Disc golf has a vocabulary of its own. There are lots of “words” you’ll hear on the disc golf course that you won’t hear anywhere else. This guide is designed to help you understand the different disc golf lingo and help you understand what the avid discers are talking about when you join them for a league or tournament round.
A disc golf tournament type where only paid PDGA members are allowed to play. A-Tier tournaments have at least three rounds, are played over multiple days, and the tournament director is not allowed to play. At the time this dictionary was written, PDGA A-Tier tournaments require a minimum of $3,000 be added to professional players payout purse. Events can only be approved for A-Tier status after multiple years running as a B-Tier event.
Throwing your disc in to the basket on your first shot off the tee box. In disc golf it is common to have any spectators sign the “ace shot” when witnessing a disc golf ace.
Throwing your disc in such a way that the disc suddenly “bounces” or “rises” into the air early into its flight. Throw this type of shot to get beneath low lying branches. Air bounces are commonly used in Ultimate Frisbee, but very difficult to do in disc golf. Disc golf air bounces typically occur accidentally when playing in severe wind.
Albatross (also known as Double Eagle)
An extremely rare occurrence of completing a hole three under par. You can score an Albatross by throwing an deuce on a par 5 hole or a hole in one on a par 4. The most famous ace ever was performed by professional golfer Philo Braithwaite.
A throw that fades the opposite direction of the normal path. To achieve this flight pattern throw the disc with outer edge slightly higher than normal. This is often reffered to as an “Anny.”
Approach (also known as an upshot)
Typically your second throw. The objective of this shot is to position your disc close to the basket.
An agreed upon location established by a players group from which the player is to resume play in the event that the player’s disc is lost, moved, out of bounds, or play was delayed (such as hazardous weather conditions.)
The player whose disc (or lie) is farthest from the basket. The away player throws the next shot. All other players are to stand behind the away player (or wait out of range) until the away player has completed his/her throw. Also known as “out.”
A PDGA B-Tier is a class of tournament that consists of at least two different disc golf rounds and has a minimum of $750 in added cash for pro purse payout.
A throwing style in which the player points their right shoulder towards the target in a RHBH (Right hand back hand) throw. The disc is then pulled across the chest from left to right and released. A backhand throw (RHBH) will cause a normal disc golf disc to fade to the left near the end of its flight.
A token of membership in a disc golf club that includes a number or rank of where you stand based on the last “bag tag round” played. If you have a high bag tag number, and beat a player with a lower number, you “exchange” tags with that player and now you have the lower tag number (until someone with a higher number beats you in a tag round).
Basket (also known as a disc golf target, pole hole or pin)
A disc golf basket is the “target” for every disc golf hole. Discs golf baskets come in many shapes and sizes including permanent, portable, all-metal, and hybrid designs.
An extra rounded ring added to the bottom side of a disc. A beaded disc is typically more stable than its beadless counterpart. Beads are usually more common on mid ranges and putters.
Birdie (also known as “one down” or “one below par”)
Completing a hole one throw under par. Because putting is so much easier in disc golf than traditional golf, birdies are much more attainable for average players.
B.O.B. (Back of the Box)
Refers to the person who throws last due to them getting the worst score on the previous hole.
Bogie (also known as “one up”)
Completing a hole one throw over par. Bogies typically happen when throws hit early obstacles, go out of bounds, or when putts are missed.
A class of disc golf tournament with the least strict requirements. C-Tier events can consist of a single round of disc golf and do not require any additional payout. Disc golfers do not need to be members of the PDGA to play in C-Tier tournaments but if they are not members need to a $10 non member fee.
In tournaments, leagues, and competitive disc golf settings players play in groups called “cards.” Your “card” will all write their scores on a single scorecard to be turned in to the tournament director at the completion of the round
An area of the course that is a hazard but was not designed to be a hazard and will not penalize a player should their disc come to lie in the causal. For example standing water or puddles on a course that are not intended to be a water hazard. If a disc is in a casual then resume play from a lie that is safe but does not advance the disc’s position towards the target.
Chain Out (also known as cut through or blow through)
When a disc hits the basket on a good throw that should score but slips through the chains and falls out the other side.
A 10 meter (32.8 feet) radius from the basket. PDGA regulates that if you’re in the circle, you must show balance until your disc comes to rest in the basket before any part of your body moves past the mini marker towards the basket. Failure to do so can lead to a “falling putt” penalty stroke.
