So, you lost your disc. And now you’re scrambling to try to locate it and you’re running out of luck. It’s okay. I don’t know how many times I’ve thrown what looked to be the perfect shot only for it to catch on a tiny leaf and fly 200 feet the wrong way. Don’t forget about angry animals and random hurricane-like gusts of wind that put your disc into a pond or way out into the jungle.
It’s inevitable that you will lose a disc on the disc golf course. It can and will happen.
Today, though, were looking at how we can approach and play the game of dice golf so that you don’t lose discs. Were also going to go over the best ways to find lost discs. Because with our high quality of play also sometimes comes poor throws and horrible luck. We’re going to go over everything that we can possibly think of to help you prevent yourself from losing your discs plus all of the ways to help you find what you’ve lost.
What to do before you play
Okay, we’re already at an important part of this post. I would say the most important because this is where we look at how to prevent losing a disc before you actually lose it. If you can follow these next few simple steps, you will be able to keep your discs from being lost so that you can play more and search less.
Throw bright-colored discs: This is a very important first step to not immediately losing all of your discs. By bright-colored discs, I mean like lime green, yellow, orange, white, purple, blue, or pink. These colors are easily distinguishable from the other colors of the woods or the outside around you.
There are also some colors that you need to avoid at all costs because you will easily lose your discs. Brown, dark green, tan, dark red, dark red and other colors that may resemble the natural colors of the outside world are bad to play with. They are hard to see from a long distance away and may blend in with the natural colors around them. Camouflage and multi-colored discs are also a bad idea because of their ability to easily blend in.
I still to this day don’t have any idea why companies make natural or dark-colored discs. They’re hard to see and get easily lost. I have a couple discs that are dark. But they are all putters. That may be okay. However, for drivers and mid-range discs, stick to the bright ones.
Mark all of your discs: the next step in not losing all of your discs is to mark all of your discs. Your disc needs your name (or at least your initials), your telephone number, and maybe an email address. By doing this, if you do ever lose a disc, the person who finds it has a chance of returning it to you. Now, someone may find it and decide to just mark your name out and keep it. If so, then that’s just bad luck and that person sucks. But a lot of people, like myself, will go out of their way to return discs to respective owners.
Do this as soon as you get a new disc.
Check course conditions: before every round, I like to pull up the weather and see what’s in store for the next couple of hours. This way, I can get ahead of the weather. If it says there’s a huge chance of severe weather, I might just skip going to the course that day. Why try to play in those conditions? I mean, you could get injured badly if the storm is severe enough and you can also easily lose discs. That doesn’t sound like something I want to do. Also, you’ll be able to know if there’s going to be stronger winds or not. This will help you understand how and what you need to throw on the course.
Depending on the wind, you may need to check out our awesome guide called, “Mastering Disc Golf in the Wind: A Beginner’s Guide.”
Throw the right discs on each hole: as you start to get better at disc golf, you’ll start to understand this concept more and more. But if you learn it now, you will have a chance of losing less discs. The concept is simple – make sure you’re throwing the correct disc for each hole and for how you play. Different holes have different designs, so you may need to think about how you want to throw the disc and which way it’s going to spin (or turn). You should also think about how you throw. For example, a beginner will always throw a little bit slower than someone with experience, so the beginner may need a disc that turns only a little bit (understable disc).
Try to always play with friends: playing with friends is a great way to help yourself not lose any discs. Having multiple viewpoints of your shot can help figure out where your shot finally landed. You may not have seen the roll or the skip, but your friend could have. Also, if there’s a really tough hole, you can get a friend to stand closer to the hole to watch where your shot goes.
Advice for tough holes
Every once in awhile you’re bound to come across a really tough hole. I’m talking tough as in super thick, snake-infested brush to the right, forest to the left, with a pond before the basket and a swamp right behind it. Oh yeah, don’t forget about the gators. But seriously, there are a few holes that resemble your worst nightmare so here are a few helpful tips.
Throwaway disc: if you’ve made it to that tough hole and haven’t already lost your throwaway, now is the time to use it. By throwaway, we mean a cheap disc that you don’t really care about a whole lot. Maybe something that you were given and isn’t really that good of a disc. Don’t get me wrong, I never want to lose a disc, but I have a couple that I throw on really tough holes that I wouldn’t be sad about if I lost them forever. Try using an Innova DX beginner disc or something that has been made from cheap plastic. The goal is never to lose a disc, but these discs won’t make you too upset if they get lost.
Disc down: if you come across a hole that intimidates you because you have to have to throw it a certain way, or maybe completely straight, try discing down. Essentially, you’re just going down in disc, like from a driver to a mid-range or a mid-range to a putter, to get a better result. This can help you be more accurate and less likely to throw a disc into the water, woods, or brush. Sometimes I use a putter for a whole round. This is actually one of my tips in my post, “9 Weird Tricks to Improve Your Disc Golf Game (Forever).”
Throw a floater on a water hole: if you have to deal with water, make sure you always throw a floater on a water hole. This can help you at least find where your disc went, so that you can try to get it wherever it may be floating at. My go-to floater is the Innova Dragon.
