Understanding Disc Golf Culture

disc golf culture

Culture – noun

The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.

Every society on earth has its own unique customs and traditions that make up its culture. In disc golf, we have our own culture. Even though our sport is relatively new, we’ve already established many of our own customs and traditions. Some of these are crossovers from ball golf, but many of them started organically. Here are some of the customs and traditions that are very common in disc golf.

Bag tags

bag tags disc golf

Most disc golf clubs have numbered tags that each club members receives when they register for the club. The tags are numbered sequentially and the goal is to get the lowest number possible. Club members compete for the tags at leagues, tournaments and casual rounds.

At the beginning of the round, tag holders put the tags in a bunch, then they are given out after the round according to the scores, with the lowest score getting the lowest tag number. The tags are for club bragging rights and a great way to make leagues and casual rounds more fun.


Skins are another fun way to have a casual round of disc golf. Skins participants are playing for a set amount of money per hole. It’s usually a quarter per hole.

After you finish a hole, the person with the best score for that hole gets all the money, or ‘skins’. If there is a tie, it’s called a ‘push’ and the money carries over to the next hole. Sometimes there will be many pushes in a row and the skins amount get pretty big.

skins disc golf

Other optional ways of playing this game include everyone giving a dollar to the person with the best front nine, another dollar for the best back nine, and a buck for the best total score. Occasionally, we have a pot for the person involved in the most pushes. We call that ‘shirts’.


pair up player disc golf

A really fun format that is common in disc golf is doubles. That is where you pair up with another player and compete as a team. Sometimes you get to pick your partner, and other times it is done randomly by drawing cards for flipping discs.

One of the most common ways of playing doubles is a scramble format. With a scramble, both players will tee off, then decide which of the two throws is the best. Then both players proceed to that disc and play from there.


Telling someone they made a nice shot while the disc is still in the air, then it hits a tree or goes out of bounds, or maybe a putt chains out, is known as ‘nice-ing’ a player. Although there are few disc golfers who are actually superstitious, there are many who jokingly accuse other disc golfer of cursing them by complementing their throw or putt before it comes to rest. I’ve heard there are people who seriously believe saying ‘nice’ affects the flight of a disc, but it could only be a few people.


Disc golfers like to meet regularly to compete against each other in a casual setting. Leagues are a great way to accomplish that desire. These competitions are usually run by a club. They can be held monthly, weekly, or several times per week.

They can be one of several formats, such as doubles, singles, or flex starts (A format in which people show up to the designated course within some designated time frame). Leagues are usually inexpensive events with small cash payouts for the winners.

Glow rounds

playing disc golf at night

Playing disc golf at night is a lot of fun! When people hear that people play at night, they assume that players lose a lot of discs. Actually, it’s more difficult to lose a glow disc or a disc with an added light. Plus, the flight of a glowing or lit disc is amazing to watch! They can be played like a regular league event, or just a casual round.

51 game

This is an ongoing game that has many different names. Basically, all of the participants in the game agree to pay money to any other participants at any time they hit the basket on their drive, or get an ace.

That can happen during league events or even casual rounds. People who agree to play (in advance) will give $1 if another player on their card hits the basket, or $5 if they get an ace. It’s a nice little reward if you get an ace or hit metal. One rule we have is that if you get an ace on a basket in another fairway (the wrong basket), you have to pay everyone $5!


Disc golf has its own language, rules, and culture. These are the things that contribute to the appeal of our amazing sport. Find a local club and see what their culture is all about.


About Joshua Christensen

I am an ultimate frisbee player turned disc golfer. I have been playing disc golf for a few years now and have fallen in love with the sport and love to do what I can to further its growth!