What Makes A Disc Illegal In Disc Golf? The Rules You Should Know


If you are a big golf fan, you may be interested in disc golf. Although it is sometimes disregarded, disc golf is becoming more and more well-liked.

That’s because of its accessibility, meaning players of all skill levels and ages can participate in this sport. 

Moreover, it’s an excellent way to keep fit since playing disc golf works your lower and upper body. 

It encourages the development of mental and physical skill combination that reduces the risk of serious injury.

Despite the simplicity, it’s best to learn about all the rules, including the regulations related to discs you can use in the sport. 

What makes a disc illegal in disc golf? Not all discs are eligible according to the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) rules.

So let’s dive into this article to uncover this rule!

What Makes A Disc Illegal In Disc Golf?

The PDGA regulations stipulate that every disc played in professional tournaments must meet its requirements.

An illegal disc in disc golf has any modifications after manufacturing that affects its original characteristics, is questioned by an Official or other competitors, or lacks the PDGA-approved mark.

You don’t need to consider these rules when you play disc golf for fun. However, follow them strictly if it’s a professionally approved PDGA tournament. 

If you prefer to repair your disc after it has experienced a few scrapes and scratches, don’t worry!

The rules above don’t apply to the disc worn during the game and are lightly sanded to remove scratches or molding defects.

However, if you sand your disc excessively or paint it with dense material, it will become illegal because these modifications influence its original characteristics. 

All discs played in professional tournaments must be identifiably marked, apart from tiny marker discs. 

If you throw with a uniquely unmarked disc, the referee will issue a warning to you on the first throw, and a penalty for all throws later. 

If the disc has added devices like ribbons, chalk dust, or lights, it is only legal during an evening tournament played in snowy weather.

Illegal discs.

Can You Play Disc Golf With Any Disc?

If you play disc golf with your family and friends for fun, the disc used during the game doesn’t matter. 

In other words, you can play this sport using any disc available. Disc golf is intended to be enjoyable and accessible to everybody.

Things start to change when you begin playing competitively instead of simply for enjoyment.

It would be best to consider and strictly adhere to the regulations of this association. Otherwise, you may have an illegal disc and get penalty throws.

According to this association, a player that throws an unapproved disc during the game is subject to two penalty throws.

If a player throws an unlawful disc repeatedly, they risk being disqualified.

If you are unaware of the criteria for what defines an unsanctioned disc, it may be simple to break the regulations.

Follow the rules if it’s a competitive play.

What Qualifies As A Legal Golf Disc In The PDGA’s Rules?

Regarding the discs allowed to be used in its officially recognized tournaments, the PDGA sets specific rules.

The PDGA is the organization in charge of supervising professional disc golf tournaments and competitions.

Amateurs and professionals can participate in the membership-based PDGA.

The PDGA will sanction virtually all events and competitive tournaments. Therefore, the game is being played according to their regulations.

According to the disc-related rules of this association, a disc is legal in the following cases:

  • Any disc is worn or torn during the match.
  • Any disc is slightly sanded to eliminate scratches and molding imperfections.
  • Any disc is marked with an indelible marker ink or dye. 

If you want to dye your device, you can watch this video:


Legal disc.

Why Does The PDGA Approval Of A Disc Matter?

The PDGA authorizes discs to use in professional tournaments based on predetermined guidelines that disc producers adhere to.

A company must adhere to these standards if they desire to sell their discs to have them utilized in competitive situations.

The primary goal of the PDGA’s manufacturing criteria is to guarantee a safe, consistent disc for players to play. 

The materials, weight, thickness, sharpness, and rim width influence the disc’s safety when a player throws it. 

If you get a stiff and thin disc, you may find it hard to control, which creates an unsafe circumstance (when you throw it and it accidentally hits other players).

Moreover, every player has an equal opportunity to get the point, thanks to PDGA disc specifications.

5 Essential Rules To Make A Disc Illegal

Several regulations related to discs may confuse you. So check the essential rules that all discs must adhere to according to PDGA technical requirements!

#1. The Maximum Weight

The PDGA has regulations about the maximum weight of every disc played in professional tournaments.

You may be familiar with using a disc at its max weight. However, a PDGA-approved competition will have a maximum weight limit.

According to the technical criteria of the association, the maximum weight limit for a disc is 200 (g). 

Besides, the competition style and category also affect a disc limit weight. 

For example, an event sanctioned by the PDGA has all discs from the 150 Class, meaning they must measure 150 (g) or less to be eligible. 

#2. Disc With A Hole Or Crack

After a particular usage time, you may crack, split, or damage your disc. 

While you do these actions accidentally, or this situation happens when the game takes place, your disc may become illegal.

A hole or crack in your disc may influence its flight characteristics, which makes it not legitimate for the game. 

#3. Carving, Engraving, Or Etching On Your Disc

As shared above, any disc modification after manufacturing is illegal, according to the PDGA standards. 

Therefore, if you do anything like engraving, etching, or caving on your disc, it’s against the rules. 

Do you still want to customize your disc? Ensure you are not violating these regulations, especially if you plan to utilize this disc for a competitive match. 

What are legal modifications? They include stickers or paint you add to your disc. The PDGA regards these alterations as adding a discernible thickness to your disc.

You can also smooth your disc to remove scratches or wear on your disc. However, avoid sanding it excessively. Otherwise, it’s illegal. 

#4. Modifications That Change The Disc’s Flight Characteristics

Any modifications and customizations that influence the disc’s initial flight characteristics make it illegal. 

The purpose of the PDGA rules is to create an equal playing field for all players in the competition. 

If any player uses the customized disc, they will have more advantages to get the point than the one who doesn’t.

If any player uses the customized disc, they will have more advantages to get the point than the one who doesn’t.

In other words, the result of the play doesn’t count on the players’ skills but on their ability to customize their discs to fly in wanted directions. 

#5. An Official Or A Player Questions A Disc

Even if a disc has a PDGA-approved stamp, it becomes illegal if another competitor questions it during play.

If that’s the case, you must wait until you get the approval of the Director before you can use it again. 

Another player may easily abuse this rule, but it is listed in the disc-related PDGA rules (section 813.01).

Rules for illegal discs.

What Are The Signs That A Disc Has PDGA Approval?

If it’s a disc approved by the PDGA, it should have writing or a stamp with the phrase “PDGA Approved.”

If you want to ensure the disc you plan to use is legal in competitive play, you should check its model to see whether it’s on the approved list of the PDGA. 

In some cases, even when it’s a technically approved disc with the writing “PDGA approved,” it’s illegal to play in professional play because it doesn’t match the specifications of the PDGA. 

In Disc Golf, How Many Discs Are Legally Permitted?

There is no limit on the number of discs you can bring when playing this sport as long as they have a PDGA-approved stamp. 

Generally, most players carry around 15 to 20 discs to use regularly. The truth is that if you want, you can have more than this quantity in your bag. 

Disc limit


How Disc Golf Discs Are Made?

What Do You Need to Play Disc Golf?

Can You Play Disc Golf With One Disc?

How Many Discs Do You Need to Play Disc Golf?

The Bottom Line 

What makes a disc illegal in disc golf? If a disc lacks the “PDGA Approved” mark, has any alterations after production affecting its initial characteristics, or is questioned by an Official or another player, it’s not legal. 

If you are new to this sport or professional tournament, you should learn these essential rules to get the eligible device and avoid penalties during the game. 

Master the regulations and enjoy the match!

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