Here Are The Major Changes to the 2022 PDGA Rules

What do you think of these changes?

monster on the mountain

The rules of disc golf are getting a makeover.

2022 will usher in bigger-than-usual changes to the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events; the following changes go into effect on January 1st, 2022.

There is a full rundown of changes on the PDGA website, but we’ve summarized and contextualized the biggest changes below.

Discs Supported in Any Way by the Basket Count as In

New Rule 807.B: In order to complete a hole with a basket target, the thrower must release the disc and it must come to rest supported by the tray or the chains below the chain support.

This new rule means that a disc that is in the chains or the basket (though not resting on top) counts as in the basket. Discs hanging on the edge of the basket, wedged into the basket from the outside, or otherwise supported in any way are considered holed out.

The PDGA notes, “This change means the group no longer has to see the disc enter the target in order to make the call.” It simplifies the rule and is more generous to players.

You Can Take Your One-Meter Relief from OB in Any Direction from the OB Line

Relevant Part of New Rule 806.02.D: A player whose disc is out-of-bounds receives one penalty throw. The player may play the next throw from:

  1. The previous lie; or,
  2. A lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface up to one meter away from the point where the disc was last in-bounds.

Previously, you had to take your one meter relief from the out of bounds line perpendicular to the OB line. Now, you effectively have a semicircle with radius of one meter from which to place your mini for your next shot.

It is worth noting that the rule for an in-bounds disc within one meter of an OB line still requires perpendicular relief (though there is a new rule that lets you measure the line from a corner differently).

Here’s a video from the PDGA visually explaining the new OB rules:

OB Rules

Players Can Ask to Take a Bathroom Break and Not Be Penalized for Time

New Rule 802.3.C: A player may request extra time from the group to take a bathroom break. If the player does not return in a reasonable time, the player is considered missing for the hole and receives a score of par plus 4 for the hole.

Simple enough. “Reasonable” isn’t defined but presumably you know it when you see it.

When It’s Your Turn to Throw, You Have 30 Seconds Starting when the “Playing Area is Clear”

New Rule 802.3.A: A player has taken excessive time if they are present and have not thrown within 30 seconds:

  1. After the previous player has thrown; and,
  2. After they have had a reasonable amount of time to arrive at and determine the lie; and,
  3. After they are next in the throwing order; and,
  4. During which the playing area is clear.

The previous rule also included “and free of distractions” in point #4 above, which the PDGA called “broad enough to render the rule essentially unenforceable.” So you can’t swat at the gnats and reset your clock. Keep it moving, folks.

If you Miss the Vertical Plane Created by the Mandatory, you Missed the Mando

New Rule 804.01: 804.01 Mandatory Routes and Objects

A. A mandatory route restricts the path the disc may take to the target.

B. The restricted space is a vertical plane marked by one or more objects or other markers which define the edges of the space.

C. If a throw clearly and completely enters a restricted space, the player receives one penalty throw. The lie for the next throw is the drop zone for that mandatory. If no drop zone has been designated, the lie for the next throw is the previous lie.

This removes any consideration of where the disc finishes its flight when considering whether or not a shot made a mandatory. Now, it’s only about where the disc passes the mandatory — is it in the legal airspace or the restricted airspace? TDs will have to specify where the vertical plane extends from (the right or left side of the trunk of a tree, for instance).

You Have to Be at the Starting Hole For Your Group When The Round Starts (and Other Misplay Rule Changes)

New Rule 811.F:

5. Absent. If a player is not present at the start of the round for their assigned group, the player is considered absent and does not play the hole. A player is also considered absent if the player has not played the previous hole and is not present when their group is ready to start on a hole. The absent player receives a score of par plus four for each hole not played. Par is determined by the Director.

6. Missing. If a player was present with the group and is now missing when it is their turn to throw, the player is given 30 seconds to rejoin the group. If the player remains missing for that time, then the player is considered absent for the hole and receives a score of par plus 4 for the hole. See 802.03.C for exception to this rule.

7. Omitted Hole. The round has been completed, and the player has neglected to play one or more holes. The player receives a score of par plus four for each unplayed hole.

8. Incorrect Hole. The player has completed a hole that is not part of the course for that round, in place of a hole that is part of the course for the round. Two penalty throws are added to the player’s score for the hole.

9. Extra Hole. The player has completed a hole that is not part of the course for that round. Two penalty throws are added to the player’s total score. Throws made on the extra hole are not counted.

10. Wrong Starting Group. The player has begun play on a hole or in a group other than the one to which they were assigned. The player must find their assigned group to begin play. Any throws made by a player in the wrong group are disregarded. The player is subject to penalties for being absent from their assigned group.

11. Wrong Starting Hole. The group has begun play on a hole other than the one to which they were assigned. If any player in the group makes more than one throw on the hole, the entire group has misplayed the hole. The group completes the hole, and each player adds two penalty throws to their score for the hole. Otherwise, the players who have made a single throw each receive one penalty throw and the misplayed throw is disregarded. The group then proceeds to the correct hole to begin their round.

You can no longer simply show up for your turn to throw on the starting hole. You have to be “present at the start of the round for [your] assigned group.” Also, if you leave the group and go “missing” for 30 seconds, you take par+4. This is superseded by the new bathroom break rule.

If you start on the wrong hole or play with the wrong group, there are newly established penalties. These rules were designed to eliminate loopholes in the rules.

You Have to Be a PDGA Member to Play in B-Tiers

New Rule 1.01.B.1: Current PDGA Membership is required to compete in any Major, Elite Series, A-Tier, or B-Tier event.

Previously, you only had to be a PDGA member to play in Majors, Elite Series, and A-Tiers. Now, B-Tiers are also included. The PDGA is advertising this as a benefit to members: “For many PDGA members, their local B-Tier is the biggest event of their competitive season. Now, those members are no longer engaged in a click-race with players who are not current members.”

In practice, the vast majority of players at B-Tiers are already PDGA members.

If You Find a Disc That Had Already Been Declared Lost, You Still Take a Penalty Stroke

New Rule 805.03.C: C. Once a disc has been declared lost, the status does not change if subsequently found. A player is allowed to use the disc if found.

This just clarifies that once your time for looking for a lost disc has elapsed, you have to take the penalty even if you later find the disc.

You Have to Have a PDGA Number (Not Membership) to Take Cash

New Rule 1.10.A: Any player accepting cash in a Pro division at a PDGA-sanctioned event (except Leagues, see 1.14.C.2) must have a PDGA number for tracking purposes prior to the start of the event (players receiving a PDGA number after event registration must alert the TD prior to the event). Non-PDGA-numbered players are only eligible for trophies, and any cash payouts at or below that place would move down one place causing an additional place to be paid.

This rule is designed to prevent players from taking cash as non-members and later joining the PDGA as an amateur member. You do not need to have an existing membership to take cash, just a PDGA number.

Ghost Cards Can Only Be Used in Emergencies

New Rule 1.06.k: A ghost group is a designation for a secondary group of players that is assigned a starting hole already occupied by a group of players. Ghost groups are only to be used to resolve emergency situations, such as a hole being unexpectedly rendered unplayable by flooding, downed power line, or other circumstances outside the control of the Tournament Director.

  1. A ghost group will always tee second on the hole as the lowered-numbered hole for both first-round groupings (see 1.06.B) and subsequent rounds (see 1.06.D)
  2. Ghost groups should start on a shorter length hole after a longer/more difficult hole to minimize the impact on course-flow and speed of play.

This regulates the usage of ghost cards at tournaments.

***

There are a variety of other smaller rules updates, which you can read more about on the PDGA’s website.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the publisher of Ultiworld Disc Golf.

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