What If My Disc Lands On Top Of The Basket In Disc Golf?


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If you are anything like me, then probably are the best disc golfer you know, in your house, sitting in the chair you are in, right? You may not be playing in any PDGA tournaments anytime soon but it is always helpful to you and your buddies if you know the rules of disc golf. There are all kinds of crazy throws that can accidentally happen and may cause you to wonder, is that even legal?.

I know one thing that caught me off guard was whether or not the disc that landed on top of the basket counted as a point. Well it turns out the answer is pretty straightforward.

A disc that lands on the top of the basket in disc golf does not count as a point. The PDGA rules for counting a score dictate that the disc must enter the target (basket) above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support.

That seems like a simple enough rule right? Why don’t we take a little time and dig into exactly what the rule states you can and cannot do when it comes to scoring and your disc being on top of the basket. If you can’t make it out to a local course then buy yourself a basket and stick it in your backyard to practice all the shots you need to win every game of disc golf you play. If you want a high quality disc golf basket then theDGA Mach II is what you are looking for. Take a look over at Infinite Discs. It is a great deal and has all the right specifications you need to start practicing the right way.

Does It Count If The Disc Lands On Top Of The Basket?

There are many ways a disc can land on top of the basket in disc golf and according to the rules it does not count as a point if your disc lands on the top of the basket in any way.

PDGA Official Rule 807 States:

  1. A target is a device whose purpose is to clearly determine completion of a hole. A basket target is designed to catch discs and generally consists of a tray, chains, and a chain support mounted on a pole. An object target generally has a marked target area.
  2. In order to complete a hole with a basket target, the thrower must release the disc and it must enter the target above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support, and come to rest supported by the target.
  3. In order to complete a hole with an object target, the thrower must release the disc and it must strike the marked target area of the object.

This used to have a little bit more convoluted description in older versions of the rulebooks but the newest updated version (December 2017) leaves little to interpret. You must throw the disc and it must enter the basket above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support, which is considered the top of the basket and come to rest inside that area of the basket. 

If your disc goes in the correct area and then pops up through the center and lands up top by some miraculous gravity defying act, then it still does not count because it is not resting inside the target area.

Some people may want to dispute this and interpret the rule to say that “if it went through the correct area and popped up, it is resting on the target so it does count as a point.” I just don’t see it that way and the rules are pretty clear to me that this is not the case. The only way that you could say this is a good shot is if some part of the disc is still inside the “safe zone” of the target. The disc would then be counted good in this scenario.

What Happens When The Disc Lands On Top Of The Basket?

So you have a disc that has landed on top of your next hole’s basket and you are wondering what you should do next? Well the PDGA has a frequently asked questions section and they answer this very question.

Frequently Asked Question From PDGA.com

I putted and my disc stayed on top of the basket. Now what?

You have not completed the hole (unless your disc somehow entered the target correctly before landing on top). Mark your lie below the disc and continue.

If you want to find out more about marking your lie, then See PDGA Rule 802.06: Marking the Lie or you can check out this video that explains everything about marking your lie in disc golf.

What If The Disc Gets Stuck On The Side Of The Basket?

The rules state that the disc must be thrown into the basket above the top of the tray and below the top of the chain support and must come to rest supported by the target. I guess that can be interpreted to mean “as long as it enters in the correct place and comes to rest on the target (basket) then it counts as a point, otherwise, no point is scored and you will have to make another throw from where your disc lies. 

“A few scenarios for how discs could end up supported by the basket are pictured below:

Courtesy of the PDGA Rulebook

1. The orange disc spanning the nubs is good, whether it got stuck there on its way in or on its way out after having hit chains. Part of the disc is over the top of the tray so it has entered the target correctly.

2. The red disc dangling on a single nub is good. Some small part of the disc is over the top of the tray, so it has entered the target correctly.

3. The white disc is good. The only way it would not be good is if it fell through the top, which does not appear possible for this target.

4. The red disc suspended in the chains is good. It must have gotten there by entering the target correctly.

5. The yellow disc is good. The bottom of the disc breaks the cylindrical plane between the top of the tray and the bottom of the chain support, so it has entered the target correctly.

6. The soft red disc wedged in the tray is almost certainly not good, as by far the most likely way for it to get there is by flying into the side of the tray from the outside. If it somehow entered the target over the top of the tray and bounced back out before getting stuck in the side (extremely unlikely), then it is good.”

Courtesy of the PDGA Rulebook

As you can see, there are many different ways a disc golf disc can land in and around the target and there are many different ways the scores can be counted, or not. It takes good judgement and a good amount of practice to know what is a good shot and what isn’t. If you are just hanging around throwing some discs with your buddies, then the rules can be bent or you can play with your own set of rules, but if you want to get into the pro circuit, then you need to know what is considered a good disc score and what is not.

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