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Disc golf is an enjoyable sport. It resembles traditional golf, only in very general terms.
The ultimate objective is the same, including much of the terminology describing how a disc golfer achieves that goal.
Disc golf courses have tee pads and fairways.
There are rules for errant shots that go out-of-bounds. You putt to finish the hole, and each hole has a target number of shots called par.
From this point, the differences begin to show.
Disc golf courses do not require the same manicured grass as a traditional golf setting.
Many courses cut through fairly dense wilderness. The game of disc golf is fun and it can be very challenging.
Along with scoring and terminology, play formats have similarities.
Tournament and league structures often tee off in foursomes.
There are also match-play arrangements.
While not totally uncommon in traditional golf, with the ability to experience nature, it’s understandable why disc golfers enjoy playing solo.
There is another gratifying type of play that every disc golfer should try.
Disc golf doubles is an exciting format, which creates new opportunities and ways to polish your disc golf skills.
Playing in pairs, disc golf players can indulge in one type of “skins game” format.
Let’s look at the disc golf doubles format and how to play disc golf doubles.
Disc Golf Doubles Rules
Most disc golf doubles rules are reflected in team play regulations as well. We’ll focus on the rules for doubles pairings only.
All Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) rules that apply to individual stroke play are used for doubles, with these exceptions.
- General – Teams consist of two players. This rule can be modified for additional players to create team play.
- Order of Play – The throwing order begins at the first hole using the order players are listed on the scorecard. The tee off order is then determined by the previous hole’s score for subsequent holes. The tandem with the lowest score will tee off first after the first hole.
After the tee off is complete, the team farthest from the basket will throw next.
When two players from the same team have virtually the same lie, partners may choose who throws first.
- Penalties – Throwing penalties are issued to the player on the team who threw the disc. All other general course penalties are applied to the team.
All throws that cannot contribute to improving the tandem’s score are called extra throws.
Extra throws receive an initial warning, and subsequent extra throws generate a one-stroke penalty.
- Lie – If the rules of play dictate both players throw from the same lie, any throw from another point earns a penalty stroke. Players must use the same marker disc for marking lies played by both players.
Failure to use the same marker disc results in a marking violation.
Any lie that requires it be relocated, both team members most throw from this relocated lie. Failure to do so results in a one-stroke penalty.
Disc Golf Doubles Formats
Following the rules for individual play, except for the modifications listed above; there are additional versions of disc golf doubles you can play.
Here are some popular formats for playing doubles in disc golf leagues or tournaments.
- Best Throw – Each player throws a tee shot. They pick the best lie to play next. Each player throws a second throw from this spot. Teams follow this same format for each subsequent throw.
The hole is completed when either player successfully makes their putt.
Scores are tabulated by the number of throws that were made from each lie, plus penalty throws.
- Modified Best Throw – The modified best throw format is the same as best throw except for one change. There can be a preset number of times you can use a team member’s tee shot per 18 holes. Subsequent uses during an 18-hole round incur two penalty throws.
- Worst Throw – This is another version of best throw, but it uses the opposite strategy. After both partners tee off, the opposing team gets to select which lie is used for the second throw.
This format is used for each subsequent throw on the hole.
Worst throw is a uniquely competitive and fun strategy for disc golf doubles play.
- Tough Throw – The tough throw format follows the same format as Worst Throw. The only variation is that a team finishes each hole when either partner holes his or her putt.
- Alternate Throw – Alternating throw disc golf rules do not follow a best or worst throw protocol. The throwing order alternates on every throw, regardless of lie. This is a challenging version of disc golf doubles play.
- Modified Alternate Throw – As with modified best throw, the same type of rule for determining who throws first on each hole can be predetermined by league or tournament format.
- Best Score – The best score disc golf doubles rules are virtually the same as individual formats. Both players finish each hole by throwing their own disc. The hole is scored when the player with the fewest throws finishes the hole. Best score is a common format for skins game play.
Disc Golf Best-Shot Doubles Strategy
The largest focus in disc golf leagues and tournaments is on individual stroke-play.
However, different types of doubles formats are also becoming increasingly more popular.
Best-shot doubles adds a minor tweak to traditional doubles play.
A number of disc golf clubs are hosting regular doubles events combining best-shot and random draw.
This is an excellent way to meet new disc golfers. It also offers a chance for disc golfers of vastly different skill levels to play together.
It is also an outstanding format for youth disc golf development. Let’s look at four strategy tips for best-shot disc golf doubles.
Know your partner
To make any of the last three strategy tips work for your doubles team, you have to appreciate this one first.
You need to know how your partner players. While it’s great to have played together, that’s not always an option.
Each of you should honestly share what your weakest and strongest skills are on the disc golf course.
One of you may be a precise putter, while a little weak off the tee. Each player may have a tendency to bend throws more than the other.
One player may attack left-friendly fairways better than those that bend to the right.
Know how each of you prefers to address tee shots with obstructions or limited openness on the fairway.
By knowing your partner, you can play to one another’s strong points.
This will help you avoid putting yourselves in difficult situations.
You’ll have a set strategy for alternating throws, plus who should drive and who should putt first.
Now that you know your partner, let’s look at these three disc golf doubles tips.
Alternate throwing order
This strategy might be difficult to understand why it works. Alternating your throwing order does a lot for the mindset of the weaker of the twosome.
Having each partner throw the other’s disc first opens up a balance in contributions to the team’s success.
Beginner disc golfers may not appreciate the importance of impeccable concentration and a positive mindset on the course.
The psychology of disc golf mirrors many sports. If you aren’t contributing to the success of the team, there is a chance your focus will suffer.
By alternating your tandem’s throwing order, you open up opportunities for more balanced contributions from both players.
Don’t alternate haphazardly.
Apply the next two strategies to take advantage of individual player weaknesses, blending them together with a throwing rotation strategy.
Weakest driver tee off first
When both partners are equally strong off the tee, this suggestion won’t really matter.
However, usually one or the other pair in a disc golf partnership will have a stronger and more accurate drive.
Using the strongest driver of your tandem off the tee will allow you some strategic advantages.
On par 3 holes, this strategy allows the partner with the weaker drive to gain the confidence of knocking down a birdie putt.
You can alternate this strategy for holes with obstructions or bends in the fairway that do not serve a long driver well.
Allow the second most skilled driver in your tandem to tee off first on these holes, especially when a lay-up shot will clear an open second shot at the basket.
Best putter putts first
Our best strategy tip for putting in disc golf doubles is opposite that of who drives first.
Opting for the player with stronger and more consistent putting skills helps remove the risk of adding unnecessary throws.
A more accomplished putter will have a higher probability of at worst hitting the chains.
Invariably this leaves a short, almost gimme putt. Even when the first putt goes far off course, this gives the second putter a chance to use a lay-up strategy.
This putting strategy for disc golf doubles will improve the odds your team can nail the longer putts.
It also allows the less skilled putter a chance to clean up mistakes.
Blend these four tips into your disc golf doubles strategy and you and your partner will be tough competition.
Disc golf has exploded in popularity over the last decade.
There are major tournaments held at various venues all around the world.
There is an assortment of tournament formats similar to traditional golf. You can even create your own disc golf skins game.
One of those is disc golf doubles play.
If you haven’t tried the disc golf doubles format, grab your discs and a partner and head out to your favorite course.
Follow some of our suggestions for how to play disc golf doubles and you’ll soon find another reason why disc golf is so popular.
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