What if My Disc Golf Disc Lands in the Water?

So you found the water, eh? Don’t worry, because disc golfers everywhere know the feeling. You think you’ve thrown what could have been an ace of only the basket was parked where it had been on the last hole.

But this hole just had to have water, and now the expletives come flying. Your disc went into the drink. Now what happens?

What happens if your disc golf disc lands in the water?

If your disc lands in the water, you have to take a penalty stroke. Hopefully you can still retrieve your disc from the water, but if not, you will lose a disc and a stroke in the process. 

Can I get it out of the water?

So were you able to get your disc out of the water? That’s the next question you need to ask yourself. If you did, that’s awesome. If not, it’s time to figure out what exactly you need to do to get that disc.

We all know discs aren’t free, so we have to at least try and get it back. And water holes are an absolute killer when it comes to losing discs. So what do we do if it goes in the water?

The best disc golf retriever – The Dynamic Discs Disc Golf Golden Retriever

When it comes to getting your disc back out of the water, you have a couple of options at your disposal.

1. Go into the water and grab it

You can trek the wild and wet wilderness of the disc golf course and bring those discs back yourself. I will say that this option is not recommended and may require you to get some waterproof boots. You also may face the likes of alligators, snakes, and leeches. Let’s look at a better way to get those sunken discs.

2. Use the Dynamic Discs disc golden retriever (best option)

If you don’t want to battle the wild, head over to Amazon and grab yourself one of these awesome contraptions. It’s a simple idea that allows you to throw the catcher into the water and grab your disc to drag it back to you.

The Dynamic Discs disc golf Golden Retriever is a brilliant idea that can help you retrieve and continue to play with your favorite discs for a long time. You may have to take a penalty stroke, but at least you get your disc back. I HATE losing my discs and I go to great lengths to find those that get away from me. I will say, though, that it’s a helluva lot harder to find discs in the water and having this awesome product is a life-saver.

3. Make sure to have a floating disc in your bag

Hopefully, you’ve added a floating disc to your bag for these holes. You don’t have to carry one all the time, but for crazy holes with a lot of water, make sure you bring it along with you. I have the Innova Dragon for water holes. I keep it on me most of the time because I like to throw it in general. You can grab one off of Discgolfunited.com here or with the link above.

Is that disc out of bounds?

With all of this talk about water, let’s address the out of bounds question: is a disc out of bounds if it goes into the water?

The simple answer to that is yes.

But let’s look a little deeper at that. On the majority of holes with water, the water or any body of water is almost always marked as out of bounds. The only way it wouldn’t be out of bounds is if it was a puddle of water brought on by rain. That disc would be playable.

What about the casual water rule?

Casual water is a body of water specifically pointed out where the disc is playable and still in-bounds. So, if you throw your disc into a puddle from the previous night’s rain, you can still play that without a penalty stroke.

In order to continue that hole, you either have to get your feet wet or the “lie may be relocated to the nearest lie which is farther from the target and is on the line of play, at the nearest point that provides relief,” according to PDGA’s casual area rules.

What’s The PDGA rule for regular water hazards?

The PDGA rule for the water hazard area is simply played according to the Out of Bounds rule 806.02.

“A disc that cannot be found is considered to be out-of-bounds if there is compelling evidence that the disc came to rest within an out-of-bounds area. In the absence of such evidence, the disc is considered lost and play proceeds according to rule 805.03 (C).”

Rule 805.03 states that you have three minutes to find your disc after it has been lost. The group of players playing with the owner of the disc must help the owner find the disc. If you can’t find the disc, or if you are unable to get it from a body of water, you have to play it as a lost disc and take a penalty stroke.

Your next throw out of the water (or from the water)

If you’re playing informally and with friends, you can throw from the water and forget about the out of bounds and the penalty (that is, if you can find the disc). Regardless of whether you get your disc or not, you will have a throw after you just threw your last disc into the water.

That next throw needs to follow PDGA guidelines for out of bounds play (rule 806.02 Out-of-Bounds).

Once you take your penalty stroke, you can place your marker disc and play from about five different places on the course:

1. “The previous lie of the disc, or”

2. “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,”

3. “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.”

Additionally, with discretion from the tour director, you may throw from:

4. “Within the designated drop zone; or,

5. “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 that is nearest to the position of the disc.”

If you would like more information on playing your disc from out of bounds, check out our post, “What if My Disc Golf Disc Goes Out of Bounds?”

Simple advice: don’t throw your favorite disc on a water hole

So here’s a little bit of advice for you so you don’t do what I did and lose your favorite disc forever – don’t throw your favorite disc on a water hole.

Go ahead and find your 2nd best or least favorite discs for these water holes. You may love your favorite disc, but just do yourself this favor. I had to learn the hard way, but you don’t have to.

Grab a cheap Innova DX plastic disc here on Discgolfunited.com. or something else that’s cheap to throw for these holes. That’s the easiest way.


Just do your best to avoid the water. If you play disc golf, there will be water on some of the holes. A few courses don’t have water, but the majority will have at least some water that marks what’s out of bounds.

But the water is inevitable. So do your best when you’re playing and if you just can’t avoid it, make sure to carry the Dynamic Discs disc golden retriever (link to Amazon). It’s a surefire way to get some of your discs back out of the water. Don’t go out without one.

Lastly, hopefully you’ve learned exactly what you need to do if your disc goes into the water. If you still need some clarification, go back and reread our information again or check out the following resources:

What if My Disc Golf Disc Goes Out of Bounds?

Here are PDGA’s Casual Area Rules

PDGA’s Out of Bounds Rules are a great thing to know

Check out PDGA’s Lost Disc Rules

Check out our beginner’s guide to finding lost discs

PDGA Rulebook

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Don’t forget to check out the book!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ebook is packed with over 200+ pages of the best tips, tricks, and advice for new players. Im telling you, this book is epic. If you want to seriously improve in disc golf, you need this book. So don’t miss out!


I am an avid disc golfer and lover of the sport. My mission with DiscgolfNOW.com is to reach as many people as possible to help them love disc golf, too!

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