In ball golf, the object is to get the ball into the hole. But in disc golf the object is to land the disc in what is called “the target”, so why is there a basket mentioned?
Disc golf terminology can sometimes be confusing. The basket is no different. I’ll discuss what a basket is in disc golf, what they’re made of, and the different types you might encounter during play.
Here is What the Baskets Are in Disc Golf
A basket is the most common target used on a disc golf course. A disc golf basket completes each hole on a course. The basket is made up of 18 to 40 chains that act as a trapper, a basket assembly, and a metal pole that is either connected to a portable base or anchored permanently in the ground.
In this post, I’ll explain the purpose of the disc golf basket, the parts that make a basket, and the different types of baskets used.
Do You Need a Basket For Disc Golf?
To play disc golf, you don’t have to use a basket. Each hole in disc golf needs a target that completes each hole. Targets could be a pole, marked post, or another object.
The disc golf basket used as a target is the most common to find on a disc golf course. The PDGA, which is the governing body for disc golf specifies the basket as the preferred target used, especially during PDGA sanctioned tournaments.
If you’re just practicing or playing on a course for fun where there are no baskets, you can still play disc golf. All you need is an object to act as the pin, or the hole to complete each hole.
For courses that want to attract more serious players, or want to host tournaments, the disc golf basket is recognized by course designers as the standardized target used when playing disc golf.
How Many Baskets Do You Need for Disc Golf?
The basket is considered the goal, or the target for each hole on a disc golf course. So, depending on the number of holes on the course, you’ll need one basket for every hole on the course.
The most common number of holes on a disc golf course is either 9 or 18 holes. This means that a course will have an equal number of baskets.
If you are wanting to practice disc golf in your backyard, or create your course, you might only need a single basket.
Some people who don’t live near a disc golf course install a basket in their backyard to practice disc golf right at their homes.
Different Types of Disc Golf Baskets
The PDGA separates disc golf baskets into three different categories: Championship, Standard, and Basic.
A championship-level disc golf basket has been approved by the PDGA to be used at the highest level of disc golf tournaments. These baskets are generally the most expensive to buy.
Features of a championship disc golf basket is a minimum of 18 chains and can either be permanent or portable.
Championship level baskets will feature the highest quality and heavy-duty materials. The set of specifications to meet the championship level standard are more strict and narrow.
This is so each basket that meets the championship criteria is uniform in design for high-level competition.
For example, from the PDGA approved manufacturers, a LitMeleta PRO disc golf basket uses 12 outer chains and 18 inner chains, a galvanized powder-coated steel frame, and a galvanized steel pole.
Standard level disc golf baskets don’t always use as high of quality materials and feature fewer chains to catch the disc. A standard disc golf basket will commonly include 18-24 chains per basket.
The standard level basket is generally used on public courses in a permanent installation. A standard-level basket can be used for up to B-tier competitions. Standard baskets can also be portable designs.
The Innova Discatcher EZ is an example of a standard disc golf basket. It includes 12 inner and 12 outer chains for a total of 24 galvanized chains. The frame and pole are both galvanized powder-coated steel.
The basic level is the lowest grade approved by the PDGA. A basic basket will often have less than 18 chains and be made with lesser materials to lower the overall cost of the basket.
The basic target is usually made strictly for practice and portability. They are used for leagues and lower-level events.
An example of a basic disc golf basket is the Prodigy Disc Strike Zone basket. The Strike zone uses a powder-coated steel frame, galvanized steel pole, and 10 outer chains to deflect the disc in the attached basket.
What Are the Parts of a Disc Golf Basket?
The disc golf basket is not a complicated piece of equipment. There are relatively free parts to the basket.
Disc golf baskets are mostly made of metal that is powder coated or galvanized to withstand the elements.
Some baskets have hardened plastic pieces, but a majority of baskets will be made from metal if they are predominately located outdoors.
Here are the basic parts that make up a disc golf basket.
The top ring of the basket includes an outer ring and 13-14 arms that extend from the center of the ring. The arms allow the chains to attach and hang from them.
The design of the top ring and arms can differ in diameter and number of arms depending on the design of the basket.