The area between 10 meters and 10 meters used as a key stat in determining long putt success rate for professional disc golfers.
Come Back Putt
A putt (or approach shot) that goes well beyond the basket forcing the player to make a long second putt to complete the hole.
Completing a disc golf hole in two shots.
A plastic circular object used in disc golf commonly referred to as a Frisbee.
Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT)
Professional disc golf company with a focus on providing high quality tournaments with live video broadcasts for professional disc golfers.
A disc golf driver with a very thick rim designed for aerodynamics and maximum distance.
The first shot thrown on a hole from the designated tee box or a full power fairway shot on long holes. A drive does not have to be performed with a driver.
A disc designed for maximum distance from the tee (or a combination of distance and a unique flight path). This is often the most difficult disc to control.
A location on the course where play is resumed after a shot is thrown out-of-bounds, missed as a mandatory, or landed in a protected area.
D.R.O.T. (disc remaining on top)
A disc landing on top of the basket. This shot does not count as “making the putt,” and a stroke is added to finish the round. To complete a hole, your disc must come to rest in the tray or in the chains.
Completing a hole two shots under par. A two on a par four or a three on a par five hole. Also the name of the first bevel edge disc made by Innova Champion Discs.
The path of a disc during the slower portion, or “finish,” of a disc’s flight when it naturally turns left (RHBH) or right (RHFH).
A grip style where the fingers are extended and not wrapped tightly together. This grip style is typically used for shorter control shots.
Typically the most open path between the tee pad and the basket.
Also known as a control driver. The fairway driver has a thinner rim than disc golf that is more similar to a midrange. Fairway drivers have more potential to fly straight without fading than distance drivers. Fairway drivers do not have to be used only on the fairway but can be used off the tee.
A putt after which a player touches or passes his marker disc or any other object beyond the lie (including the playing surface) before demonstrating full balance and control. PDGA rules state that a player must “exhibit balance” until the disc is in the basket or at rest on the ground when throwing from within 10 meters (32.8 feet) of the target. Thus, a follow through step is not allowed when putting inside of 10 meters.
Flex Shot (also known as a helix or s-curve)
A throw in which the disc’s flight path resembles an “s”. This flight pattern is produced by throwing an overstable disc with an anhyzer angle. The disc will travel right (for a RHBH throw), then turn back to the left as it fades at the end of its flight.
A putt thrown with the nose up, or lofted, in order to float the shot into the chains.
Slang for Frisbee gOLF, commonly used in Montana, but not as common as the term Frolf.
Forehand (also know as forearm or sidearm)
A throw that leads with the shoulder of the non-throwing arm. For right-handed players-the left shoulder is pointed towards the target and the right arm extends behind the player and then across the chest (similar to a forehand stroke in tennis).
Another term for disc golf typically used by new players. Frisbee is actually a registered trademark, kind of like Kleenex, and so the technical name of the sport is Disc Golf.
Slang for Frisbee Golf by combining the two words FRisbee and gOLF.
The putting area. Sometimes referred to as the area within the circle but often times refers to the area near the basket where a normal putt shot is possible.
When a disc gets stuck in a players hand causing them to accidentally release later than expected usually causing a poor throw.
Wind blowing directly at you. A disc will fly more understable in a headwind (for RHBH, your disc is more likely to turn right). For best performance, throw more overstable discs when throwing into a headwind.
see “flex shot.” Also the name of several discs manufactured by Lightning Discs.
High Speed Turn
The tendency of a disc to turn right (for RHBH throws) just after release. The degree to which the disc resists a high speed turn determines its stability. Understable discs exhibit a large amount of high speed turn, overstable discs resist the high speed turn. In disc golf flight numbers, the high speed turn is represented in the third number of the flight ratings.
The target, usually a basket. The term “hole” can also encompass the entire play area: tee, fairway, green, and target. This term is taken directly from ball golf as there is no actual hole in disc golf.
Completing a hole, meaning your disc has made it into the target (the disc is supported by the chains or the bottom basket).
An exaggerated hyzer or anhyzer. Also used as a long throw where one throws with all their might.
A throw that has a right-to-left flight pattern (for a RHBH throw). Release the disc with the outer edge (the left edge for RHBH) of the disc slightly lower than normal to throw this shot.
