PDGA tournament season is here. Sanctioned events are happening everywhere and the number of tournaments will only increase as we get deeper into spring and summer. There were several new and updated rules enacted by the PDGA as of January 1, 2022. In this series, we will be covering the most notable changes to the PDGA rulebook for this year.
Out-of-Bounds Relief & Legal Stance
Today, let’s focus on the new OB relief rules for 2022. PDGA rule 806.02 has been updated to what many are now calling the “semicircle” rule. The primary change is that a player whose disc has come to rest out-of-bounds now has more flexibility where they can take their meter relief. You can read the full 806.02 Out-of-Bounds rule on the PDGA website, but we’ll try to break down this legal stance update into simpler terms.
The Old Rule
Previously, a player would be allowed up to one (1) meter of relief from the last point their disc crossed in bounds before leaving the playing surface and ending up OB. This point can be determined by a spotter or as a group decision by you, the player, and your cardmates. The previous line of relief was up to one (1) meter perpendicular to the OB line. You would determine the point of entry and then step your meter off directly in a straight line away from the out-of-bounds. And, of course you would incur a one-throw penalty. You didn’t have to take a full meter if you didn’t want.
The New Rule
Now, the rule allows you to take your up-to-a-meter relief in any direction from where your disc was last in bounds. You basically have a semicircle you are allowed to utilize, and your relief may be taken anywhere within that arc. It doesn’t matter if you end up closer to the basket or further away. You have flexibility to use your relief in any direction, which can be beneficial in some circumstances. You can choose a better stance or perhaps clear yourself a little further from an obstacle like a tree trunk or bush. It's a favorable change, but don't forget to tack on your penalty stroke. That remains the same.
Nearly-OB Relief (Not Changed)
It’s important to understand this semicircle relief rule does not apply to taking relief from a lie that is still in bounds. If your disc comes to rest within a meter of an out-of-bounds line (but is still determined in bounds), then you can take optional relief. You may choose to take up to one (1) meter of relief away from the OB line. However, this in-bounds relief must be taken in a straight line, perpendicularly away from the out-of-bounds marker. You are not allowed a semicircle in this situation.
*Mini Marker Tip: Bring along a mini marker disc and use it during casual rounds, especially when you are determining a legal stance. This will help you get in the routine for tournament play.
Listen to Your TD
A Tournament Director (TD) for a PDGA-sanctioned event must clearly define all OB lines, hazards and mandatories for each disc golf course in play. In fact, there are some new mandatory rules we will be discussing in an upcoming article. They may also announce additional relief from certain hazards like poison oak/ivy, as well as from dangerous OB lines. An example would include a barb wire fence, which traditionally allows for up to two (2) meters of relief to protect the players. There may also be designated drop zones (DZs) for certain OB areas on specific holes.
Abandoned Lies & Line of Relief
Disc golfers always have the option to abandon their lie and rethrow from their previous lie with one penalty stroke. OB relief may also be taken at any in-bounds point behind your meter relief, on a straight line between you, your mini marker disc and the target (basket). This is another rule to take advantage of if it opens up a better line or stance for your next throw. Just remember this only applies when your disc is out-of-bounds and not when taking free relief from an OB line or designated hazard.
*Rule Book Tip: Never Leave Home Without It: Be sure to carry your PDGA Rule Book for both competitive rounds and casual rounds. You'll never know when you might need it.
The rules of disc golf continue to get more complex with each passing year, but the PDGA and its members are always working to improve the sport by updating old rules and introducing new ones. Most of the new PDGA rules for 2022 are to the player’s advantage, so be sure you understand what they are and know when and how to implement them (especially during a sanctioned tournament round).
Stay tuned to the DGU Blog for more on this series of new PDGA rules for 2022.