Deflecetion Assembly (Chains)
Chains are used on a disc golf basket to catch the disc in flight and allow the disc to fall into the basket below.
A disc golf basket can use a wide number of chains, both inner and outer to catch the disc. Some baskets feature up to 40 chains on a single basket.
The basket sits at the bottom of the hanging chains and catches the disc after it is stopped by the chains. Basket diameters can vary by basket design, but every disc golf basket will include the basket.
The mounting pole runs the entire length of the basket from the base to the top ring.
Poles for a disc golf basket can vary in length and diameter. This depends on the classification of the basket and if it mounts permanently or to a portable base.
The base assembly of the disc golf basket is optional. If the basket is portable there will be a base for the target to stand on.
A disc golf basket that is set permanently into the ground will not include a base assembly.
Each disc golf basket will include hardware like S hooks, cotter pins, and end caps to hold the chains in place and attach the top ring and basket to the final assemblies.
How Long Are the Disc Golf Basket Chains?
Chains for a homemade basket can be any length that you choose. But for a basket that is recognized by the PDGA, the minimum chain length is 9 inches.
If you’re making a homemade disc golf basket, it’s a good idea to follow the PDGA regulations and guidelines as closely as possible.
Practicing on a basket that is similar to what you’d see on a course or during tournament play will do the most to improve your game.
Why Do Disc Golf Baskets Have Chains?
If the target is called a basket, what is the purpose of the chains on a disc golf basket? The chains are important for the target because they are what the disc flies into before dropping into the basket.
The chains will slow down and catch the disc so it can land into the basket below. The number of chains will vary depending on the design of the basket and its use.
How Many Chains in a Disc Golf Basket?
A disc golf basket that meets specifications set by the PDGA will have a minimum of 12 chains per basket.
Championship level PDGA disc golf baskets can use up to 40 chains. The chains will consist of an outer ring and layers of inner rings of vertically hanging chains.
For example, the Innova DISCatcher Pro 28 is the most common and popular disc golf basket in use today. This basket uses 28 chains. There are 14 outer chains, 7 mid-level chains, and 7 inner rung chains.
Common chains designs are sets of 14, 18, 24, 26, 28, 30, or 32.
What Size of Chain is Used For a Disc Golf Basket?
The size and thickness of the chain are not specified by the PDGA, but many disc golf basket manufacturers will use #2/0 welded and hot-dipped galvanized chains.
The PDGA does not test how well a basket catches the disc, so generally, the type and style of the chain are not specified.
Are Disc Golf Baskets Portable?
Many disc golf baskets are made with a portable base. There is no difference in quality or PDGA rating for a portable disc golf basket as opposed to a permanent in-ground basket.
The PDGA has approved championship-level disc golf baskets that are also portable.
A championship basket that is also portable must include a design identical and matching specifications for the target zone as their permanent counterparts.
The only difference in design will be the base of the disc golf basket. The PDGA does recommend that a higher level portable basket use a sturdy construction and design that can withstand daily use and exposure.
Are Disc Golf Baskets Elevated?
All baskets attached to a disc golf target will be elevated above grade. The PDGA specifies that all three levels of baskets–Championship, Standard, and Basic–be 82 cm above grade, with +/- 6 cm. That is roughly 32.25 inches above grade with +/- 2.3 inches.
How Tall Should a Disc Golf Basket Be?
The overall height of a disc golf basket as specified by the PDGA is to be 133 cm or 52.3 inches tall.
Final Thoughts | What Are Baskets in Disc Golf?
While anyone can easily find specifications and make their disc golf basket, there are guidelines and specifications set forth by the PDGA for disc golf baskets to be manufactured.
This might seem a little ridiculous, but it’s actually for a good reason. No matter where you play disc golf, it’s important that the disc golf baskets are roughly the same dimensions.
This can mean that no matter where you practice, you can be assured that it will translate to a large number of courses across the country, and to tournaments that are sanctioned by the PDGA.
The basket in disc golf is the most important piece of equipment on any disc golf course. It’s important to understand their design and why they are used if you’re new to disc golf.