A shot using a stable or an understable disc released with hyzer angle that flips up to flat and depending on the disc will either fly straight, turn right, or fade left at finish. A hyzer flip is useful for narrow fairways and tight shots.
Hyzer Spike (Also known as spike hyzer or knife hyzer)
An extremely deep hyzer angle release that is thrown high, usually with a very overstable disc, with the intent for the disc to drop down almost straight down and stick in a certain area.
Jump Putt (also known as step putt)
A putting technique using a forward jumping motion to increase distance. A jump putt is only legal outside of 10 meters (32.8 feet) from the basket.
A strategic throw designed to set up the next shot. Examples include an approach shot that prepares for an easy putt or a conservative drive that avoids a water hazard.
A group of disc golfers that get together, typically on a weekly basis to play competitive disc golf — usually for small cash payout or prizes. A league is often referred to as a mini tournament. Joining a disc golf league is an excellent way to get disc golf tips and improve your game.
The location where your previous throw landed. Your next throw must be from behind this spot. The lie is marked by the disc that was thrown, or if using a mini-marker the lie is marked on the line of play on the edge of your disc closest to the target.
Line of play
A direct line from your lie to the target. This determines legal stances and legal throws. Mark your lie with a mini-marker on the front edge of your disc on the line of play.
Left Hand Backhand throwing style.
Left Hand Forehand throwing style.
Mando (an abbreviation for a mandatory)
The path that your disc must follow during play. Often an object on the course is marked with an arrow indicating to which side your disc must pass on its way to the target. Mandos are established to improve the safety, challenge, and design of a course. Holes can have multiple mandos where you must throw left, right, under, or even over certain marked objects. One of the most famous mandos in disc golf is the triple mando wall built for the United States Disc Golf Championship.
A disc designed for slower and more stable flight often used on an approach shot. Often spelled midrange or referred to as “Mid.”
Mini (also know as mini-marker, marker, or mini-disc)
A small version of a golf disc used to mark a players lie. Also sometimes used to refer to a small disc golf tournament.
The front part of the disc pointed toward the target.
A disc position where the nose of the disc is below parallel to the ground.
A disc position where the nose of the disc is above parallel to the ground. Throwing the disc in this manner will gain altitude and cause the disc to slow down quicker and fade more than when thrown flat throw. One of the most common problems beginners have that keeps them from getting more distance.
An area on the course outside the legal play boundaries. A disc landing completely out of bounds is charged a penalty stroke. The lie is marked either at a designated drop zone, or it is marked at the point where the disc was last in bounds. The player receives 1 meter (3 feet, 3 inches) of relief into the course from the out of bounds line.
A throwing style that propels the disc by an overhand motion much like tossing a baseball or football. There are two basic types of overhead throws the Tomahawk and Thumber.
A disc which tends to turn towards the left (with a RHBH throw). When thrown at a high speed an overstable disc will resist turning over to the right.
The established number of strokes determined by the course designer or other official as being what a player should be able to score on a given hole without any errors. Most holes are par 3, although some more challenging courses offer par 4 and par 5 holes. When determining par the PDGA recommends that it be determined by the skill the course is defined for. Thus, on some courses and pro tournaments a hole considered a par 3, would be considered a par 4 or 5 for amateur players.
A stroke that is added to a player’s score for throwing out of bounds, breaking a rule, missing a mandatory, or landing in a hazard area.
A throwing grip that maximizes spin out of the player’s hand. For RHBH all four fingers are pressed against the underside rim of the disc and the thumb is on top. For RHFH both the index and middle finger are in contact with the rim and the thumb is on top to maximize power.
Professional Disc Golf Association is the worldwide official governing body of the sport of disc golf overseeing the official rules of play and sanctioning guidelines for tournaments. PDGA membership costs $50 per year for amateur players and $100 per year for professional players.
A putting style where the technique focuses on lofting the disc into the basket with very little spin.
Any shot within a 10 meter (32.8 feet) radius of the target is considered a putt.
A disc used primarily for putting, but can be used for almost any shot. Putters fly straighter at slow speeds and are designed for accuracy rather than distance. The edge or rim of the putter is typically a wider rim than that of the driver or mid-range. This is also a term for the aging disc golf family minivan.