After you throw
Okay, so up to this point you’ve done all of the right things in order to avoid losing your discs. But now you’re finally ready to throw and you want to make sure that you don’t lose any now. The following few things will apply as soon as you throw your disc.
Focus on the throw: I know that whenever I throw the disc poorly, I tend to not want to watch it. I get super angry and punch the air in the opposite direction…well, I used to (still happens every once in awhile). But if you have a habit of looking away because of a bad shot, break that habit. I learned quickly that as soon as I stopped looking at my shot, I would lose track of it. Bad move. Now the disc could be anywhere. Keep watching, no matter how bad the shot is.
Skips and rolls: both of these are notorious, and if you’ve played any disc golf up to this point, you know what I’m talking about. At the end of every throw, the disc will do one of four things – hit something and stop, skip, roll, or ricochet. Most of the time, though, the disc will skip or roll. It’s important that you watch for this. About a week ago, I had a disc that turned over and rolled 50 feet past the basket. I saw it start rolling, but didn’t see where it landed. It wasn’t until I asked another player on the course that I found it underneath a park bench off the course.
Don’t throw more than one disc: I’ll admit that, for this tip, I’m a bit of a hypocrite. An easy way to lose, or to even forget about your discs, is to throw more than one disc per hole. I say I’m a hypocrite because I believe in this advice, yet I almost always throw two discs (unless my first shot is perfect). It make sense, though, right? If you throw more than one disc, now you have to keep up with two discs, plus the extra chance of another poor throw. Try not to throw more than one disc. BUT, if you do, do not throw more than that.
“Finding lost discs is almost like an art form.”
The landmark: after a throw, try to find a place on the course, or a landmark, near where your disc went. This will help you get a general idea of where you need to start looking. Find a big tree, bush, or structure to help you out. This way, you keep all of those discs and don’t have to go on the hunt.
The search process – 12 steps to (almost always) finding your disc
The time is unfortunately here…you know, time to start looking for your disc after a bad throw or a ricochet off a tree. You know the feeling – one of those, “motherf**ker!” moments. Yes, I’ve been there too. I think everybody has. But don’t freak out (no, really, that’s step one). Take a look at the list below so that you can put all 12 steps of the search process to work and quickly find your disc.
Step 1 – Don’t freak out
It’s okay to cuss a little bit, but do your due diligence and then come back to reality. Now, calm yourself down and get ready to start looking.
Step 2 – Start looking
You won’t find your disc unless you start looking. Hopefully you caught sight of where your disc went, bounced, skipped, rolled, or ricocheted. This is where you start trying to figure out where it went.
Step 3 – Mentally replay your shot
At this point, you probably feel like your disc just sunk into a black hole and is most likely flying through outer space (or maybe that’s just me). Take a second to collect your thoughts and go back to the tee pad. Take your time and mentally replay your shot. Go through the motions of the throw and then close your eyes and replay how it flew through the air. Watch it all the way. Which direction did it go? Did it appear to turn? Ask yourself these questions and you will definitely get closer to finding your disc.
Step 4 – Go to where you think it went
90% percent of the time, it will be where you think it went. Hopefully by now you’ve found your disc. If not, keep looking.
Step 5 – Ask other players
If you’re playing with a friend, he or she can help you find the disc. Whether you’re alone or not, though, you can ask other players passing by if they saw a disc fly by them. I asked that group I mentioned earlier if they had seen my disc and they were happy to let me know how far it rolled. “Yep, it’s under that park bench about 50 feet over there.” I was happy to find it.
Step 6 – Change your angle
If you aren’t having much luck, try changing up your angle of approach. Walk 50 feet to the left or right and come up toward the basket. You may find it. Also try going 50 feet further than where you think it might be and then come back 50 feet closer towards where the shot might be.
Step 7 – Check the thick
If there’s “thick,” or tall grass nearby, it may have gone in there. Walk out into the tall grass and scope out where the disc may be. You can use a long stick to help you move grass aside. Make sure you watch out for snakes, though.
Step 8 – Get as high as possible (And no, I don’t mean pull out the bong)
If possible, try going to the highest spot near where the disc could have gone. You could even try climbing a nearby tree and looking around. Who knows, this could help.
Step 9 – Look up into the trees
Your disc may have got caught in some branches. Always check up into the nearby trees for your disc.
Step 10 – Get low
Calm down, Lil Jon. I’m talking about bending over slightly and looking under bushes, bridges and any plant life. This has helped me find a couple of discs.
Step 11 – Check the water
Your disc may have gone into the water. Check nearby ponds, lakes, and streams to see if it went in somewhere.
Step 12 – Start over
Still having trouble? Start the process over from step 1 and repeat through 11 again. Sometimes, you just missed it.
Did your disc get stuck in a tree?
Ah! Watch out for that….tree. ugh, not again. I swear, every time I play I nail a few trees. It’s inevitable so you just learn to either get better or live with it. But when it comes to losing your discs, trees can help you with that, too! If you’re struggling to find your disc on the course, make sure you look up into the branches of the surrounding trees. I mean, we hit trees enough as it is, so it only makes sense. Also, don’t forget to check nearby downed trees or bushes on the ground for your disc.
