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What is the difference between Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf? To those who know, the difference is quite obvious.

However, you may be new to the world of field sports, and you do not know what the difference is between between ultimate frisbee and disc golf.

Maybe you are wondering how is each game played, which sport is more popular, and whether or not ultimate frisbee or disc golf is a professional sport.

In this article, we’ll explore these issues in greater detail.

Ultimate Frisbee vs. Disc Golf

Let’s go back to the basics. What is the difference between Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf?

Ultimate frisbee is a team game, played with a frisbee, in a 100 meter field with two end zones.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf, is an individual sport and played on a course, and a metal disk is thrown into a basket.


Landmarks in the history of Ultimate Frisbee:

  • 1968, Maplewood, New Jersey, USA: Joel Silver introduced his idea to the Columbia High School Student Council
  • 1969: First game was played between two groups of students using a Wham-O master disc
  • 1970: Silver, Buzzy Hellring, and Jon Hines wrote the first and second set or rules, and first interscholastic game was played
  • 1972: Rutgers and Princeton played the first college game – they played the first intercollegiate football game 103 years earlier on the same ground
  • 1975: National Collegiate Championships tournament took place between eight teams
  • 1976: tournament was renamed to the National Ultimate Frisbee Champsionship

Landmarks in the history of Disc Golf:

  • 1970, Rochester, New York: “Frisbee Club” is formed
  • 1972: Rochester, New York holds Annual City Disc Golf Championship
  • 1974: Dan Roddick wins 1974 Datsun B-210 at American Flying Disc Open
  • 1975: World’s first permanent disc golf course opens in Pasadena, California and is called the Oak Grove Disc Golve Course
  • 1976: both the modern chain style target, called the “Disc Pole Hole” is patented, and the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is formed by Ed HeadrickEd Headrick
  • 1977: Mobile AL and Norther New Jersey host the first PDGA tournaments
  • 1982: PDGA turns into a player-run organization


Ultimate Frisbee requires only a little bit of equipment:

  • one frisbee
  • 10 orange plastic cones
  • 14 pinnies (7 for each team)

As for Disc Golf, the necessary equipment is also very minimal: you only need a couple of disc golf discs (3-6 to be safe), and a local disc golf course.


The rules for Ultimate Frisbee vs. Disc Golf are very different, but both are simple.

Ultimate Frisbee Rules:

1. A regulation field is 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, and end zones 20 yards deep.
2. A regulation game has seven player on each team. Points begin when the defense throws the offence the disc, when both teams are lined up.
3. Offence secures a point when the offense catches the pass in defense end zone. Directions are switched after each goal. Team that just scored starts the next point.
4. Disc can advance in any direction through team passes, not by running players. Defender guarding the thrower counts the ten seconds that the thrower has to throw the disc.
5. Defense takes possession of disc, becoming offense, after incompleted passes.
6. Substitutions may occur after a score or during an injury timeout.
7. Non-contact game.
8. Fouls are iniatiated contacts that impact the play. Lost possession fouls resume as if possession was retained. A disagreement results in the play being redone.
9. Foul and line calls are done and resolved by players.
10. Fair play is the responsibility of the player, and respect, rule adherence, and fun all trump competition.

Disc Golf Rules:

1. Played like traditional golf.
2. Prioritize safety.
3. Each hole starts with a tee throw.
4. Subsequent throws are made from behind the lie mark.
5. Smallest par player throws first. After all players have gone, furthest disc player goes first.
6. Fairway throws are made from behind the lie.
7. Object in the way of the throw must remain on a certain side of the dic.
8. Disc in hole means completion.
9. Out of bounds throws must be replayed within one meter of the out of bounds line.

Ultimate Frisbee is played with seven players on each team. Disc Golf is an individual sport.

Types of Discs

There are many different types of discs for Ultimate Frisbee, some with fancier gadgets than others.

When looking for a good disc, you want to consider the following:

  • weight
  • durability
  • throwability
  • forgivability
  • the disc’s grip and rim
  • LED frisbees
  • style

The best disc for a team will vary depending on the team’s skill level.

Disc Golf also has a variety of discs to choose from, depending on the individual’s skill level:

  • Putters
  • Mid-Rangers
  • Drivers

Within each category, the person can pick the best disc to suit their talents and needs.

Seasons playable

Ultimate Frisbee has different leagues. If you want to join a league, then there are certain times that are better to join.

Most leagues offer weekly, scheduled, and seasonal games that last about 5-10 weeks.

If you want to join a team, you should do your research on the level of commitment required, where a team is located, and the practice schedule.

Disc Golf can be played at any time of the year.


As mentioned previously, Ultimate Frisbee must be played on a rectangular field with two end zones.

Regulation fields are 70 yards by 40 yards with two 20 yard deep end zones.

Disc Golf is another story. You can often find free disc golf courses in a city park.

Sometimes, golf courses are converted to disc golf, and private pay-to-play venues pop up.

Five acres of land is enough space for a nine-hole disc golf course, but an 18-hole course set up for a championship would require up to 30 or 40 acres.

While disc golf can coexist with park facilities, safety has to be kept a priority.

The best courses will combine the beautiful natural landscape of wooded areas, topographical changes, and open terrains.


There are too many Ultimate Frisbee teams to list, as teams fall into:

  • American
  • Premier
  • Western
  • North American Club
  • North American Women’s
  • Mixed teams
  • USA Masters
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Southeast Asia
  • Africa
  • Central and South America

Same with Disc Golf. There are many different teams in different levels:

  • World Champion
  • Touring
  • Team Fuzion
  • Celebrity Team
  • Team Lucid
  • Ambassador Team
  • Juniors Team
  • Promoter Team

Of course, you can come up with your own teams. Do some research to learn which teams you would like to follow.

Where the games are most popular

Ultimate Frisbee rankings are updated every four years.

The current rankings, based on performance five of the major Ultimate World Champsionships are as follows:

1. USA
2. Canada
3. Germany
4. Great Britain
5. Australia
6. Japan
7. France
8. Colombia
9. Austria
10. Italy

As for the popularity of disc golf, the United States (75%), Finland (7%), and Canada (3%) account for 85% of the world’s disc golf courses.


Ultimate Frisbee is a professional sport.

Disc Golf can also be considered a professional sport, though perhaps not in the way we would consider football, baseball, or soccer.

Existing leagues

There are thousands of people who are part of various Ultimate Frisbee existing leagues.

That being said, there are also plenty of resources available if you are interested in starting your own.

Ultimate Frisbee is passionate about growing its popularity all across the country and the globe.

Disc Golf also has leagues, and even offers players the option of sanctioning their league.

Sanctioned leagues get additional benefits, like an official rating, receive PDGA points which is important for entering the World Championship events, and offer handicap events which are great for the recreational player.

If the league is not sanctioned, players can still view their unofficial ratings by visiting the PDGA website and navigating to the league results section.

So what will it be? Disc golf or ultimate frisbee?

You do not have decide, but you should get out and play, watch a game, or learn more about the sports in case the opportunity to play arises.

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