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According to the official rules, a disc must be declared lost after search the course for three minutes.

If players are unable to locate or find their previously thrown disc, then they will be assessed the stroke penalty and they will be required to continue playing with a replacement disc.

What is the disc golf lost disc rule?

Lost discs are relatively common and they are going to happen from time to time.

The penalty is simply one stroke on the scorecard, and players can play their next throw from the previous lie.

Some unique disc golf courses have markers for drop zones.

In the event that your course has a drop zone, you will have the opportunity to throw your next disc from this marked drop zone.

Some courses have wildlife animals that may be roaming around the course.

In the event that it is discovered that an animal has removed a disc from its previous landing location, then the initial penalty strokes may be removed from the player’s score.

It is also important to remember that some drop-zones require players to take on an additional penalty stroke.

Course directors and officials will have more information about the drop zones on their specific course.

How long can you search for a lost disc?

The traditional rule for disc golf states that players have up to three minutes to relocate a potentially lost disc.

If you are playing in an official tournament or ranked match, it is your duty to inform the officials that you are beginning your search.

This will allow the official timer to begin and you will then have 180 seconds to find your disc before being forced to resume based on the rules.

If you do not follow the time restrictions mentioned in this rule, you may be subject to receiving a course courtesy penalty and this is typically added in the form of a penalty stroke.

Other penalties may also exist, but in most cases it will be an added penalty stroke.

Rule summary

  • All Players have 3 Minutes (180 Seconds) to Search for their Lost Disc
  • Players should inform Tournament Officials that they are Beginning their Search (Tournaments Only)
  • Players need to Resume Play based on Local Course Rules (Drop Zones or Previous Lie)
  • Players should bring a sufficient number of Backup Discs in case they lose some discs on the Course
  • Players should make their best effort to Return Lost Discs to Other Players

Drop Zones and Replaying from a Previous Lie

Some players commonly get confused about the drop zone requirements.

It is important to remember that not every single disc golf course provides drop zones, so you may be required to simply play your next shot from the previous lie.

Drop zones are typically marked with signs, spray paint, or some other large indicator, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out for these markers when you are out on the course.

How many extra discs should you bring with you on the course?

Many players recognize that they are supposed to bring at least one set of discs.

This set traditionally includes the drive, mid-range, and putter discs.

Some players also elect to bring a back up collection of discs just in case they get lost.

Some professional players actually bring bags full of discs, sometimes up to 20 or 30 discs.

The option really is up to you, but you will have to decide for yourself exactly how many different discs you want to bring with you.

Some courses make recommendations for their specific course layout, while others simply recommend at least one backup set.

It is typically a good idea to bring as many backups as you can carry to ensure that you don’t run out of options in the middle of a round.

This is especially true for officially ranked tournaments, but it’s not a bad idea to bring backups for casual exhibition rounds either.

What if you lose all of your discs in the middle of a round?

You may be subject to disqualification if you are unable to continue playing.

Some players may offer to let you borrow discs, but if you are unable to continue, then you will likely be disqualified from ranked tournaments or official matches.

If you lose all of your discs in the middle of a casual exhibition round, there is obviously no penalty other than what you paid for the discs.

Should you return lost discs to other players?

If you notice that somebody lost a disc and you happen to find it, the official rules recommend that you return it to them when possible.

This is a great way to show sportsmanship and it could lead to them returning a lost disc back to you in the future.

Players are typically encouraged to place some sort of tag indicator on their personal discs to make it easier for other players to return them to the rightful owner.

If you find a lost disc without this information on it, then it might be a good idea to return it to the course director and let them know where you found it.

High-quality sportsmanship is always recommended in all sports, including disc golf.

Players should always make their best effort to return lost discs to other players when possible.

Final thoughts

It is now time to summarize all of the important details that we have discussed about the lost disc rule.

It is important to be prepared to lose discs, which is why you should always bring a sufficient number of backups.

You should search within the available time-frame to find lost discs, but don’t spend more time than what is provided or you will risk further penalties.

Always make sure to resume play from the appropriate location. This will typically be the previous lie or some marked drop zone on the course.

If you follow of the lost disc rules that we have mentioned above, then you will likely never face any penalty strokes for incorrectly making decisions that relate to this rule.

You should always reach out to local players, course managers, or rules officials if you are ever confused about local course rules that relate to the lost disc rule.

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