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803.11

A. A disc shall be declared lost if the player cannot locate it within three minutes after arriving at the spot where it was last seen by the group or an official. Two players or an official must note when the timing of three minutes begins. All players of the group must, upon request, assist in searching for
the disc for the full three minutes before the disc is declared lost. The disc is considered lost immediately upon the expiration of the three minute time limit

B. A player whose disc is declared lost shall receive one penalty throw. If the throw was made from the tee, the player will re-tee for the next shot. If not made from the tee, the group will determine the approximate lie from which the throw was made, and the player will throw again from that lie. In all cases the original throw plus one penalty throw shall be counted in the player's score.

C. If it is discovered, prior to the completion of the tournament, that a player's disc that
was declared lost had been removed or taken, then the player shall have two throws removed from his or her score.

D. A marker disc that is lost shall be replaced in its approximate lie as agreed to by a
majority of the group or an official with no penalty.


Talk about brutality in rule changes....I remember, and not too long ago either, when the spot was agreed upon by the players in the group based on where it was last seen....sort of a gentlemen's agreement.

Although it's been a couple of years since this one changed, I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but still having a hard time...and I know there is a reason for the change...likely eliminates controversy in the spot (lie) given....but in all my years playing...I can't remember or even remember hearing of an issue with the 'spot' given in the case of a lost disc....not OB...Lost!!

Now, I agree with the penality stroke...simply because in most cases the disc becomes lost, because one threw it into a place they shouldn't have....a bad shot. I also agree with the current time allotment...just not "the go back and re-throw" deal, the way it's written now. Isn't it bad enough to take a penality stroke and lose a disc? Now, if it's on the drive.....your huffing it all the way back to the pad to try again.

Also, in most cases, the disc becomes lost because it went really far and pinpointing the exact spot it landed is virtually impossible. It may have turned a corner, flew into the shule....but down there....and of course we can't forget about the Gremlin/Black Hole theory....lost in plain sight!!! In the event it's a longer hole....that 4 just became a 5...so in a sense, now your being penalized 2 strokes more often then not....plus the lost disc.

In the event of a busy tournament...whereas 'Flow of Play' is an issue....how is going back to re-throw conducive to that?

Now, in some cases it may be an advantage to re-tee...but in most cases..I'd say no it's not.


That's why I think the rule for 'Lost Disc' should be similiar to 'Out of Bounds' (803.9)


'Re-Throw' as a players option or take the spot agreed upon by the group.

What do you think?

Tags: disc, golf, lie, lost, ob, penality, rulebook, rules, tee

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Replies to This Discussion

I have no problem with the "stroke and distance" approach to the rule change for a lost disc, precisely because it becomes much easier to determine where the player should take the next throw from: precisely the place the last throw was taken from, and there is less animosity among the group.

In the 2004 WDGC, pro master division, a player on my card threw a disc into some semi-heavy woods, and we could not find the disc. He then proceeded to set up for his next shot on the edge of the woods, and I stopped him, saying that the last tree I saw it hit was well inside the woods, and the next shot should be taken on the ground under that portion of the tree where I last saw the disc. Well, a long and somewhat heated discussion occurred, with the outcomne being provisional shots, since we could not get a Marshal. Funny, but I don't even know what the result was after the round, because I was confident that the staff would make the right call.

I say it is a good rules change, because it makes the spot of the next throw much easier to determine. Yes, it could slow play to retee, but it also slows play to get a group consensus of where each persoh last saw the disc.
I agree with Bill that it was and remains a good change. The only arguments I've heard against it is that it's overly punitive (perhaps) and that it's time consuming (I disagree the sport needs to speed things up, but that's a different story).

I've also always felt the OB rule ought to go the same way, to stroke and distance only (ok, drop zone option stays too) rather than the choice we get now. And that's for the same reason the lost disc rule had to change, to take away the sometimes arbitrary, sometimes antagonistic decision-making on where to place the next lie and make it the same for everyone. But I'd also change it to add more teeth to the rule so that perhaps some courses wouldn't rely so heavily on copious OB areas to add difficulty and raise scores, and use it more strategically and sparingly. Sometimes the solution to having a somewhat punitive rule isn't changing the rule, but limiting the need to apply it.

