Doubles Rules and Formats
These rules for doubles play have been approved by the PDGA Rules Committee.
Doubles play comes in a variety of formats. Best Shot, Best Disc (aka Best Score), Alternate Shot, Worst Shot, and Tough Shot are described below. Except where noted, PDGA rules apply.
One oddity about doubles formats with regard to the rules is that a team may often disregard a player’s shot (or score, in Best Disc), giving that player a good deal of theoretical leeway as far as rules are concerned. As always, any attempt to circumvent the rules in order to gain competitive advantage is subject to action up to and including disqualification. In most cases, a warning or penalty throw incurred by a player shall apply to that player only; for example, if player A throws a drive out-of-bounds in Best Shot and the team elects to play player A’s drive, the team is then lying two at player A’s lie. Warnings and penalty throws for the following violations shall apply to the team as a whole: courtesy, practice throw, interference, late scorecard, and incorrect scorecard. All other warnings and penalty throws shall apply to the offending player only. Any call that requires confirmation must be confirmed by players on other teams.
In the Best Shot, Tough Shot, and Best Disc formats, you do not throw if it is mathematically impossible for you to improve your team’s score on a hole. In the Best Shot and Tough Shot formats, the second player does not throw if the first player has holed out. If you are playing Best Disc format and your partner has holed out, you do not throw unless you can improve on your partner’s score. Any throw made which cannot possibly improve a team’s score on a hole is considered an extra throw. A doubles team receives a courtesy warning for an extra throw made by any partner which cannot possibly improve the team’s score on a hole regardless of doubles format.
The team receives a one throw penalty for each subsequent extra throw during the round.
The formats described below may be extended beyond doubles (to triples,etc) if desired.
Best Shot is by far the most popular doubles format. Both players throw from each lie (starting with the tee shot), then the team chooses which of the resulting lies to continue play from, until the hole is completed.
• A team may take a reasonable amount of time to pick which lie they want before the 30-second play clock starts.
• A lie that is picked up without being marked is gone forever; the team must throw from the other lie. If the second lie is picked up, it must be replaced in accordance with PDGA rules. All lies must be marked according to PDGA rules.
• If the first player throws from the wrong lie, the second player may still throw from the correct lie.
• In case of injury or disqualification, one partner may play alone, throwing one shot at each lie (essentially playing singles).
Worst Shot is the most brutal of the doubles formats, and can test the patience of even the best teams. In Worst Shot, both players throw from each lie (starting with the tee shot), then the competing teams in the group choose which of the subsequent lies will be used, with the aim of making the hole as difficult as possible. The hole is completed once both team members have holed out from the same lie.
• The 30-second play clock begins once the opposing teams have selected the lie.
• A lie that is picked up without being marked must be replaced in accordance with PDGA rules. All lies must be marked according to PDGA rules.
• Any warning or penalty incurred by a player may be chosen to apply to the team, at the opposing teams’ discretion.
• A team found to be giving an opposing team a better lie will be disqualified for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Tough Shot is the same as Worst Shot, with the following variation: once a player on the team has holed out, the team has completed the hole.
In Alternate Shot, only one sequence of throws is made on each hole. The team selects a player to throw the tee shot at the beginning of the round. The other player then throws from the subsequent lie, and play alternates in that fashion until the round is completed. Alternate Shot is closer to a singles format, where one partner can’t bail the other out. If you miss a short putt, chances are good that you’ll be driving the next hole.
• If the wrong player on a team throws, another team must call it immediately, like a foot fault. The team receives a warning, and the correct player throws. Subsequent violations incur a one-throw penalty.
• For any violation that requires a rethrow (stance violation, provisional throw), the same player throws.
Best Disc (Best Score)
In Best Disc (also known as Best Score), each player plays the hole as they would while playing singles; there are no shared lies. The team score is the best score on the hole by one of its players.
• The player who is away will always throw first, with this exception: If both players are lying the same number of throws, the team may choose which player throws first.
• A player must pick up once it is impossible for him to better the team’s score.
• In case of injury or disqualification, one partner may play alone.