Jump Putts: Are they legal?

January 10, 2017

Have you ever played random flip doubles rounds with a stance stickler? You know, that player who recently played in their first tournament, so during semi-casual rounds will holler out ‘foot fault’ after EVERY putt by the other groups? Players like this should not always be mocked. Traditional training methods will preach to ‘practice like you play’ to avoid developing poor habits.

Recently playing a round of disc golf, with a gentleman who likes to call out foot faults, led me to the PDGA website out of curiosity. I wanted to find out what exactly can be nit-picked when it came to my putting game. That way, the next round, my heckling retribution will be swift. What I found (or didn’t find) within the rules of both putting as well as throwing from a stance could open up a massive can of worms.

I want to open the can.

A few months ago, there was an article that went around the disc golf world regarding some potential rule changes for the 2017 season. All have been proven untrue, but one that stuck out was the ‘circle’ being extended out to a ridiculous distance.

This, in turn, made me think of the ‘jump putt’. Is it legal? Is it illegal? Traditionally, a disc golfer attempts a jump put outside of the circle. They are not qualified as ‘putts’. Adding to the confusion, since it’s a type of putt, the jump putt doesn’t fall under the label as a ‘throw from a stance’ when lining up an approach shot.

Time for a little dissection.

 

Cory Obermeyer demonstrates the ONLY way a jump putt would be a legal throw. His right front foot is in contact with his lie, and as long as it stays put on release the throw is legal. If it comes up off of the ground before the disc is in the air he would be in a stance violation. Plain and simple.

 

 

802.04-B Throwing from a stance

  1. When the disc is released, the player must have at least one supporting point in contact with the lie

There are two other sub-restrictions under this rule, but they are redundant and irrelevant to figuring out whether or not a jump putt should be considered legal. There is little room for interpretation here in 802.04 B1. One of the golfer’s supporting points (a leg) must be in contact with the lie upon release to be considered a legal throw. Do jump putters have both feet on the ground during release? Or even one as the rule demands? Let me remind you that ‘the lie’ is behind your marker disc. Not in front of it.

802.04-D

Putting: Any throw 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. Players with a supporting point closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc, after the disc has been released, are in a stance violation. The player must demonstrate full control of balance before advancing toward the target.

This ruling is even more specific and contains no room for interpretation. Players must keep contact points with the lie in place, with balance, THROUGH the release. This is obviously not how to jump putt.

During a jump style putt, the thrower’s contact points don’t stay put. They also land in front of marker discs before the disc hits chains. So the jump putt is an illegal throw inside the 30’ putting circle. The jump putt does not allow for at least one foot to keep in contact with the lie upon release. According to the PDGA rulebook, a jump putt is also an illegal throw from outside of 30’ as well. Is this throw actually legitimate to the game? Or is is simply another way athletes try to gain an edge through a rule-bending process?

Consider this ‘can of worms’ as bait. I’m of the mind that jump putts should be illegal, but am up for convincing. According to the PDGA rulebook, this is a throw that is an illegal putt. It can also be an illegal throw from a stance. If we can take anything from the redacted document regarding potential rule changes; it’s that the PDGA might share my distaste for the throw down the road.

My advice? Practice to extend your comfortable putting circle, so you don’t need to rely on a potentially illegal throw to hole out. 

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45 comments on “Jump Putts: Are they legal?

  1. Charles Parsons Jan 11, 2017

    30′ does not equal 10 meters.

    • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

      I do recognize that the conversions are more accurately 10 meters = just under 33′. Thank you for pointing it out.

      • Lee Cox Jan 11, 2017

        Then just say 10m, a 30 ft circle doesn’t exist in disc golf so why talk about?

        • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

          I can’t remember the last time someone referred to it as a ’10 meter’ distance outside of the PDGA manual. Very few players know the exact conversion of 10 meters being 32.8 feet, so it’s easier to just say 30′.

          • Joshua D Martin Jan 12, 2017

            Outside of the US, meters is the common unit of measurement used, not feet.

