Disc Golf Etiquette

Etiquette of Asking to Play Through

We have all been there.  You see a group a few holes in front of you.  Maybe it is a party group.  Maybe they are playing doubles.  Maybe it is a group of DBs.  You know you are going to catch them and you are hoping they will be cool and let you play through.  There are a number of situations that could confront you once you catch that group:

You catch the group early in the round, on the front nine, and they walk off the tee-pad one minute after you show up, obviously slower than you are.  This happened to me this morning.  A group stopped on hole 5 at Shady Oaks golf course to smoke some pot.  My partner and I show up at the tee and 30 seconds later they pack up and walk off even though one of their discs was only 50 feet a way, we were a twosome, they had a foursome, all reasons we should play through.

Do you say something as they walk away?  Do you mention it on the next tee?  Do you give it a couple holes hoping they will catch on?  Do you deal with an obnoxiously slow round?

I usually give it one hole.  If the second time I catch the group on the tee, they don’t let us play through, I ask, politely.  The rule should be that you don’t want to compound the situation.  You also don’t want to ruin the enjoy-ability of the round for your golfing partners, the group in front of you, or the group behind you.  If you have to wait, you have to wait.  I have seen this situation go terribly wrong.

The worst case I’ve seen was from a group of regulars at Shady Oaks that cursed out a family group of new golfers for being slow and not letting them play through.  The regulars did not wait to speak with them like gentlemen on the tee.  Instead, they volleyed curses from 200 hundred feet away at the family group that included a couple young kids.  Bad for the image of disc golf.

I saw something similar from a DB at the Rocklin course where two DBs caught me, a single, and asked if we could finish the round together.  We were already on the back nine.  I agreed.  The next hole we caught a foursome and it seemed clear to me that the course was full and we would wait a little on each hole; this is part of golf, accept it or play earlier in the day.  My new DB partners drove on the group in front of them.

Never drive on a group, particularly not in anger.

There was quickly an exchange of curses and a fight almost broke out.  Do fights almost break out on ball golf courses due to golf issues?  They do not.  You get banned for such behavior.  I quickly apologized to the forward group, stated in front of my new partners that I disagreed with the drives and left the course.

I took a stand.  I refused to participate with DBs and I let them know how I felt about their actions.  Sometimes it is required.  Sometimes it is your responsibility.  Playing through is hard enough on your focus and your score so do it responsibly, and remember:

Don’t be the douche bag on the course today.


Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette

3 replies »

  1. Playing through, as you said, is definitely a tough situation to maneuver. You just never know if the group in front of you are DBs. They may not look like it but they could be, or they could be shirtless and holding a beer but let you through with no issues (not to say that every shirtless, beer holding guy is a DB but you surely look the part. Now if you are a shirtless woman holding a beer… that’s a different issue all together).

    I always try to let them see me waiting or even motion instead of saying anything.
    It’s really a tough call but always be prepared to wait because if we are to model ourselves after ball golf… then we have to wait. I’ve never skipped anyone (or group) while playing golf. BUT in ball golf, you do have the ranger who is paid to be the DB. So you make the call.


  2. I walk to the local course; play it all, or certain holes, or skip holes, or whatever. I get to the course at the hole #13 T box. Sometimes people finishing on #12 start screaming that I’m cutting in, and I should start on #1. WHAT. I just pick up and walk to 14.
    Ball golf is different; I have moved up a hole or two if it’s really slow, or, if nobody is close behind, just did a little extra putting practice on each hole.
    As for families or people new to disc golf, I always ask if I can play with them for a few holes. If they ask, I can show them how to throw a little better, and when the “play through” situation comes up, we can get that squared away.
    If everyone is having a pleasant experience, they will come back, and disc golf will grow.

    Thanks for your blog,

    • I frequently find players hopping onto the course that do not keep in mind that they may be slowing groups that have been on the course since the first hole. It seems you are aware and are willing to not encumber those groups and skip a hole to make sure you aren’t bothering them.

      There are a lot of things you can do on a disc golf course that you can’t do on a ball golf course. My main rule is to be respectful to the other golfers and park users and it sounds like you are on my side. Check out the updated post on playing through that I just published. I’m re-writing some of my earlier posts for the newsletter with a bit less rant in them.

      Thanks for reading and posting.

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