If you’ve played alongside a serious disc golfer, you know the kind who carry a $200 backpack made exclusively for carrying discs, or made an online purchase from a disc golf store, you’ve probably seen a little tiny frisbee golf disc. Without question, these little discs are cute, but what is the point of these little discs? Are they for throwing? Are they used to play frisbee golf? Are they required for tournament play? Are there baskets for these little discs? What is their purpose? What is the point of mini discs?
When Mini Markers Are Used
These small discs are officially known as mini marker discs. For tournament play they actually do have a purpose. Like a ball golf marker, a mini marker disc is used to mark your lie. In disc golf tournaments your lie, where you are allowed to throw your next shot from is very important. The basic rule is that your last point of contact before release of your throw must take place in the area the size of a sheet of paper behind your lie. In most instances you can use the disc you just threw as that point of reference, but what if you want to use the same disc? How do you know the legal point where you must plant your foot before throwing? This problem is solved with a mini marker. Before you pick up your disc for the next throw, simply place the mini disc directly in front of your disc to mark your lie. One advantage of using a mini marker is that your lie is now about 8 inches closer to the basket, which can make a big difference when making 10 foot puts is difficult.
Mini marker discs are also used to mark lie when a disc is thrown out of bounds. According to official PDGA rules, a player can mark their lie with a mini marker up to one meter away from where the disc was last in bounds. It is not legal to use another disc you aren’t going to throw to mark this lie you must use a mini marker disc. According to PDGA rules, a mini marker disc can be no more than 4.5 inches in diameter and no more than 2 centimeters tall. Why will the PDGA not allow you to mark your lie with a regular golf disc that you won’t be throwing on the next shot? I don’t know, but it’s probably to help encourage the purchase and need for mini marker discs.
Why are there so many different types of mini discs?
To be honest, these little discs are primarily used for collecting. Most players obsessed with disc golf literally own dozens of these. Mini marker discs are given out at almost every amateur disc golf tournament or specialty event. Retailers regularly give these away with purchases. Disc manufacturers make enticing mini exclusive stamps and styles with minis that look like Oreo’s, sliced Oranges, Lemon’s, Limes, Baseballs, and more. And while mini marker discs are primarily made in inexpensive plastic, they are also made in metal, wood, rubber, glass, glow in the dark, and soft stress foam. There are so many different types of mini discs because obsessed frisbee golfers love anything that has to do with their favorite past time. There are more than 60 different variations of mini discs for sale on InfiniteDiscs.com alone!
Can you throw mini discs?
Yes. In fact they are really quite fun to throw. Some larger mini discs are made specifically to throw. Sometimes mini courses are made with mini disc baskets. Because these discs are usually lightweight, you can even set up a little indoor mini disc golf course. However, mini marker discs are not allowed to be thrown during PDGA tournament play (not that you would want to throw a mini disc at a big basket when you have big discs to throw, but rules are rules). But, the reality is that 99% of frisbee golf rounds played are not during PDGA sanctioned tournaments so you can throw a mini disc for fun if you want to.
A few years ago Discraft came out with the “Mini Buzzz.” Using the exact same design and dimensions as the Discraft Buzzz (the most popular selling midrange disc) but in a smaller, legal mini marker size, this version of a bigger mini flew amazingly well. They became a huge fad as players found they could get as much (if not more distance in some cases) by throwing little versions of their favorite discs. Seeing the huge popularity of the Mini Buzzz, Dynamic Discs and MVP soon jumped on the bandwagon with their own version of max diameter mini markers in the same shape as their popular molds. MVP even made a special basket built just the right size for these large mini marker discs.