        • Does it deserve this amount of nit picking on the readers part? No, we all understand the “common sense” terms… well I thought we did.

          • Tim Lucas Jan 11, 2017

            I’m sorry, but I have to agree with the nit pickers here. I think that it’s important that newer players realize that 30 feet is incorrect. I’d rather see article writers put 33 feet and have new players error in the wrong direction. All of that said, you mention that no one says 10 meters outside of the rule book. This may be the case with people you play with, but certainly not everywhere. I know a lot of people who ask if they are outside 10 meters before they putt. Lastly, when you’re article is specifically about exact rules concerning the lie, talking about putts that are at the 30 foot mark makes the point invalid since you’re technically still inside 10 meters.

          • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

            You are not wrong, but new players are less likely to be playing in scenarios where they will be subject to the kinds of footage scrutiny you’re talking about. It is very important to know the difference between 30 and 33 feet, but your putting should not change with that small of a distance discrepancy. Besides, using ‘on the fly’ conversions of metric to SAS measurements is something that every sportsman, outdoorsman, and athlete must do in real-time if they truly want success. I encourage you to check out the ‘can you judge distances’ article.

  2. I agree. If a Jump putter wants to have an unarguably legal shot they should start the jump and land behind the marker. I’m not sure if rules would need to be adjusted to allow that initial jump but so long as they aren’t passing the lie, it’s always going to be a legal throw. I don’t think moving back a foot hurts the putt that is meant to add distance/power is going to affect the chances of sinking the putt.

    • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

      This is an issue I ran into when writing this article. After some quick research, I saw that a majority of jump putts could be called in either direction. It would honestly depend on the T.D. to make a judgment call. Moving back and giving some extra space would help eliminate that potential confusion, but so could just making the throw illegal across the board.

      • There need to be a bigger allowance for the line behind the lie, 11 inches doesn’t cut it – unless they specify you can land within the area for it too count. Something will be announced I’m sure. I was going to cover this too – granted in a less well made fashion. Good Article

        • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

          Exactly. There are just too many variables that can be nit-picked by fellow players as well as event directors. Thank you, I appreciate the feedback.

      • Jerry D Jan 11, 2017

        But then the player would have to land(so that a supporting point is in the correct lie) prior to releasing the putt. Kind of defeats the point.

        • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

          You have to release the disc prior to full takeoff, and before completely airborne.

  3. Garett Daley Jan 11, 2017

    What it really comes down to with the jump putt is did the person leave the ground befor the disc left the hand. If a person started back farther behind the lie and landed behind it is errelivent. Even if the person lands behind the lie. if the disc did not leave the hand befor the foot left the ground it is an illegal throw. I believe the putting circle was designed to force people to show control inside and but allow players to generate enough force to reach the basket from outside without having to worry about control of balance after the shot. The biggest problem is how do you determine if the person left the ground befor or after the disc left the hand. A quality jump put will alway leave the hand first and is more of a putt with so much energy behind it the follow through forces the person to leave their feet. Jumping into the air first will actually reduce the amount of energy one could impart on the disc. But the problem is from shot to shot how do you tell if it was legal. I think they either need to push the putting circle back to 20 meters instead of the 50m suggested in the rule change and right a rule allowing for jump putts outside of this range. Or just eliminate them all toghter. However I think stepping putts should still be ok outside the putting circle what ever distance that may be set at. At least with a step putt the foot stays behind the lie until after release. But the player can still generate a lot of power without having to worry about accidently passing the lie after the shot

    • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

      Yes. You and I are on the same page. As they exist currently, there are simply too many variables that can lean in either direction of legality when jump putting. The step putt idea sounds like a very legitimate compromise.

  4. Andrew Danko Jan 11, 2017

    I notice more people go long and miss. A lot of times if they would have just stood there, and putt it would have gone in. I have also watched some top rated pro players (thanks to the DVR slow motion and pause) contact points leave the ground before the disc leaves their hand.