But that's a huge tangent and not likely to happen, so I'll stop. Back to the lost disc rule...good the way it is now. Players just need to watch their discs better and not lose them and it's not a problem.
I've never played with the rule the old way, but it sounds horribly unfair. Potentially to people in the group, but certainly to people off of your card. I've played with people who try to eek out every advantage and have been abused by their majority. On a wooded course if you lost a disc who's to say you are pinned down hard under some bushes or behind a tree, making your next throw very difficult and the group decides to spot in a relative clearing near the area it was last seen...that is utterly rediculous.

The new rule is however, is in my opinion, overly punative. I think you should rethrow, counting your original throw, but not a penalty throw. On some blind tee offs, it's very difficult to find your disc sometimes, even in the open, if there's no spotter. So it's basically a random penalty for those who lose their discs on a decent tee off...and it's 2 strokes!

I don't remember who argued that it was more contentious for the group to determine the previous lie than an approximate one in the case of a lost disc, but that is just silly. You stood near that person, you saw the type of lie they had (ie in the schule, under a tree, etc...) whereas with spotting an approximate lie with a lost disc...obviously you don't know anything about that lie, or you'd have found the disc.

So, I'd keep the rule as is, just take a stroke off of the penalty. If you lose your tee shot, you retee on shot 2...you've lost a stroke and a disc, isn't that enough of a penalty for a sometimes random situation?
Brandon Swanson said:
So, I'd keep the rule as is, just take a stroke off of the penalty. If you lose your tee shot, you retee on shot 2...you've lost a stroke and a disc, isn't that enough of a penalty for a sometimes random situation?

The problem with limiting the lost disc penalty to just distance is that it would be an advantage to lost disc over an unplayable lie. The penalty for these two needs to be consistent or players might not really look for their disc.
Brandon Swanson said:
I don't remember who argued that it was more contentious for the group to determine the previous lie than an approximate one in the case of a lost disc, but that is just silly. You stood near that person, you saw the type of lie they had (ie in the schule, under a tree, etc...) whereas with spotting an approximate lie with a lost disc...obviously you don't know anything about that lie, or you'd have found the disc.

Just to be clear, the old rule was not that the group chose a location that approximated the lost lie (like you say, if it's lost, how does anyone know even approximately where it is), it was the group had to choose a location that was approximately where the lost disc was last seen. That was always the sticky point in my experience.

As Bill illustrated in his example, where one last "saw" the shot can vary greatly even among 100% honest players. Different lines of sight and angles, etc can result in three people seeing the disc at three different "spots" before it disappeared. And that's before you take into account those that, regardless of what they actually saw, will give the player the benefit of last "seeing" the disc before it left the fairway (often including the player himself), affording the player a much better lie than he might truly deserve. Sure that's being generous and kind and perhaps keeping the peace within the group, but what happens if the exact same situation occurs in another group and that player gets the sticklers who make him take his next lie in the schule where they last saw the shot go? Probably better, competitively, if both players get the same treatment regardless of group make-up and go back to their previous lie to re-throw their lost shot.
Good and valid points to why the rule could be construed as better...However, still I can't recall any major hassles regarding the spot. The guys I've played with for years, in my experience played by the way the rule was worded...basically...Play from where you agree you last saw it....if that was 40 feet into the shule before it disappeared, then so be it...you would have to throw from there anyway...if you found it.

Far more hassles arise from the OB options...."Did I go over land last over there or back here"

Bottom line is...the "Lost Disc" rule and the "Out of Bounds" rule should be consistent with one and another.

I wouldn't like it either, if they changed the OB rule to default 're-tee'...but I would understand it more then the current 'Lost Disc' requirement.
JC said:
Brandon Swanson said:
I don't remember who argued that it was more contentious for the group to determine the previous lie than an approximate one in the case of a lost disc, but that is just silly. You stood near that person, you saw the type of lie they had (ie in the schule, under a tree, etc...) whereas with spotting an approximate lie with a lost disc...obviously you don't know anything about that lie, or you'd have found the disc.

