Can You Rethrow in Disc Golf? 5 Times to Abandon a Throw

I know from personal experience, that sometimes I have throws in disc golf that are so bad or roll far enough away that taking a rethrow would make more sense than throwing from the disc’s landing spot.

Luckily, the official rules of disc golf do allow for rethrows, or what they call “an abandoned throw”. In this post I’ll explain the rule and when it makes sense to use a rethrow.

Can You Rethrow in Disc Golf?

Yes, you can rethrow in disc golf. A rethrow is called an abandoned throw in disc golf. A player can declare a throw abandoned, then take a one-stroke penalty in addition to the abandoned throw. After declaring a rethrow or an abandoned throw, you must throw from the lie where the abandoned throw was made.

In this post, I’ll discuss the rules for a rethrow in disc golf and 5 common situations when declaring a throw abandoned will make sense.

man throwing a disc golf disc

PDGA Rules For a Disc Golf Rethrow

One minute you’re having a great day on the course and the next minute it can all come crashing down. One bad throw can put your disc far from where you intended. What do you do? Throw from the new lie?

According to the PDGA, there are rules for a rethrow that in some instances can be used to your advantage. We’ll get to the 5 situations where it could be to your advantage to take a rethrow.

But first, what exactly do the PDGA rules say about a rethrow?

According to the PDGA rules for disc golf, a rethrow is officially called an abandoned throw.

“Any player may choose to abandon their most recent throw by declaring their intention to the group.”

The key to this statement on abandoned throws is that a player can only declare their most recent throw. So, you aren’t able to abandon a throw before the most recent.

What is an Abandoned Throw?

In disc golf, abandoning a throw is just like the throw never happened. But, abandoning a throw does come at a cost. The penalty for abandoning a throw is a one-stroke penalty. This is in addition to the stroke for the abandoned throw.

So, if you decide to declare your intention to abandon your last throw. Be aware that you’ll be adding two strokes to your score.

After abandoning your throw, you’ll throw again from the same spot. If there is a drop zone designated for abandoned throws, you’ll have the option to throw from the drop zone instead of the previous lie.

What is a Lie and Why Does it Matter?

The lie is a very important piece of the puzzle when it comes to an abandoned throw for disc golf. The lie is the spot that the disc is thrown from.

If your throw has landed in a spot with a very bad lie, it could make sense to take the penalty and throw from the previous lie.

5 Real Life Situations When It Makes Sense to Take a Rethrow

A rethrow, or an abandoned throw is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. There is a one-stroke penalty and the original stroke is tacked onto this option. This is meant to act as a deterrent to abusing the rule.

There are certain situations when playing from your new lie could result in more strokes taken. This is opposed to abandoning the throw, taking the penalty, and rethrowing from the previous lie.

Being able to recognize these situations and knowing the rules could save your score from disaster.

Below are the 5 times with it can make sense to simply declare a throw abandoned and rethrow from the previous lie.

1. Missing a Mandatory (Mando)

Missing a mando is a very common instance when you may choose to rethrow. The mando, or mandatory route creates a path that the disc must take to the hole.

A mando could be an object, tree, or even a building. You could find that your disc lands short of the mando, but there is no clear way to throw around, and have to take several throws to get back to the fairway.

A bad angle can also factor into your decision too. It might make sense to abandon the throw and tee again or rethrow.

2. Out-of-Bounds

The rules say that an out-of-bounds throw will result in a penalty and the disc will be placed in bounds from where it last crossed into the OB area.

If the area where your disc last crossed into the OB area is very unfavorable, you may go to take the OB penalty and still waste strokes getting back into a decent position.

The thing to remember here is that even though you’re taking a penalty for an abandoned throw, you won’t take the penalty for an OB shot.

So, you’ll be losing distance but a rethrow might get your disc into a better position and save strokes in the long run.

3. Rolling Putt

The rolling putt might be one of the most commonly cited instances when an abandoned throw can be more to your advantage.

Many courses will have a basket area that sits on the top of a steep hill. The danger with this throw is that overthrowing the putt will result in a disc that misses completely, or hits the basket and rolls down the backside of the hill for hundreds of feet.

Now is when you can weigh your options. Try to throw back uphill to get into putting range, or abandon the throw and try to sink the putt from the closer range?

Many players will decide that it’s better to take the penalty and save the extra strokes that you’ll be throwing back up the hill.

4. Wooded Areas

Thickly wooded areas are not only in out-of-bounds areas. Some courses have wooded areas that are in bounds. Throwing into an area with trees everywhere can be awful to try and throw out of.

The problem with saving the penalty stroke and playing from the lie is that you could spend many more strokes finding your way out of the woods.

This is a good time to strategically use the abandoned throw rule and get a better lie using a rethrow.

5. Short Drive With Downhill

Every course will have one hole or maybe two where that elusive ace shot is within your reach from the tee.

But, if the basket is sitting on the top of the hill you could be facing a similar situation as what was described in the rolling putt option.

If you miss the drive or doink the disc off the basket, it could send your disc hundreds of feet down a hill and off course.

The safer and less costly play in this situation is to take the penalty and rethrow with an easier approach.

Final Thoughts | Can You Rethrow in Disc Golf

Knowing the rules can play to your advantage at times. Most players want to avoid a penalty at all times, but it’s always best to think ahead and weigh the outcome.

There are a few instances, like the 5 situations above that show when the rules can be used strategically to save a hole from total disaster. It’s better to take the penalty in the short term and rethrow to save strokes.


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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