  5. I utilize a shot that uses my legs to add some forward momentum to the shot that results in me leaving the ground and landing forward of my lie. I have taken slow motion video and it clearly shows that my leading foot is on the ground at a time after release and then leaves the ground. This very similar to a jump shot in basketball. A basketball player releases the ball while legs are extending but feet on the ground. If the release happens after feet are off the ground, you loose all leg power and it is only arm / torso strength. By reading of the definition, if you are outside of 10m, what happens after release is of no bearing to the rules.

    • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

      Once the disc is released as long as you stay in bounds you’re correct.

      • BJ Burke Jan 12, 2017

        There is no requirement to stay in bounds after release.

        • Spencer Stone Jan 12, 2017

          Check out the PDGA rulebook under ‘throwing from a stance’ and check back with us.

          • BJ Burke Jan 12, 2017

            802.04B: When the disc is released, a player must:
            802.04B(3): Have all supporting points in-bounds.

            Emphasis on “when the disc is released.” Your supporting points must be completely in-bounds at the time of release, but I’ll say it again: there is no requirement to stay in bounds AFTER release.

    • You make a great point but your basketball analogy is terrible. The only time a player shoots with their feet still on the ground should be a freethrow. They don’t call it a jump shot because you are still on the ground…

      • Spencer Stone Jan 12, 2017

        It was more or less to give a mental image of the takeoff.

  6. I was talking with a buddy of mine about this after our putting league. My issue is that people are stepping past the lie and releasing before their other foot hits the ground. Seems to me that no part of your body should be allowed past the lie until the disc is released. Definitely getting an advantage this way. Thoughts?

    • Spencer Stone Jan 11, 2017

      Well according to the PDGA rule, no supporting point can be in contact with the marker disc or lie in front of marker disc until AFTER the disc is out of the hand. Whether or not your fellow golfer gains an advantage through the method above, it is still an illegal throw by definition. As with many similar situations in sports, when a loophole has been found it will continue to be exploited until stopped. “Give them and inch, and they’ll take a mile” is accurate in the case of the jump putt it would seem.

    • BJ Burke Jan 12, 2017

      It is perfectly legal to step past the lie (outside of 10m of course), so long as the disc is out of your hand before the foot touches the ground.

      • Spencer Stone Jan 12, 2017

        Yes it is, but without watching the launch foot directly it’s too hard to differentiate legal/illegal.

        • BJ Burke Jan 12, 2017

          That’s not at issue here. Matt’s post was in regards to the foot stepping forward which is completely legal so long as the disc is released before the foot touches the ground.

          So, this:
          “Whether or not your fellow golfer gains an advantage through the method above, it is still an illegal throw by definition.”

          Is wrong.

  7. Brandon #TheGreatestToEverPlay Jan 11, 2017

    Any time a players lie is on or within the 10 meter radius of the legal putting circle. That player should be required to keep their forward foot in contact with the ground which is also the foot that holds the disc lie for 2 seconds after the disc leaves the players hand. Got that, 2 Seconds? If the player happens to putt initially with both feet on the ground which occurs most often the player may lift the opposing leg not in contact with the lie of the disc immediately after the disc has been putted. If there is forward momentum after the putt which leads the unstationary foot to fall forward past and onto the ground of lie plane lateral and perpendicular to the intended target within that 2 seconds. That putt will be and is considered illegal. Furthermore a “Putt” can only be considered a “Putt” when throwing the disc within the Putting Circle. Any throw outside that circle cannot be considered a putt nor do the rules that apply for putting within the circle apply for similar stances, throws, and lie faults outside that circle. The term “Jump Putt” is used because for some reason they don’t want to call a shot from lets say 60ft or 75ft an “Approach Shot” they would rather call it a Putt or “Jump Putt” as the throwing style suggests. This is the most simple explanation possible and if you don’t understand well I’M sorry.

  8. Daniel Rodriguez Jan 12, 2017

    “A legal throw with a follow through” should be the legal term. As far as the timing goes, that creates a world of issues. The essential, and outlined by Steady Ed himelf rule to disc golf is “fairness”. Every rule in disc golf ahould work to support fair play. It is the goldwn rule creatwd by the man that birthed this game. Stick to it and your will be a happier and more wholesome player and person.

