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What does mando mean in disc golf?

If you’re new to the sport, you might be unfamiliar with this term. Even experienced players might not know it if your group uses different slang.

Fortunately, the answer is simple: “Mando” is just a shortened term for “mandatory.”

What is a Mandatory in disc golf?

Mandatories are a component of disc golf courses. They restrict when you can legally pass different obstacles.

Mandos are necessary if you want to create a complicated course in a wide open area.

Without mandos, you can only set a course from point A to point B.

Your players won’t have any restrictions on the types of shots they can use.

One example would be an arrow on a tree that tells you what direction you need to throw your disc.

If you pass the tree on the other side, the route won’t be legal for completing the course.

But if the arrow wasn’t there, you could use whatever path you wanted surrounding the tree.

Restricting the direction that players can move has effects like:

  • It can prevent players from using Hyzer throws to adjust their angles.
  • It forces players to adhere to a certain course direction.
  • It can make the route to the final target more complex and challenging.

Some courses include double mandos.

These are mandos that are parallel to each other and require you to throw between them.

They’ll typically be signified by having arrows pointing to each other. Going outside these bounds is illegal.

For an even more challenging route, you can use triple mandos. These restrict the height of your throw as well.

With low heights, players will be prevented from using certain kinds of throws.

They will also have a greater challenge gaining a large amount of distance.

Mandos might also be imposed for safety purposes.

They can prevent players from interfering with other recreational sports or crossing unsafe areas.

Missing Mandos

When you move past a mandatory indicator in the wrong direction or through the wrong area, you’ll be penalized one stroke.

Depending on the course, you might also have to start the next shot in a drop zone.

Drop zones are designated by the course designer.

They’re specially chosen places where people who miss mandos have to throw from.

Casual courses don’t have any restrictions on the placement of drop zones except that the zone must be in a playable area.

Designers tend to have fun with their drop zones.

A course’s drop zone might be in any of these locations:

  • Close to the mando objects
  • Before the mando objects (forcing the player to try again)
  • Near the beginning of the course
  • Exceptionally far away from the basket

You can avoid the drop zone, however, by abandoning your throw.

If you abandon your throw, you’ll try the throw again from the same place.

When disc golf was first played, the mando rules were harsher.

You had to play all the way back to the mando from where your disc came to rest, and then cross the mando correctly.

The current rule book no longer uses these rules, but you can implement them in casual play for a fun challenge!

Marking Mando Lines

A mandatory also comes with a “mando line.” This is the visual line representing when you’ve crossed the mandatory incorrectly.

For example, a tree pointing to the right may have a line extending outward to the left.

Once a player crosses this line, they’ll have the mando penalty added to their score.

If you cross the mando line, you will typically be penalized, even if you were trying to complete a different part of the course.

Some course designers are very liberal with their mando lines and may extend them purely to add a challenge.

Missing a Mando

If you have a disc that crosses the mando line when it hasn’t yet crossed on the correct side of the mando, then you’ve missed the mando.

You’ll be penalized at this point. You must pass the mando on the correct side before you can cross the mando line.

The number of throws you use doesn’t matter.

Whether it’s your first or your fourth throw, all that matters is whether or not you’ve crossed the mando correctly.

If you haven’t, and you cross the line, that’s the end of the story.

Keep in mind that after you’ve crossed the mando correctly, you can cross the mando line.

That goes for even if you cross the line by mistake because a throw goes awry.

Discs must also fully cross the line to be considered in violation. If your disc lands on the line itself, you haven’t committed a violation.

If any portion of the disc hasn’t actually gone over the line, no violation has been committed.

Mandos and the Line of Play

In disc golf, the line of play is the direction that a player is moving in.

When a course doesn’t use any mandos, the line of play always goes straight from the starting point to the basket or target.

But mandos can create much more complicated courses.

Mandos can be set up to break up the straight line of play.

If going straight from tee to target will cross a mando, then you need to change your direction.

Players must plot their courses by planning how to cross all of the mandos in the most efficient manner possible.

You don’t always need to adhere to every mando in a course.

If a mando doesn’t interfere with the line between you and the basket, your first priority is the basket.

Don’t let yourself get confused!

Mando lines don’t outline a mandatory course following. Some players might find clever ways to minimize the number of mandos they have to follow.

This can get complicated in more complex courses.

There have even been disputes on the national level regarding mando directions.

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