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Something most new players hardly give much thought about when playing disc golf is the positioning of their feet when putting or throwing a disc.
In fact, many new players only discover disc golf footing rules after watching professionals play.
However, even after watching the pros, the concept of foot faults may still seem ambiguous to some players.
What is a Foot Fault in Disc Golf?
A foot fault occurs when the positioning of your feet during a throw goes against the rules.
In the past, PDGA’s Official Rules required players to ensure that at least one of their supporting points remains in contact with their lie, and stays behind it during a throw.
However, the PDGA amended this rule in 2018 to include a flexible zone.
This zone measuring 20cm by 30cm is the legal area where a player’s supporting point should be during a throw.
The implication of this rule on disc throwing is additional wiggle room in multiple directions when setting up a shot.
So long as a section of your foot stays within this zone during a throw, you won’t have committed a foot fault.
What is a Supporting Point?
All foot fault happen because at least one of your supporting points is not in its appropriate position during a throw.
According to disc golf footing rules, a supporting point is any part of your body that touches any object that offers support or the playing surface during the time of release.
Typically, your supporting points during a throw are one or both of your feet since they are in contact with the tee pad or ground when you release the disc.
Even though familiarizing yourself with the legal stances is invaluable to playing disc golf according to the rules, foot faults are typically only called during group matches.
Any player in a group match can call foot faults.
However, at least one other player within the group or an official has to confirm a call for it to be declared official.
The penalty for stance violations, including foot faults, is adding an extra throw to the score of the violating player for that specific hole.
This player throws the subsequent shot from the point where the previous shot landed.
Foot Faults on the Tee
All holes in disc golf start on a tee. There are two variants of the tee in competitive play.
The first option is a tee with visible boundaries, e.g., a circle of bricks, a rectangle of artificial turf and any other shapes that demarcate the teeing area.
The second option uses a line to mark the front of the teeing area, while the rest of the rectangle remains imaginary.
Note that the imaginary rectangle only applies when the boundaries of the teeing area are not visible.
A legal throw requires you to have a minimum of one supporting point in the teeing area.
While this makes it legal to have multiple supporting points on the tee, none of your supporting points should be outside the tee when you release the disc.
What is a Lie?
Unless you are throwing from the tee or a drop zone, the rules require that at least one of your supporting points remains in contact with the lie.
The lie is a 20 cm by 30 cm rectangle that begins at the rear edge of your disc, i.e., the most distant side from the basket.
If you decide to use a mini marker, placing it at the front edge of the disc makes the lie a 20 cm by 30 cm rectangle that begins at the rear edge of the mini marker.
Foot Faults on the Fairway
As mentioned earlier, any throw performed outside a teeing area or drop zone requires that at least one of your supporting points stays in contact with the lie when releasing the disc.
Also, none of your supporting points should be nearer to the basket than the starting point of your lie when you release the disc, i.e., the rear edge of your mini marker.
This rule does not imply that you cannot run up before a throw like when throwing off the tee; instead, it implies that you need to be very cautious about the position of your lead foot.
You will incur a penalty stroke if your supporting foot is outside the lie at the point of release, or if one of your feet is on or over the mini marker when you release your disc.
There are some rare occasions where players place one foot in front of the lie, then lift it as they release the disc.
While this move is legal, if you wish to replicate it, we recommend that you position your feet behind the lie when you begin your throwing motion.
Foot Faults at Drop Zones
In island holes, a drop zone is a place where a player has to throw the next shot from if they miss a mandatory or their disc does not land on an inbound area on the island.
Throwing from a drop zone will follow similar footing rules as throwing off a tee or throwing from the lie depending on the drop zone’s markings.
For instance, if a line marks the drop zone, then the rules of a teeing area will apply.
Likewise, if a round object fastened to the ground marks the drop zone, then the rules of throwing from the lie will apply.
Foot Faults inside the Putting Green
Once you are within 30 feet of the basket, all the rules regarding throwing from the lie apply.
The only exception is that you should not make contact with the front of your lie after releasing the disc.
After releasing your disc while inside the putting circle, you must exhibit full control of balance before moving towards the basket.
You will commit a foot fault by failing to demonstrate control of balance.
For example, if you lose your balance while putting and step on the lie, then you shall have committed a foot fault.