Just to be clear, the old rule was not that the group chose a location that approximated the lost lie (like you say, if it's lost, how does anyone know even approximately where it is), it was the group had to choose a location that was approximately where the lost disc was last seen. That was always the sticky point in my experience.

As Bill illustrated in his example, where one last "saw" the shot can vary greatly even among 100% honest players. Different lines of sight and angles, etc can result in three people seeing the disc at three different "spots" before it disappeared. And that's before you take into account those that, regardless of what they actually saw, will give the player the benefit of last "seeing" the disc before it left the fairway (often including the player himself), affording the player a much better lie than he might truly deserve. Sure that's being generous and kind and perhaps keeping the peace within the group, but what happens if the exact same situation occurs in another group and that player gets the sticklers who make him take his next lie in the schule where they last saw the shot go? Probably better, competitively, if both players get the same treatment regardless of group make-up and go back to their previous lie to re-throw their lost shot.

Thanks for clarifying the old rule. I'd say that's even worse than trying to approximate the actual lie, because the disc probably caromed out of sight into some deep woods. Although I still think the new rule is overly punative, I don't see any other way to correct the situation other than a re-throw. Thank you KRUPICKA for pointing out the reason for a stroke penalty, plus the throw. That does make a lot of sense to me and helps me understand the reason for such a harsh penalty. I retract my previous rule suggestion and until there's a better suggestion, favor the current rule.

All this said, 2 things could go a long way to negate the situation.

1...all players watch all the throws and try to be helpful in spotting the disc.
2...TDs find spotters for their tournaments and place them on notoriously bad holes. High grass...blind tees...what have you. I always HATE when someone loses a disc...I'm notorious for miraculous finds of other people's discs. I know what a rotten feeling it is to lose a disc in a tourney.
you can always throw a provisional,if you think it may be lost. to save time later. but i think in alot of casual play,players won't go back to previous throw. and then that's encouraging playing by some rules,but not all.
Great discussion....still down with the old rule though. I do agree everyone needs to pay attention to the shots particularly the player throwing it...and in one sense this new rule really really encourages that...lol!! the old rule did too! BTW


But in the case of poor course maintenance...i.e. "Little Course on the Prairie"...where a lost disc is the randomality of bad luck...not a bad shot...the players is further penalized with the distance factor on top of a stroke. Don't like it one bit.

Lets say....

Bob throws a decent tee shot on a 350' hole...maybe the shot of his life...big D.... everybody sees it come down approx. 40 feet short...nuts in the fairway!

they get there and they can't find it in time...buried somewhere in the grass clumps or weeds. Bob had a possible 2... if were found... or an up and down circle 3 with the penality...4 at the worst.

Now, Bob has too go all the way back to the tee..where he likely can't duplicate the first shot anyways...Looks like Bob is heading for a 5...He's now being penalized for a good shot, That landed decent...but in the rough that shouldn't be that rough in the first place! Bob would have been better off, penality wise, to throw a bad shot into the OB creek that happened to be on the left side of the fairway 255 feet away from the pad.

Something is not right about that....IMHO

Oh yeah! Bob's new to the game...still not sure he wants to play all the time...really struggling with it.
Jamie 'gr8rocshot' Ruane said:
Great discussion....still down with the old rule though. I do agree everyone needs to pay attention to the shots particularly the player throwing it...and in one sense this new rule really really encourages that...lol!! the old rule did too! BTW


But in the case of poor course maintenance...i.e. "Little Course on the Prairie"...where a lost disc is the randomality of bad luck...not a bad shot...the players is further penalized with the distance factor on top of a stroke. Don't like it one bit.

Lets say....

Bob throws a decent tee shot on a 350' hole...maybe the shot of his life...big D.... everybody sees it come down approx. 40 feet short...nuts in the fairway!

they get there and they can't find it in time...buried somewhere in the grass clumps or weeds. Bob had a possible 2... if were found... or an up and down circle 3 with the penality...4 at the worst.

