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.
- 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.
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.