I read this on…oh yeah, it was PDGA.com! I constantly score over 63+ and played on a rec card at the "Fun & Sun" in Clearwater Florida in late April 2014. The other players on my card all were throwing under 63 and were saying that they would keep playing rec because it guaranteed them high finishes. Their ratings would actually go up more if they played in intermediate, but they wouldn't listen to me saying this. They also wouldn't listen to me saying what I read on the PDGA site because they were making up their own beliefs as to what a rec player really was supposed to be. In their mind, I would be a novice player even though novice by definition means someone who has very little experience. I have been playing disc golf for almost 2 years, so I have the experience…I just don't play the game every day where I can play as good as the other "rec" players (aka sandbaggers).


Good tips, but I would include carpooling. It seems at most tournaments that I attend, most people come solo. Also, I find the bit about plastic bottles ironic since disc golf is an activity that is based on plastic.


More good points by Mergz
I think that would fall under the helpful category and respect for the sport/environment overall. I am trying to restore a post I did on plastic and disc golf and recycling.


I’m cool with everything but 4. I enjoy being me on the disc course which usually means a funny tee shirt and showing off my leg tattoos. I’m not comfortable in “active wear” and I’m definitely not going brand hunting. I also work for the local newspaper lol!


I have two additional “rules”:

If it’s crowded, no five or six-somes. Annoying even if it’s not crowded.

If it’s crowded, play ready disc golf (until it’s putting time). Unless you’ll be in someone line of flight or a distraction, walk to your disc to size up your shot. If someone’s shot falls short of yours, don’t wait for the player to get to the disc and throw again. You throw then wait or move. Again, this applies for shots that are not putts (or near putts (defined as a shot where you have a double digit percentage chance of making)).

Spencer Kahla

Another thing to add, let people pass you. If your playing slow (which is something I myself am guilty of). Don’t be stubborn. Some people play fast. And some play slow. Don’t make a group that is playing faster play your speed. It’s inconsiderate. And it makes disc golfing less enjoyable. Nobody likes having to wait 5-10 minutes at each tee pad. It gets tedious.


Good point! Letting others play through makes the game enjoyable for us all. A 6 top holding up 4 top can be frustrating.

Mr. Berbet

PDGA has a ratings system…in my opinion if they don’t want 880+ players playing rec then they need to change the scale. 3-4 over par at most events isn’t even over a 900 rated round which is still rec level folks.

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