Playing Disc Golf With a Regular Frisbee? (Hint: You Can Still Play)

For most of us, our first interaction is with a toy frisbee and not a disc golf disc. So naturally, that is what most beginners will be used to throwing. But, can disc golf still be played with a regular frisbee?

There are some differences between a disc golf disc and a regular frisbee that make them very different when playing disc golf. It’s good for a beginner player to know what these differences are too.

Can Disc Golf Be Played With a Regular Frisbee?

Yes, you can play disc golf using a regular frisbee. A disc golf disc is designed specifically for playing on disc golf courses, but a regular frisbee can still be used for practicing. You won’t be able to play competitively with a frisbee, but some players use a frisbee for either practice or as a challenge.

Below I’ll explain the differences between a frisbee and a disc golf disc so you can decide for yourself what is better.

Regular frisbee and disc golf discs side by side

Can You Use a Regular Frisbee in a Tournament?

There are no rules and stipulations that state a regular frisbee is not allowed on a disc golf course.

Anyone can use a frisbee to play disc golf whenever they choose. Many more people are likely to have a frisbee around their house than an actual disc golf disc.

The PDGA, which stands for the Professional Disc Golf Association governs the official rules for disc golf tournaments.

The PDGA has strict rules for what discs are approved to be used in a PDGA sanctioned competition.

Tournament Directors want to attract top players and competition to their tournaments, so providing a sanctioned PDGA tournament is a big deal. With that comes the guidelines for illegal discs as set forth by the PDGA in rule 813.01.

Frisbee is not mentioned by name in the PDGA rules. It’s also not specifically in their rules outlining illegal discs.

However, the PDGA does provide an extensive list of discs that have been approved for use in competition.

The discs that have been approved by the PDGA follow specific guidelines for how the discs are designed and manufactured.

Many regular frisbees do not meet these requirements and have not been certified and approved for competitive play.

What’s the Difference Between a Disc Golf Disc and a Frisbee?

Just by looking at and comparing a regular frisbee to a disc golf disc, you can pretty easily spot some differences between the two.

If you’re a beginner, you might be able to spot these differences.

However, without having experience playing disc golf, you might not know why the physical differences between the two even matter when playing disc golf.

1. Design

The most striking difference is the way the disc golf disc is designed relative to the frisbee. The frisbee is very wide with large rounded edges.

The edge of a disc golf disc is mostly beveled depending on the type of disc you have. the disc golf disc will look much more aerodynamic in its design.

2. Size

A disc golf disc is much smaller and made from a more dense plastic than a regular frisbee. A normal frisbee is typically about 12 inches in diameter. An Ultimate Frisbee is a little smaller at 10.5 inches in diameter.

A disc golf disc is noticeably smaller, usually about 8 inches in diameter. The disc golf disc is more dense plastic, but because of the smaller overall size, it will weigh less than a normal Frisbee.

A disc golf disc on average is about 155-165 grams, whereas a Frisbee is about 175-180 grams.

3. Control and Accuracy

Control and accuracy of the disc will depend on the aerodynamic design and the drag on the disc as it’s flying through the air.

A disc golf disc has a more aerodynamic design. The disc golf disc is shaped to reduce drag and let the passing air move efficiently over and around the disc.

The Frisbee is larger and bulkier, with a less aerodynamic design. The Frisbee is larger but shaped more like a mid-range or putter in disc golf. From very short distances, the Frisbee can be fairly accurate.

But, if you’re throwing longer distances, the disc golf disc will be easier to control and more easily stay on course without being affected by drag.

4. Speed

It doesn’t matter how good your form is, there will always be a difference between the speed of a disc golf disc and a Frisbee.

A Frisbee is designed to be thrown only short distances, so trying to drive with a Frisbee would not yield the same results as driving with a disc golf disc.

A golf disc is designed to fly fast and far. This is especially important in the game of disc golf when driving from the tee pad.

5. Distance

Aerodynamic design, smaller size with a more dense plastic, and capable of higher speeds. A golf disc is an undisputed winner when it comes to throwing for distance.

To be fair, a Frisbee was never really meant to fly for long distances. They are recreational discs meant to be thrown back and forth.

What Kind of Frisbee Do You Use For Disc Golf?

If you’re going to use a Frisbee to play disc golf instead of a golf disc, the best choice is to use an Ultimate Frisbee.

The Ultimate Frisbee is meant to be thrown and caught by other people, but they are designed to be thrown at higher speeds and for more distance than a standard recreational Frisbee disc.

An Ultimate Frisbee is more forgiving when thrown. With a larger diameter and heavier weight, the Ultimate Frisbee can adjust in the air to overcome a poor throw.

Should You Play Disc Golf With a Regular Frisbee?

This is a question of how serious you are about the game of disc golf. If you have a Frisbee lying around and want to give disc golf a try for the first time, using what you have is no big deal.

But, if you’re serious about learning the game and becoming a competitive player, there is no substitute. You’re going to want to invest in proper golf discs to play and practice with.

It would be the equivalent of playing basketball with a volleyball. They are both a round ball, yes. But one is specifically made for playing the game of basketball and the other is not.

Do You Need Special Discs For Disc Golf?

If you’re a complete beginner, you only need 3 different golf discs to start playing. A beginner can start playing with a driver, mid-range, and a putter.

Some players will play entire rounds with a putter to sharpen their game and improve form and technique.

Final Thoughts | Disc Golf With a Regular Frisbee

If you happen to show up to the disc golf course with a stack of regular Frisbees you might get a few confused looks.

But there are no rules or reasons why you can’t play a practice round or round for fun with a normal Frisbee.

If you have aspirations of playing competitively or becoming a good disc golf player it makes sense to invest in some golf discs and truly start to learn the game of disc golf.


Hi, my name is Marty. Sporting Disc is dedicated to delivering actionable tips and information when it comes to enjoying any disc sport. Whether it's disc golf, ultimate frisbee, or any other disc sport, I want to help anyone get out there and take their game further.

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