  9. Daniel Rodriguez Jan 12, 2017

    “A legal throw with a follow through” should be the legal team for a jump putt. As far as the timing of the throw is concerned, that creates a world of issues. So we have one rule to draw upon, the essential rule of disc golf. “Fairness”. Steady Ed himself said that it is the essential rule of the game. It is our golden rule created by the man that birthed the game. Stick to this one rule and you will be a happier and more wholesome golfer and person.

  10. When someone’s foot is off the ground and 2-4ft in FRONT of the marker when they throw, it just makes our sport look a bit silly to be honest. smh…

    • Spencer Stone Jan 12, 2017

      Exactly. This is why I think it’s athletes taking advantage of a minor loophole…for a few extra, inaccurate feet.

      • Sean Delohery Jan 12, 2017

        Just because you can’t do it accurately doesn’t mean I can’t. Have you done a statistical analysis? Do you have any data to support for claims of inaccuracy? What would you gain by changing this rule, besides forcing people to abandon a skill that you can’t seem to master?

        • Spencer Stone Jan 12, 2017

          I guess you and I consider ‘skill’ and ‘taking advantage of a loophole in the rulebook’ as the same thing. To each their own.

          • Sean Delohery Jan 12, 2017

            A lot of people can’t throw forehand well, an I taking advantage of a loophole because I can and do and there’s no rule on his I throw? Just like there’s no rule on where the body is on a throw from outside the circle? Because I know my body has started to cross over my lie before I release on a drive or upshot. So what’s the difference? If my point of contact is still down when I release on a jump putt, what’s the difference?

          • Matthew Lee Mar 10, 2017

            Its not a loophole really…. its the same rule that applies when driving that says you can put your back foot on the ground in front of the teebox after you release your drive as long as your front foot never left the teebox before you released your drive, exactly the same thing except we replace “drive” with “putt”, is there an advantage gained, i would argue absolutely but i don’t feel like I’m abusing a loophole when i step putt because i have put a lot of hours into perfecting my step putt and making sure it follows the rules without any doubt. It is something that requires skill to do, i remember before i had a step putt i was useless outside the 10M range because i had no idea how to engage my legs, the step putt taught me how to engage my legs so now i can stand still putt from 50ft and step putt outside that range.

  11. BJ Burke Jan 12, 2017

    Author captions a picture of a player performing a correct, legal jump putt then spends the rest of the article discussing how incorrect jump putts makes jump putting illegal.

    Huh??

    The answer to the article’s central question – are jump putts legal? – is simple: YES.

  12. FunkyBobbyJ Jan 12, 2017

    This is going to move us ever-closer to stand and deliver after the tee-shot. Even some of the step-putt guys are coming so close to making contact at release (Ulibarri maybe comes so close???). I agree with making the circle bigger and then let’s not worry too much about it unless it is obvious. If we go to stand and deliver – I will probably have to quit…

  13. Charles Mar 26, 2017

    I was putting 50 yards when I jumped putted as an approach shot……illegally. And it was much more accurate than when I didn’t jump or jumped legally.

    For me it was a tremendous advantage. After reading the rule book the other day, I am making adjustments to get back some of my approach distance, but I am probably closer to 30 yards.

    I don’t think it is nit picking for someone to tell me you are cheating and gaining a huge advantage. Nits are very small. For me this advantage is huge.

  14. JohnWatkins Mar 30, 2017

    You offer confusing and contradictory information, some of which others have pointed out. When “the disc hits the chains” is irrelevant information. Why bring it up? Why do you assume a jump putter’s foot/feet leave the ground before release? (Or are you proposing that as a definition?) If that were the case, every jump putt is illeagal no matter what. Why do you assume a jump putters feet will land in front of the marker? (or again are you proposing that as a definition?) If a player used a jump style putt from inside the circle but releases before the lie foot comes off the ground and lands and maintains balance behind the marker, it’s a legal putt.

  15. 10 meters = 32.8 feet, just sayin.

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