If you’ve ever played disc golf near any body of water, you may have wondered if disc golf discs can float. This is a question that comes up everytime I see someone throw a disc in the water.
So, do disc golf discs float? Most disc golf discs do not float; however, there are some light weight discs that will. It’s smart to keep at least one floating disc in your bag if you’re playing disc golf near a body of water. Here’s a list of the most popular discs that can float:
- Innova Wahoo (Distance Driver)
- Innova Dragon (Distance Driver)
- Hydra (Putt & Approach)
- AquaFlight’s entire line floats in water
*Side note: Any Innova Blizzard disc under 138 Grams should float.
Why get a floater
The number one reason I’ve lost discs in the past is that the disc flew off course and landed in a body of water. For those of you who’ve thrown a disc in the water in the past, you already know that it quickly sinks to the bottom and if the water is somewhat deep or murky, there’s a good chance that disc is now lost.
This is why it’s a great idea to keep a disc that can float in your bag. When you find yourself at a course with a water hazard, having a floating disc is a great option to have. It may just save you the cost of replacing a favorite disc that might have been lost if thrown in the water by accident.
What if I don’t like floating discs?
You don’t need to throw floating discs. If you’ve tried a few out and they don’t seem to work for you, that’s okay, but you may want to look into a disk retrieval device for you when your disk inadvertently hits the water and sinks on you.
The Golden Retriever by Disc Dynamics (link to Amazon for best price) is a great tool to have on hand in case you throw a disc in the river and it sinks to the bottom. If you can still see your disc, pull out your retriever, and toss it in the water after your disc. It may take a couple of tries, but you should be able to reel it out without much trouble and it’ll save you from going for a swim to get it.
Do discs that float fly differently than normal discs?
Discs that float are normal discs. They will have their own flight paths and stability so do your research. The Wahoo is is a very fast and stable driver for intermediate to advanced players. The Dragon is more reliable and better for beginners.
If you like the Innova Destroyer, you may also really like the Wahoo. If you’re not sure, and you want a driver that floats, I would go with the Innova Dragon as it’s a better disc for a wider range of players. The Hydra is a great floater for putt & approach shots.
It’s really best to get your hands on one and try it out just like you would with any other disc. You may find that a floating disc just happens to be your new favorite disc.
What makes them float?
Discs that float are designed and manufactured to have micro bubbles in the plastic. These bubbles of air help them to stay above water.
The weight of the plastic also plays a factor. The micro bubbles help to keep heavier discs from sinking, but even discs that are not specifically designed to float, will float if they are light enough. As stated above, all Innova Blizzard discs should float if they are under 138 grams.
What happens to my score if I throw a disc in the water?
Most of the time, a throw that lands in the water is out of bounds (806.02 Out-of-Bounds).
A player whose disc is out-of-bounds receives one penalty throw. The player may play the next throw from:
- The previous lie; or,
- A lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface at any point on a one-meter line that is perpendicular to the out-of-bounds line at the point where the disc was last in-bounds; or,
- If a perpendicular lie as described above is not available, a lie designated by a marker disc placed on the playing surface at the point that is nearest to where the disc was last in-bounds, and that is up to one meter away from any out-of-bounds area.
Some areas of water aren’t considered out of bounds. Something like a large puddle of water could be considered in bounds and playable. You may get your feet wet, but at least you won’t take an extra stroke.
If you’re playing a casual game, the out of bounds rule may not apply to you. It will depend on the leniency of the people you’re playing with. Some are sticklers for rules and others aren’t. Rule of thumb will be to ask your group how they score a shot in the water.
Some will say just fish it out and throw, and count it as one shot. Some will say it’s a penalty stroke to fish it out, then also count your next throw.
Don’t Float Away
As a cautionary tale, if you throw a floating disc into a river that’s running pretty quickly, you may lose your disc anyway due to it floating down stream. In that case, it may be better to just throw a regular disc that would sink instead. You may get wet getting it out, but at least it didn’t float away.
Just keep these tips in mind the next time your playing disc golf near water and consider picking up a floating disc or disc retriever if you think they’ll work for you.