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When you play disc golf, the tee marks the starting point of the hole. This part of the course might also be called the box or tee box.
You make your first throw from within the designated teeing space, and the course progresses from there.
Many teeing areas use tee pads, although they aren’t an officially required component of a tee.
Tee pads can come in many different forms, and it may help to know about the different kinds allowed through different regulations.
Characteristics of a Tee in Disc Golf
The tee is a designated area in which the player makes the first throw of a hole.
According to PDGA recommendations, the minimum area for a good tee box is at least 3 meters long and 1.2 meters wide.
Rather than being a marked-off area of turf, tee boxes tend to have standing surfaces made of different materials.
These allow people to stand on flat ground and throw without uneven surface interfering with the shot.
Surface pads might be made of a variety of materials including:
- Artificial turf, commonly used indoors
When a course does not use a tee pad, the teeing area will be marked in other ways.
A line may be drawn on the ground to indicate the front of the box.
This prevents players from stepping over the boundary line when they make their throw.
There are also some courses that are designed without any specialized tee boxes at all.
Instead of every player beginning in the same small space, players merely pick a spot in a larger designated area to begin.
Tee signs are an important part of any established course. They will be erected near the tee pads.
In addition to helping players find the teeing area easily, the signs may have information including:
- A map of the course
- Sponsorship logos
- The name of the hole
- Distance from the tee to the hole
Every hole in an official course will typically have a tee sign with information specific to that hole.
It’s common for a larger course sign at the beginning of the route to have a map of the entire course.
The official disc golf tee pad rules are encoded in the section of the rule book that discusses teeing off.
All tee regulations must be followed for the game to be considered valid.
Disc Golf Tee Pad Rules and Regulations
The official rules for teeing off are established in Section 802.04 of the guidelines.
There are three components of the rules.
This section is the one that outlines rules about the teeing area. Specific guidelines regarding tee pads can be found here.
With that said, the rules offer a fair amount of flexibility.
These are the most important aspects of the rules:
- Players must throw their first shot from the teeing area.
- The edges of a tee pad’s surface mark the end of the teeing area. You must stand on this surface when you make your first throw.
- If no tee pad is used for the course, a tee line must be drawn.
- With drawn tee lines, the teeing area encompasses everything three meters behind the line.
- Teeing lines may be drawn between tee markers. They indicate the frontmost portion of the teeing area, which players cannot step over.
You’ll notice that tee pads are optional. You’ll also notice that there are no specific regulations on the size or the material of a tee pad.
The right type of tee pad is left up to the course designers.
Part B discusses the actual game play. With the teeing area established, players must follow these rules to avoid being penalized:
- One supporting point must be inside the designated area when the disc leaves the hand.
- No supporting points may be outside the tee pad.
- Supporting points refer to the parts of the body that are touching the teeing area surface or other supporting structures.
- Players can have supporting points outside the teeing area immediately before or after the release of the disc, but all points must be inside at the moment of release.
When the rules say that you must have a supporting point inside the tee, what they mean is that you can’t leap into the air when the disc leaves your hand.
A hand, foot, or other supportive device must be touching the ground.
If a player fails to follow the rules outlined in Part B, they will be penalized for a stance violation.
The consequence is a single penalty throw.
Types of Disc Golf Tee Pads
The rules and regulations for disc golf tend to be flexible. This allows course designers to have maximum creativity.
Tee pads aren’t required, and when they are used, there aren’t official regulations regarding their size or materials.
Concrete tee pads are most commonly used in permanent, official courses.
The material is durable, holds up in harsh weather, and creates a flat and stable surface.
Temporary courses might use existing concrete structures like sidewalks. The course designer will use tape or paint to mark the teeing area.
Dirt is a cheap tee pad option that requires no complicated installation.
Course designers will create a flat, packed-down area to start the hole.
Some courses use flattened paths made of grass. These do have a significant disadvantage, though, in that grass wears down with heavy use.
This can lead to an uneven surface area, which may cause inconsistent starting throws.
Rubber pads are often used as an alternative to concrete.
They provide a flat, high-traction surface, but they can generally be packed away when players are done.
This makes the material favored by temporary course designers.