Pro tip: take a baseball or a hockey puck with you to the course. Those sports items are more than heavy enough to knock a disc out of the trees above. Don’t use other discs because they will get stuck as well. Grab a hockey puck or baseball for your bag right now!
Did your disc land in the water?
As you’re playing your rounds, you’re very likely to come into contact with water on at least a few courses. If the hole you’re playing on has water, and your disc flew in that general direction, you might want to check the water to see if your disc went in. A water hole, though, poses a bigger problem. If your disc goes into the water, can you get it back? Yes, you can usually get your disc back. But it may take some brainpower (and possible a nifty disc golf retriever).
If you’ve been able to locate your disc in the water, that’s great. That means that you will probably be able to get your disc back because it’s most likely in shallow water. But before you dive into a snake-infested body of water, make sure you look and see what’s in the water. Jumping into a swamp for a disc might get you eaten by an alligator.
If the body of water looks like it might be home to a lot of snakes or alligators or anything else that could hurt you, you can try using the Dynamic Discs disc golf Golden Retriever (link to Amazon). They may help you a little bit and might net you other discs. If you don’t have any of those products, you can easily get them on Amazon or other disc golf sites. Otherwise hopefully you threw a floating disc like the Innova Dragon driver. I love this disc and am glad my friend suggested it to me. If your disc floats, you can probably just use a stick to get it depending on where it’s at in the water.
If your disc did fall in the water, and you would like to know the PDGA rules on how to play that disc. You can check out our post, “What if my Disc Golf Disc Lands in the Water?”
don’t worry about creepy crawlies
Okay, I’ll keep this paragraph short and sweet. When it comes to snakes, spiders, and everything else, try not to worry about them. It’s just another part of the game. I personally really hate spiders, and whenever I start thinking about them, I always run into a bunch of webs. I don’t want to run into snakes, but they don’t really bother me as much as spiders. I’ve hardly seen any snakes over the course of a couple years of play. The majority of insects and snakes will go out of their way to avoid you, as long as you don’t go out of your way to bother them. Try to put those things into the back of your mind and just play.
What happens if you can’t find your disc?
At this point, you’re pulling your hair out because you can’t yet find your disc. I completely understand all of the emotions at this point. As I write this, I think about myself al while back. My friend had given me a Dynamic Discs Lucid Truth (which is awesome by the way). After using it twice, I loved it. But I threw it and it ricocheted off a tree into the woods…like 100 yards deep into the woods. I searched for 10 minutes and I grew frustrated. I yelled a lot. Here’s what you can do if you just cannot find that pesky disc:
Keep looking: I know it’s kind of obvious. Of course you’re going to keep looking, but right as you start hating life and prepare to quit, tell yourself, “just a few more minutes and I know I can find it.”
Don’t waste money: after searching for a good little bit for a disc, I always hit a wall. But I remind myself that if I lose a disc, it’s gone and so is the money I spent to buy it. Thinking about the money perks me right back up and helps me dig a little deeper, so to speak.
Remember to ask: we spoke on this earlier, but someone nearby may have seen or heard your disc.
Come back tomorrow: I know you don’t want to leave your disc, but you could try coming back another day. This rings especially true if you played at night or threw your disc into tall weeds. Tomorrow brings fresh eyes so that you can find your disc.
Be patient: if you absolutely can’t find your disc, you might get lucky and have someone find it and return it.
You’ve searched and searched. You’ve looked high and low, through the open fields, in the tall grass, and in every crevice of the woods. You just cannot find your disc. It’s a sh*tty feeling. But let’s look on the bright side: discs aren’t that expensive. If you end up losing your disc for good, at least you can always get another for around $20 dollars or less. And there are a bunch of convenient places to get them from like –
And a slew of other places. So, if you do lose a disc, don’t sweat it. Move on and find something new. Who knows, maybe someone will find your disc and return it to you.
What if you find someone’s lost disc?
When you happen to stumble across a lost disc, you will have two options: keep it or give it back. If there’s no information on the disc you can keep it. If there’s someone’s info on it, you should try to give it back. I happened to find two discs over the weekend with no name or information on the discs. Freakin’ sweet for me, but bad for whoever lost them. We already talked about marking your discs, and if the two I found had a name or number, they would’ve gotten their discs back. But no information on the disc, so I get to keep them.
Now, if you find a disc that has someone’s name on it, you should do your best to try and give it back to that person. So far, I’ve found a bunch of discs with names and numbers. Every person who has responded to my texts or calls has gotten their disc back and they all were extremely happy that I contacted them. It’s up to you how far you’re willing to go out of your way to give it back, but you need to atleast try. People who take discs with other people’s names on them are only hurting the game of disc golf (and bringing bad disc karma on themselves).
Finding lost discs is almost like an art form. a bad throw, skip, or roll is inevitable. I’m glad you were able to read this post, because now you know not just how find your lost discs, but how to prevent them from ever getting lost in the first place. So go get out there and throw, disc golfers!