If you’re reading this you’re probably either looking to make your own home target (in a lot of places I have interchangeably called the target a basket – old habits die hard!) and want to make sure that you’re building something compliant, or you’ve seen a target that looks odd and you want to check it’s within the rules!
The information in this article is based on the PDGA specification to manufacturers (revision 6/15/10) and concerns what is defined as a ‘standard’ target. The target will be split into two sets of measurements, the basket and the ring. The ring is at the top of the target, deflection assembly, and usually holds chains whereas the basket provides an area for discs to drop into below.
A Disc Golf basket, required on a standard target, is 66cm in diameter (26 inches), the rim of the basket is 82cm (2 ft 8 inches) and the basket must be 18cm (7 inches) deep. The deflection assembly holding the chains above is 57cm (22.4 inches), the height from the bottom of the deflection assembly the basket rim below is 51cm (20 inches).
The manufacturing guidance from the PDGA does list tolerances for these dimensions. The dimensions are also listed in cm (metric) for the official guidance to benefit manufacturers and have been roughly approximates into inches in this article (for those keen eyes readers who notice a few minor differences!)
How Tall is a Disc Golf Basket?
The manufacturing guidance is filled with a number of tables which complicate the matter a little, so in this article I’ve broken down the dimensions into some easy to navigate images which should hopefully clear everything up.
Firstly lets look at the overall height of the target:
I’ve labelled the three height items in the image below, they should be as follows:
|1 – Deflection Support
|Max 15cm (5.9inches)
|2 – Target Depth
|51cm +/- 3cm (20 inches +/- 1.2inches)
|3 – Basket Rim
|82cm +/- 6cm (32.28inches +/- 2.36inches)
Assuming the deflection support is the maximum height allowable, then the total height of the basket is 148cm or 58.27 inches.
What is the diameter of a Disc Golf Basket?
Now we’ve looked at the basket from the side, let’s take a plan view of the basket. There are two key dimensions here. The first is the dimension of the deflection assembly and the second is the dimension of the basket below as these are different sizes.
As with the height, I’ve labelled the sections of the basket to try and keep everything clear
|4 – Deflection Support (Diameter)
|57cm +/- 4cm (22.44inches +/- 1.57inches)
|5 – Basket Rim (Diameter)
|66cm +/- 4cm (26inches +/- 1.57inches)
How many chains are in a Disc Golf basket?
You may be surprised to learn but the number of chains in a basket is fairly standard throughout disc golf targets. There are however a few differences I want to highlight.
Basic vs Standard vs Championship.
In the PDGA guidance there are three classifications of target as listed above. The basic target has very few requirements and can be as simple as a pole with a piece of wood nailed to the top, basic targets don’t require baskets and simply striking the target with your disc is suitable.
The standard targets are the ones this article focusses on and will likely be the type of target your local course will have, or you may have in your garden. These targets have baskets and the only real practical difference between the standard basket and the championship basket is that the chains on a championship basket have to be metal where as there is no material requirement for standard (most will have metal chains still) and the championship target has two layers of chains, 12 on the outer and 6 on the inner whereas the standard targets will just have the outer layer of chains.
How much should a Disc Golf Basket weigh?
There aren’t any rules about the weight of a target, this is so that players can have their own portable targets which they may want to have in their cars which they can take out and about to play with.
The only advice I would give personally is that if you’re looking to take a portable target it might be worth bringing a sandbag with you to weight it down. Just in case a disc strikes the target hard enough, or you’re playing on a very windy day which could wobble or topple the target.
How many baskets on a Disc Golf Course?
Much like golf there are typically two form of disc golf, a shorter 9 hole course and a ‘full’ 18 hole course.
My local course is quite small and therefore only has 9 holes but most larger courses will have the full 18 holes with each hole having a single basket at the end, marking the end of the hole.
History of the Disc Golf Basket
In the early days of disc golf, the target was no more than a simple post in the ground. As the player you would then try to strike the post with your disc to complete the hole. The problem with this was that it wasn’t always easy to tell if the disc had struck the hole, so a new target was required.
This disc golf basket we have today hasn’t changed much since it’s inception in the later 1970’s. The man credited with the current design basis is Ed Headrick.
The story goes that Ed was looking for something to absorb the energy of a flying disc and happened to have some chains hanging in his garage. He tested throwing the disc against some chains and decided that would be the best way to absorb the energy from the disc.
Ed patented his design in 1977 and the following images are extracted from US patent 4,039,189
The following drawings from a later patent in 1984 (4,461,484)
And 1999 (5,868,395)
It is worth mentioning that there are alternative design patents out there but they have not really taken off in the same way as Ed’s chain design, here are two others you might not be aware of;
US patent 5,048,845 from 1991 by David Bunipace uses a caged box instead of a free hanging chain:
And finally a more recent design to swap out chains for nets from 2004 (6,808,176 B2)
It will be interesting to see if we get any further changes in disc golf target technology, but for now, the ‘standard’ chain target appears to be the preferred option by players and manufacturers.
Where can I get a Disc Golf Basket?
Disc golf baskets are not relatively cheap and you can acquire one for your own back garden. My favourite is the MVP basket. You won’t need to dig it into the ground and it can be taken with you to your local park if you wish. It’s also at the lower end of the basket price range and from a good brand.
The only problem I’ve encountered with it is that you’ll need to pack it away or cover it over if leaving outside, otherwise it will slowly start to rust.
MVP 24 Chain Portable Disc Golf Basket
The MVP is a budget portable disc golf basket. Perfect for use in your garden or to pack up into the car and take to the park to play with friends!
Hopefully you found this article useful – happy throwing!