How Scoring Works in Disc Golf
You’ve just gotten into disc golf. After playing a few practice rounds, you think you understand most of the basics to this fun game. Now you’re ready to move onto scored games. How does scoring work in disc golf?
Scoring in disc golf is very similar to scoring in ball golf. Each throw counts as a stroke. The winner is the player with the least amount of strokes.
To help assign scores in disc golf, you have to learn the various score terms first. For instance, if you get an ace, then that means you’ve scored a hole in one. You also have to follow par, which refers to a certain amount of throws you can take per round without getting a penalty. Once you know these and other terms, you’ll need either a phone, scoring app or a scorecard and pencil. Then you can begin jotting down your scores for each hole, calculating the winning score from there.
If you’re confused by some of what we mentioned in the paragraph above, don’t sweat it. In this article, we’ll go in-depth and explain all the score terms in disc golf. We’ll also share some methods for keeping score and, finally, give you some tips for improving your own score.
Let’s get started!
What Does Each Score Mean in Disc Golf?
Although you play disc golf by throwing a disc, you’ll still come across a lot of the same terms you would in a traditional game of golf which is played with a ball instead. You may or may not know these terms. Until you grasp them, you’ll find it quite hard to score yourself accurately, if at all.
We first recommend you familiarize yourself with the following terms. Then you can start scoring yourself.
When you’re playing a game of disc golf, you’ll want to score an ace. As we mentioned in the intro, this term means you’ve achieved a hole in one. Just like in traditional golf, you can’t get better than one of these!
If you do play traditional golf, then you may already know the term par. This tells you how many throws or strokes you can take per hole without taking any penalties. If you go over par, it tends to hurt your score, so be careful!
Ideally, you want to be under par in disc golf. If you manage to get the disc in the hole and you still have an extra throw to go (one throw “under par”), then you’ve got a birdie. This will contribute positively to your score, so congrats!
Sometimes you do even better than a birdie. If you can beat par by two throws (two “under par”), you’ll have scored an eagle. This earns you an even better score, so try to get good enough at your game that you can throw some eagles.
Of course, not everyone plays at their best every single time, and that’s okay. If you’re not having a great day and you surpass par by one, there’s a term for that, too. It’s called a bogey.
Getting a bogey or two a game won’t help your score, but it also won’t drag you down too far, either. Just make sure you don’t make bogeys a habit and you should be okay.
If you missed par by two, then you’ve scored a double bogie. Again, this isn’t good, so try to avoid double bogies when you can.
The term bogie goes beyond single and double bogies. You can also get triple bogies and higher depending on how far over par you go. The further you surpass par, the worse your score.
If you are indeed having an off day, then you might get an extra throw on your score. Sometimes you accidentally throw the disc into the water or otherwise go out of bounds. When this happens an extra throw is added to your score which essentially puts you back in bounds. As you can guess then, you shouldn’t try to attain to an extra throw, as it’s not a good thing for your score.
When to Keep Score
Keeping score in disc golf is part of the game, but you certainly don’t have to keep score in order to play. Sometimes, it’s more fun to just go out to the course and play with your friends without the burden or stress of keeping score. This can make the game more fun and friendly.
When you want to make the game a bit more competitive, that’s when it’s time to break out the scorecard and start keeping score. The important part is that you’re always having fun!
Recommended Ways to Keep Score
Okay, now that you understand the terms that pertain to disc golf, you can start scoring yourself and those you’re playing with. To do so, you’re going to need some means of keeping the score. Don’t just make mental notes, as you’ll surely lose track of the score throughout the game. That’s nothing personal, but it’s hard to play and remember a score at the same time.
There are two great options for tracking your disc golf score as you play. There’s the old-school method (pen and paper) and the new-school (phone app).
Pencil and Paper
Your first means of taking score is to use a pencil and paper. You could just rip out a piece of paper from a notebook, but it’s much better to rely on a scorecard. I have one here for you to download for free.
Free Printable Disc Golf Scorecard
Feel free to print this scorecard out and use it as much as you want. In fact, print several copies. This way, you can play a handful of games before you need to print more copies. You should use a pencil over a pen, preferably one with an eraser. This way, if you make any scoring mistakes or have a dispute with the other player, you can erase any markings on the scorecard.
Paper scorecards have their pros and cons. You can concentrate on the game without bringing your phone, which is one plus in case your phone runs out of battery while you’re playing. With a pencil and paper, you’re also keeping an old scoring method alive. However, having to carry the pencil around can get annoying. You might also struggle to find a surface to write on legibly.
That’s why I typically use…
Alternately, you can step into the 21st century and download a disc golf scoring app on your phone. UDisc Disc Golf App is one such option you have at your disposal. The Professional Disc Golf Association or PDGA also has its own app for Google Play and Apple App Store users.
There’s no need to fiddle around for a pencil or that printed scorecard when you can use an app. Since you probably already bring your phone with you everywhere you go, you can just open the app and score as you go.
Again, there’s pros and cons to this. You’ll love the convenience, as that’s the main benefit. With a few inputs on your touchscreen, you can keep score quickly. Do keep in mind you can run into trouble with such an app, though. First, if you don’t by chance keep your phone on you when playing disc golf, the weight of it can take some getting used to.
Also, you have to ensure you download a reputable app. We don’t doubt the PDGA app would produce accurate scores. When it comes to other third-party apps, you never know. Also, not all apps come free, which is another potential downside.
With that said, using a scoring app is a great option here.
Tips on Keeping Score in the Par Range
Once you’ve chosen the paper/pencil method or a scorekeeping app, you can begin playing a great game. Your goal with disc golf, just like traditional golf, is to score within par (or better!). How can you ensure you do that?
Here’s some of our top tips:
- Practice, practice, practice. If you’re reading this article, then you’re likely a disc golf beginner. Remember that everyone has to start from somewhere. You might have bad days, but the more you practice, the fewer those bad days become.
- Always have a great drive off the tee if possible. This way, you have a higher chance of success.
- Avoid taking risky shots. You might think you can throw between those trees there, but what if you don’t? Before you know it, you end up tanking your score just to impress your friends or opponents.
- Remember the rules for extra throws and try to avoid these. Stay away from the water when playing. Also, know the bounds of the game and don’t overshoot these.
- Don’t let yourself get discouraged for long. If you lose a big game, you’re going to feel disappointed, that’s for sure. The difference between a good disc golf player and a great one is that the great one will dust themselves off for next time. Learn from your mistakes and keep improving. Giving up may seem easy, but it’s not the right choice.
The game of disc golf shares a lot of the same scoring terms as traditional golf does. This includes the hole in one, called an ace in disc golf. You also have par and bogies.
If you don’t already know them, we suggest you familiarize yourself with the terms we discussed in this article. Then, decide whether you want to score your games using a phone app or even a pencil and paper.
Finally, get out there and start playing! Track your score as you go. Remember that hitting the water, going out of bounds, and surpassing par will all hurt your score. The more you practice and play, the better you’ll do. With time, you’ll start noticing your scores get better and better.