The PDGA rating is a numeric value given to tournament disc golfers that can be used to decide which divisions they are eligible for tournament play and help players compare how good they are compared to other players. This rating is determined for each tournament round played by comparing your score to other rated players. PDGA ratings updates typically are released the second Tuesday of each month. They higher your rating the better you are. Paul McBeth, the #1 player in disc golf currently has a PDGA rating of 1060. Ten rating points represents approximately 1 stroke in disc golf. This means that if you were a disc golfer with a rating of 800, Paul McBeth would beat you by an average of 26 strokes per 18 hole round.
When the disc lands in an unsafe, unplayable or illegal position, a player may move the lie of the disc to the closest safe and playable location that does not advance the disc towards the basket. For example, if a player has gone out-of-bounds, the lie is marked where the disc went out, then given 1 meter (3 feet, 3 inches) of relief into the course.
Right Hand Backhand throwing style.
Right Hand Forehand throwing style.
A disc thrown intentionally such that it lands on its edge and rolls. Often used to get under low ceilings or for extreme distance provided the fairway is smooth enough. Disc golfers typically throw rollers with understable golf discs. Rollers are also very useful as a way for older players to get more distance.
A playable area off the fairway that makes the next shot more difficult. Examples include tall grass, bushes, thickly wooded areas, or even simply areas marked off as a rough.
A complete game of disc golf playing all of the holes on a course.
Scooby (Also known as Grenade)
A disc golf thrown in which the player holds the disc with a backhand grip (RHBH) and positions it vertical next to their right ear.
A stroke or each throw in disc golf is referred to as a shot.
The instance where the disc releases from the hand and the momentum and technique of the throw places a large amount of spin on the disc. Proper hand grip and form are greater components in a “good snap” than is sheer strength. Sometimes the release “snap” is audible.
Spit Out (also known as a Bounce Back or Kick Out)
When the disc hits the chains but then falls out of the basket.
A flight characteristic of a disc by which it resists turning at high speeds. A stable disc thrown with a RHBH toss will fade to the left slightly at finish. In many areas, disc golfers refer to “stable” as an overstable flight.
A putting stance in which one’s feet are facing forward and spread equidistant on line with the target.
A throw or shot in disc golf. The number of strokes that it takes a player to reach the target is his “score” for that hole.
As per PDGA guidelines, a legal stance must include a supporting point of contact, usually the foot, on a paper sized mark directly behind the disc last thrown or a mini marker used to mark the lie.
A disc deformed due to a high speed impact with an object causing it to bend and resemble a taco shell. The disc may be permanently damaged, but some may regain their original shape depending on the plastic type.
Wind that is blowing from behind you. A disc thrown with a tailwind will tend to finish more overstable. For maximum distance it is best to throw more understable discs in tailwinds.
Tee box/Tee pad
The defined area from where the first throw is made on a hole. Typically tee boxes are constructed of concrete, asphalt, gravel, or rubber.
An overhand throw where the thumb grips the inside rim of the disc and the fingers tightly snug the exterior flight plate of the disc.
An overhand throw where the index and middle finger grip the inside rim of the disc and the thumb rests on the exterior flight plate of the disc.
Tournament Director (TD)
The person in charge of setting up, raising funds for, and running a disc golf tournament.
An overhand putting technique in which the fingers are placed on the exterior rim with the thumb moved towards the middle of the bottom flight plate.
A throw that causes a disc to turn opposite if its normal fade. For RHBH throw, instead of fading to the left, the disc would fade right. Understable and stable discs turnover easier than overstable discs. Throwing into a headwind typically causes a disc to more easily turnover.
A flight characteristic of a disc by which it will naturally turn right at high speeds and will eventually fade left as it finishes.
When a disc lands in a location that is considered unsafe for any reason (typically poor footing such as a slippery location or an extremely steep slope) The lie is marked at the nearest safe location without advancing closer to the target.
A putt that comes to rest wedged in the side of the basket. The disc is considered “not in” if it was observed wedging from the outside. Wedges which are “unobserved” (as in the case of a blind shot) or wedges which are witnessed entering the basket from above are considered “in.”
When gripping the disc, the side of the disc opposite the player’s hand. The position of the wing-up, down, or level-determines the release of the disc to be hyzer or anhyzer.
A throw that is released lower than intended and ends up flying low to the ground.
X-Step (also known as the scissor step)
The footwork progression of stepping one foot over the other during the run-up before the release of the disc designed to get you in position for maximum power and distance.