A World of Clarification

Island holes are the bane of every disc golfer, and will likely continue to be as long as new courses are being built. Island holes bring a level of technical difficulty that many other styles of holes do not have. Not only does the disc golfer have to make the required distance, but must also hit a pinpoint green compared to the other holes on the course.

Hole 7 Jones EastThere has been some recent confusion in the last few days regarding a particular hole at Jones East park. Hole 7 is an island hole with no water set at 555’. It has a sea of Kansas grass surrounding nearly the entire hole save a parking lot, and a moderately sized lay-up fairway littered with coniferous trees. According to both the GBO and 2016 Pro World’s rules, any shot that doesn’t land safely on the island green, or the fairway on the drive will be played from a drop zone. If a player opts for the fairway on the drive he/she will have to shoot their second shot at the island green, and if missed, must be played from the last spot it came to rest in bounds. Tuesday’s first round of open play saw a simple miscommunication regarding this rule.

OB Description/Course Notes taken from Caddy Book
Tall grass, fairway divider, parking lot (defined by wire). (If OB off tee, proceed to Drop Zone. All subsequent throws proceed to last place in bounds. Must come to rest on island to proceed to play from island. Once safely on island, regular OB rules apply).


The reigning champion, Paul McBeth, landed on the fairway with his drive. He then shot for the island green, missed OB, and was marked on the fringes of the green. His next shot was taken from that fringed spot. Instead, the correct ruling on playing this OB shot is from the last spot in which it was safely in bounds. Paul himself made PDGA officials aware of his misplay a day later ultimately costing him a two stroke penalty on his overall score going into the third round on Thursday. The proper channels were informed, the proper penalties were assessed, and the final outcome is nothing if not a fair/honest result for all competitors. So far, McBeth is still on the lead card, but could this potentially cost him down the line? Saturday, we will all find out.

Video from Jomez Productions of round 1. Link is time stamped for hole 7.


  1. I just watched the jomez coverage for the first time, and I have to ask:

    Why does the spotter on the island green even have marker flags? When Paul shoots his second shot OB, the spotter marks where he went out at the island OB line.

    According to this interpretation of the rule, this is really totally unnecessary, since it doesn’t matter where you go out OB after the island. All the matters is where you were last in bounds before the island….

    • After you make the island, regular OB rules apply. If you sail your put and it goes OB, the spotter would still need to mark where the thrower went OB.

    • “All that matters is where you were last inbounds before the island….”

      Yes and No, so not exactly. If you are throwing from the inbounds fairway (as Paul was), then your throw must come to rest safely on the island green in order to continue to play from the island green. If not you proceed to the last spot inbounds on the fairway (where that throw last crossed over from inbounds to out-of-bounds). IF, however, you land on the island green safely, and are putting/throwing from the island and your shot comes to rest out-of-bounds, then standard OB rules apply, and you may choose to throw the next shot up to 1 meter from the last spot inbounds on the island green.

      So yes, and no.

      Think about this. If I throw my first shot pretty much where Paul did (or any similar throw) inbounds in the fairway, but with not much of a look at the island green, if it’s standard OB rules it’s to my advantage to just crank one right over the island green. It’s not more than 25 feet from the basket looking uphill from a lot of spots on the back end of that island green. Kind of a “cheesy” way to save your par 4. That’s not what Paul did; he was trying to make a GREAT shot and get his birdie 3, but his approach from one knee just scooted barely out-of-bounds.

  2. Was a waiver granted by the Tournament Manager to allow for the addition of this restricted OB option? Seems to me this is a form of “stroke and distance” penalty, and not one of the standard OB options as stated on 804.04D3 and as such would require a waiver.

    • Interesting question, and a good/fair one. However, you forget that Worlds is the PDGA’s tournament. The Tour Manager approved everything; the local staff from Dynamic Discs basically provides the administrative and management services. That’s how every Worlds is. After approving the bids, the PDGA staff sees how the courses are normally played at existing tournaments, walks the courses both openly and during other events, they see how rules are written, and they’ve been known to make changes — to rules, to tees to pin placements, etc., when it’s their tournament.

      • By the way, it’s not technically stroke and distance, because the thrower is not required to go back to his/her previous lie (though he/she may if he/she chooses). The thrower advances to the spot on the fairway portion of the hole where it last crossed from inbounds to OB.

  3. Please stop making exceptions to the rules in tournaments that just confuse players. If course is not challenging enough without extra rules then back to the design board.

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