If you are new to the growing world of disc golf, you might think of it as a hobby rather than a sport. You might also think it can be played by simply tossing frisbees in your backyard into any basket or bucket you have on hand. There are a lot of misconceptions to sort out there, but let us start with the frisbees.
If you show up to your local disc golf course with a plastic frisbee bearing the name of a local real estate office, one that has been collecting dust in your garage for a few years, you can expect that the seasoned disc golfers are going to groan.
You can also expect to see lots of eye-rolling and head-shaking on the course as you stand out to them as an obvious newbie. Discs used in disc golf and plastic frisbees are NOT the same.
While some people use frisbees for practice throws, certain discs are specific to the game of disc golf. A frisbee is usually around 12 inches in diameter, but a disc for disc golf will be much smaller, usually around 8 inches. Discs for disc golf are also denser than frisbees.
These discs are sold in a set, with a driver, mid-range, and putter. And you’d best get some before hitting your local course!
Now that we have cleared up the biggest misconception about disc golf, we will discuss why it IS a sport and how official dimension requirements govern the equipment (specifically the baskets).
Just as you would expect the NBA to have consistently sized hoops or the NFL to have consistently inflated footballs (expect for—oops—that one time…), you can expect in league disc golf play that the baskets will be consistently sized, too.
Who Makes the Rules in Disc Golf?
Regarding rules of play, league memberships, basket dimensions, and just about any other topic related to disc golf, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) has the final word.
First organized in 1976, the PDGA International Disc Golf Center is now located just outside of Augusta, Georgia, which of course, boasts a nice little golf course you may have heard of as well.
The PDGA hosts tournaments all over the country, ranks players, produces a competition manual, and offers resources and guides to develop courses. The PDGA keeps lists of approved equipment on their site as well.
Once you have spent some time on the PDGA site, you will have a good idea of why this is not just a “hobby” but a full-fledged sport.
Next, we will take a look at the dimensions and specs associated with disc golf baskets.
Disc Golf Baskets and Dimensions
A disc golf basket’s dimensions can be defined by three separate areas: the pole and the main basket, a lower basket, and frame, and the surrounding chains.
Each of these components will be subject to specific measurements. There is indeed some variety within basket types, and there are numerous manufacturers who produce them (as well as players making their own “DIY” baskets in back yards).
We will take a look at four different sets of basket dimensions here:
Disc Golf Basket Dimensions: Homemade
Your homemade basket dimensions will vary based on whether or not you are following a blueprint or “winging it” to create one on your own. If you are interested in practicing your game at home to prepare for tournaments, you should consider making a basket that meets the dimensions outlined in the versions below.
However, if you are tight on space and just looking to have fun with some practice disc tossing, you can construct a homemade mini basket with a rim diameter of 12 inches on a short pole.
Disc Golf Basket Dimensions: Basic
Basic disc golf baskets are simple in construction and not terribly expensive to purchase. You can find a portable basket, while other versions can be permanently mounted in your yard if you prefer a more permanent basket solution.
A basic disc golf basket will meet these requirements:
- The rim of the basket has to be 21 1/3 inches wide
- The chains must not go lower than 22 inches underneath the rim
- The lower basket should be at least 6.7 inches high and 25.7 inches wide
Disc Golf Basket Dimensions: Standard
A standard disc golf basket is a step up from the basic, with a few subtle but important differences. The dimensions listed above are the same for standard; however, these baskets will generally contain more than 18 galvanized chains.
Also, a standard basket is typically constructed with more durable and heavy duty materials, which means it will also have a higher price point than a basic basket.
Bear in mind, though, your basket needs to stand up to the elements, so it might make sense to invest a little more for equipment built to last with tough and durable construction.
Disc Golf Basket Dimensions: Champion
Finally, the championship-level baskets will also have the same dimensions as the basic in most cases. But these will be the cream of the crop in terms of quality of material and attention to detail in construction.
Champion-level disc golf baskets are the PDGA-approved baskets in the biggest tournaments and events across the country.
Chains and Disc Golf Baskets
As we have covered, the basket dimensions are roughly the same across all of the basket types. Chains will vary from homemade baskets all the way up to the champion style. The minimum chain length, dictated by the PDGA, is 9 inches. And the minimum number of chains around the basket is 12.
This is not to say you will not see homemade versions with chains as long as 24 inches, but in PDGA sanctioned events, the measurements will meet their specifications.
Around the basket, you will see 12 chains that run vertically and then six more set around the 12 chains. The actual thickness of the chain is one area where the PDGA has not established a specific rule.
When constructing a basket for home use, it is best to follow the PDGA specs as closely as possible and use the best materials you can afford; this will ensure you are practicing in a way that most closely resembles what you would experience in a tournament.
Disc Golf Basket Height and Width
The final specifications we will consider are the overall height and width of your disc golf basket. According to the PDGA, the basket needs to be 52 inches above the ground, and the measurement from the floor to the lower basket should be 25.7 inches.
When measuring the diameter of the basket, you should reach 21.3 inches wide. Because the lower basket is broader, there, you will hit a diameter of 25.7 inches.
No matter which basket you choose or whether you try your hand at constructing your own at home, getting as close as possible to the PDGA measurements will help you when it comes time to compete at tournament level.