Now, Bob has too go all the way back to the tee..where he likely can't duplicate the first shot anyways...Looks like Bob is heading for a 5...He's now being penalized for a good shot, That landed decent...but in the rough that shouldn't be that rough in the first place! Bob would have been better off, penality wise, to throw a bad shot into the OB creek that happened to be on the left side of the fairway 255 feet away from the pad.

Something is not right about that....IMHO

Oh yeah! Bob's new to the game...still not sure he wants to play all the time...really struggling with it.

Hmmm..you make a good point in that scenario Jamie. I might be starting to change my mind about the current rule. You do get penalized a lot for a sometimes random scenario...you didn't throw into a hazard, you lost a disc.
Here's another scenerio that backfires this version in the opposite direction...this could happen with this version ..or for that matter, even if the re-tee was mearly an option. (Hmmm, maybe the option isn't such a good idea either)


Fred's got game....he can park that 350 footer...no problem. But today's he's a little jittery....first day off competition and all.....He griplocks one....gank!!! deep into the jungle!!...150 feet from the Tee! but ends up 3 o'clock...hard right and nasty! everybody sees it go in fairly deep bouncing around off some trees...out of sight!!! yeah we're talkin 5, 6, 7 territory ...5 if he's lucky, 4 maybe, if there's a miracle parting of the branches....Of course, they can't find it!!! ....Fred re-tees....and this time he focuses...Parks it!!! Drop in circle 4...PHEW!!!!

After the round, Fred and his group learn from the dudes two cards back...that there was...a couple of young pranksters hiding back in there...they had caught those little bastards covering one of their discs with leaves and crap! ....and holding Fred's Disc!!!

So according to the rule, section C. Fred now has 2 strokes removed from his score...Good hole, Fred!!! That 4 is now a 2.
Here's the thing...coming up with an extreme, one in a billion situation doesn't really provide "proof" that a rule is bad. I think you could come up with such things for pretty much any rule and make it look bad.

I understand the frustration with losing the stroke AND the distance, but I think part of that is due to the fact that the old rule is still fresh in your mind. If the rule had always been stroke and distance, I doubt any of us would question it. We wouldn't know any different.

The solution to these extreme scenarios is more vigilance on the course. If there's any concern about potentially losing a shot on a hole, utilize spotters. I know this isn't a problem everywhere, but up here in the winter, every throw brings the risk of a lost disc due to snow. So we all watch every shot carefully and spot for one another on any shot over 150 feet or around a corner. It doesn't slow play down for one member of the group to jog up the fairway, spot, then switch when it's their turn. And best of all, we rarely have lost discs. No reason that can't become more of a norm in "summer" play as well, and make it so the only time discs are lost is in the water (or way up in a tree)...but those are really irretrievable, not lost.

BTW, if we were still under the old lost disc rule, I'd declare it unplayable and go back to the tee anyway. Better a penalty-4 that way than a 6 or 7 fighting out of those woods. And regardless of which rule was used, Fred would still get two strokes back if the disc were discovered to be removed. He'd just likely be going from a 6 to a 4 instead of a 4 to a 2 in your scenario.

Jamie 'gr8rocshot' Ruane said:
Here's another scenerio that backfires this version in the opposite direction...this could happen with this version ..or for that matter, even if the re-tee was mearly an option. (Hmmm, maybe the option isn't such a good idea either) Fred's got game....he can park that 350 footer...no problem. But today's he's a little jittery....first day off competition and all.....He griplocks one....gank!!! deep into the jungle!!...150 feet from the Tee! but ends up 3 o'clock...hard right and nasty! everybody sees it go in fairly deep bouncing around off some trees...out of sight!!! yeah we're talkin 5, 6, 7 territory ...5 if he's lucky, 4 maybe, if there's a miracle parting of the branches....Of course, they can't find it!!! ....Fred re-tees....and this time he focuses...Parks it!!! Drop in circle 4...PHEW!!!!
After the round, Fred and his group learn from the dudes two cards back...that there was...a couple of young pranksters hiding back in there...they had caught those little bastards covering one of their discs with leaves and crap! ....and holding Fred's Disc!!!

So according to the rule, section C. Fred now has 2 strokes removed from his score...Good hole, Fred!!! That 4 is now a 2.

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