One day not too long ago, I was watching JomezPro on YouTube. I was still new to the game and I kept hearing them talk about players being “in the circle” or “just outside the circle.” I even noticed a drawn circle not far out from the basket and that piqued my curiosity. I kept asking myself, “what is the ‘circle’ in disc golf?”
I started doing a little bit of research and couldn’t really find anything conclusive, just a couple of forum discussions on the subject that left me with some of what I wanted to know. Most of the disc golfers in those forums were simply there to argue and not try to help the newer disc golfers to better understand the circle and what exactly it meant. Today, I understand the circle pretty well and wanted to write a post to help new disc golfers to understand it as well. So let’s check it out!
What is the circle in disc golf?
The circle in disc golf helps to define a true disc golf putt and is an area that measures 10 meters, or 32 feet 9 and 3/4 inches, out from the base of the basket. This is a literal circle all the way around the basket which establishes a set of rules that a disc golfer must follow if his disc is within this area.
As you can see from the picture above, I’ve marked a circle with measurements just to help you get a visualization of what the circle is. As a general reference, I measured out the distance and took a picture to show you what the basket looks like from 10 meters out, or 32 feet 9 3/4 inches. Check out the photo below.
This circle is marked in most professional disc golf tournaments using marking paint or chalk, but is not usually on regular disc golf courses. So it’s easy to see why most newer disc golfers have no idea what the circle even is. Some may have not even heard about the circle yet. I didn’t know what it was until I watched pro disc golf on YouTube. I’d say the majority of amateur disc golfers probably don’t even think about this area or use it while playing.
So then what is the 10 meter rule in disc golf?
The 10 meter rule is slang for disc golf rule 806.01, which defines the area of a disc golf putt and is the same area that “the circle” defines – 10 meters or 32 feet 9 3/4 inches – out and in a circle around the base of the basket. Within that area, the disc golfer is subject to PDGA putting rules.
THE CIRCLE AND THE 10 METER RULE DEFINE THE EXACT SAME AREA. THEY’RE EXACTLY THE SAME.
So if you hear someone talking about the 10 meter rule or being in the circle, they’re talking about the same thing and mean that you must comply with the putting rules as defined in PDGA rule 806.01. Let’s quickly take a look at that rule. It’s fairly simple so I won’t spend too much time on it.
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PDGA rule 806.01
PDGA rule 806.01 is broken into two subsections and states:
“A. Any throw made from within 10 meters of the target, as measured from the rear of the marker disc to the base of the target, is a putt.”
So, then, the 10 meter rule? Yep, that about does it. But subsection (A) defines the area where an approach shot becomes a putt and where subsection (B) kicks in.
“B. After having released a putt, the player must demonstrate full control of balance behind the marker disc before advancing toward the target. A player who fails to do so has committed a stance violation and receives one penalty throw.”
Subsection B highlights the fact that, within the circle, a player has to maintain complete control of his or her balance after releasing the disc. A player outside of this circle doesn’t have to maintain balance after the throw. But balance has to be established inside the circle or else a player will commit a stance violation. This adds one stroke to your score due to the penalty throw.
Here’s a quick video from Dynamic Discs demonstrating balance when inside the circle.
Also, if you want to check out the PDGA rule page itself, check it out here.
What about jump putting?
Jump putting is not allowed in the circle. Period.
Jump putting has always been a sort of gray area in disc golf. I mean, for the most part, it is allowed and a lot of pros use it. But because it’s only allowed outside of the circle, that putt is really not called a putt at all. Being inside of that 10 meter circle is what describes a true disc golf putt. Outside of the circle, you may hear someone say that they’re trying to hit a long putt, but it’s really just a long approach shot that they’re trying to sink into the basket from far out. If that’s the case, then we need to check out a different PDGA rule. Let’s look at PDGA rule 802.07 – Stance.
802.07 Stance states:
“A. If the lie has been marked by a marker disc, then when the disc is released, the player must:
- Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie; and,
- Have no supporting point closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc; and,
- Have all supporting points in-bounds.”
There really isn’t anything that specifically talks about approaching or rules on a follow-through after your throw. But it is generally accepted by the #discgolfcommunity and the PDGA that you’re allowed to have a follow through after any kind of approach shot outside of the circle.
You just have to comply with the Stance rule and have your feet contact right behind the lie and then you can follow-through however you want to after release of the disc. That’s where your jump putting comes into play.
Outside of the circle, you can use your legs to propel your body and the disc toward the basket. You just have to make sure you release the disc before you jump and your foot comes off that supporting point in contact with your lie.
Inside the circle, though, you cannot jump putt and have to demonstrate that full control of your balance before you can go forward. That means you putt, maintain balance, then walk forward. For anything within 10 meters, you cannot perform a follow through.
So for now, jump putting is technically allowed in competitive play (as long as you comply with PDGA rule 802.07).
You can read more about PDGA rule 802.07 here.
If you would like to learn more about Jump putting, check out Danny Lindahl of Dynamic Discs’ video below.
3 Tips for improving your putting inside the circle
1. Get an at-home practice basket
One of the best ways to improve your putting inside the circle is to get yourself an at-home practice basket. You can set this up at home and practice whenever and wherever you want at your house. From here, measure out and mark your circle 10 meters out in all directions. You can do this by measuring out a piece of string 10 meters, or 32 feet 9-3/4 inches long, and tying it around the base of the basket. Stretch it out and walk in a circle with the string. At the same time, use spray paint or rocks to mark your circle. Check out our post, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Baskets (Get One and Win),” to find a good basket for your house.
Next up: drills. There are a ton of different putting drills to try. One of the easiest drills to do is something I like to call “100% percent. ” You’re simply going to start from around five feet out. Practice until you know in your mind that you can make 100% percent of all shots. When you know, move back five feet. When you can crush 100% percent of all your ten foot shots move back again to 15 feet. Do this until you’ve reached the edge of the circle (around 30 feet) or outside of the circle (at 35 feet).
For some other putting drills, check out our post, “The 11 Best Disc Golf Putting Drills and Games.”
3. Don’t rush yourself
Lastly, here’s something that you should make sure you do during any and all putting situations. I want you to slow down and focus on your putts. Don’t just step up and try to crush it. Take a few seconds to get all aspects of that putt in your mind. Then sink it! If you rush, you will not crush.
The circle. The 10 meter rule. PDGA rule 806.01. They all seem complex but they’re not. They’re all exactly the same and show you how you’re supposed to throw your disc within a certain distance from the basket. If you don’t remember anything else, remember this: the circle and 10 meter rule are the same. The distance of the circle is 10 meters, or 33 feet, all the way around. And you have to putt behind the disc and maintain balance before you retrieve your disc from the basket. See, it’s as simple as that.
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Thanks for reading, disc golfers!
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