Disc golf lingo: many groups even have their own dialect


In a recent round at DeLa, I paused briefly to tell my friend that his last throw had tons of ‘E.V.’, but I held the comment for later when we noticed that a large group of marauders was quickly gaining on us. So naturally we…what’s that? Not exactly following my meaning?

Don’t worry, you’re not behind on the latest disc golf lingo- at least not yet.

Most of those reading this are well acquainted with the fact that while disc golf borrows a great deal of terminology from its stick-and-ball ancestor (par, birdie, drive, putt, etc.), the sport has a lexicon all its own as well. Words like hyzer, anhyzer and thumber, and terms like ‘chain music’ and ‘high tech roller’ mean nothing outside of disc golf (or at least disc sports). And words like ‘chunder’ and ‘shule’ – while they can be found in a standard dictionary – have very different applications in the world where golf meets flying disc.

These words and phrases serve as an instant bond between people who might otherwise have zero in common. Picture, for instance, a 55-year old clean-cut professional type visiting a course he’s never played before during some free time on a business trip. As he arrives at the teepad of a blind hole he encounters a couple long-haired, dreadlocked, hemp-wearing locals. The locals offer to let him play through, and the traveler asks them where the basket is located. One of them replies “If you throw a big anhyzer over those trees on the left and can get it to ‘S’ out at the end, you’ll be putting for birdie.”

Different as they might appear and even be, in respect to the other aspects of their lives, the visitor and the locals understand each other perfectly well on the disc golf course. We’re all members of a subculture that while steadily growing is still far from the mainstream, and our lexicon of unique terminology is one of the true identifying marks about which those not yet part of the clan remain completely ignorant.

But even with subcultures there are smaller micro cultures. For instance, I had played for years before I knew that those in the Midwest (and other regions, for all I know) refer to thick disc golf rough as ‘schule’. Where did that word come from? Who cares?! Shule is cool! (unless you’re stuck in it)

And recognizing that there are regional idiosyncrasies in disc golf is merely the tip of the iceberg. A sport with endless options for creativity and amazement that also happens to still be commercially decentralized is bound to foster new and unique terms in every tiny enclave where it is played. And so it has been- in my circle, anyway (and therefore, I assume, in others). Despite what my mother always tells me, I’m not that special.

I’m hoping that the rest of this post will generate lots of comments as readers write in sharing disc golf terminology unique to their regular group or at least their local course. Here are a few that have become commonplace between myself and a few guys with whom I regularly play.

E.V. stands for Entertainment Value, and we use the acronym to describe a shot that was highly entertaining to watch- whether it was successful or not. A technical spike hyzer from 100 feet out that passes surgically between crowded trees exactly as planned before slamming to the ground right past the basket would have EV value, even if it rolled away afterward.

Marauders are not hoards or barbarians bent on ripping out baskets and melting them down for weapons. Nothing as dramatic as that. They don’t even necessarily appear in large groups, although that is most often the case. Rather, marauders on a disc golf course are those who seemingly have no concept of the written nor unwritten rules of golf. It’s not that they’re rude. They just don’t know the rules or don’t care to play the game that way. They don’t both to take a legal stance (anywhere within five feet seems to be okay- especially if there is a tree or bush in the way), and they don’t take turns to throw. Instead there is a general continuous advancement with discs flying simultaneously and close calls galore. To players who are ahead of them, taking the game more seriously, marauders seem like a swarm of locusts swiftly approaching. Hmmm, locusts. Maybe that’s a good synonym for marauders!

When you’re stuck behind a bush, consider yourself foliated (as in, blocked by foliage). When you’re stuck deep inside a bush, with more bushes and trees all around you, consider yourself extremely foliated. It’s an easy, one-word way to explain to your buddy why you weren’t able to get more than 30 feet out of the rough. “Dude, I was completely foliated.” Note: This term only applies when the foliage is close enough to your lie to make it difficult to even get your throw off cleanly. You can’t claim ‘foliation’ just because there are hundreds of trees and or bushes blocking your line.

As I go through my list here and type out definitions for these words and phrases, it occurs to me that more than one of them are novel terms for classic golf excuses. A good example is fickle factor, or for those who prefer saltier language, fickle f#% factor. My favorite application is when a player has a shot that is wide open and uncomplicated except for a lone twig that appears to be as light and thin as a pipecleaner- and somehow that twig stops his disc dead in its tracks. A more objective view might be that he should have seen that twig and avoided it, but instead he assigns the blame to the ‘fickle factor’.

We also have other ‘factors’, my favorite of which is alternatively referred to as Chutzpah Factor or Scrotal Factor. It is usually referenced in regards to a shot taken that was difficult and might easily have had disastrous results. A more common way of expressing this sentiment would be to say that the shot took ‘big cajones’. Scrotal factor is the scale that determines exact how much cajones the shot required.


Having to reach through several limbs and branches to execute his shot, this player has a legitimate claim to being ‘foliated’. Since the green behind slopes sharply downhill, if he goes for the basket the shot will have a high ‘scrotal factor’. (Photo by Asaf)

Another category not to be overlooked relates to good-natured gamesmanship between frequent competitors. For instance, my friend Alan often likes to put extra pressure on me before putts (and I occasionally return the favor). He uses reverse psychology at select times by asserting that putts inside the 10-meter circle are in the ‘Jack Zone’, meaning they are automatic for me. I assure you, they are not.

Flip Putt

A flip putt is attempted from the edge of the Alan Belt. (Photo by Jack Trageser)

My similar weapon is not reverse psychology but the sadistic reminder of his lifelong struggle with short putts. He deals with this struggle by using a flip putt when close to the basket, but there is always a gray area when he has trouble deciding whether a putt is too long to flip. I sometimes refer to that gray area – usually for him between 15 and 20 feet out, depending on wind direction – as the Alan Belt. If I’m playing doubles against him, I might say to my partner (loud enough for Alan to overhear), “Oooh. That one is right in the Alan Zone.”

Another one to mention quickly is Allenfreude. I won’t go into detail on it here, but it is related to the famous German word schadenfreude. Follow the link to a previous blog post for a description. I’m sure others can relate.

As a reminder, this is the kind of teasing that is appropriate among friends only- and we have an understanding that these types of mind games are only to be used when defeat appears imminent. Don’t try this with the thick-necked guy on your course with a temper and a short fuse.

So my question to you, the reader, is which of these terms do you identify with the most? Better yet, share some of your own, with a description of how and when they are used. Language is a big part of any shared experienced, and few subcultures have a richer lexicon than the disc golf community. Let’s add to it!



  1. SoManyTrees on

    A couple phrases we like to use:

    Men’s Warehouse – You lose sight of your shot (by the design of the hole), but you know from experience that it is going to land favorably. You call this a Men’s Warehouse because, you’re going to like the way you look.

    Two-Tree-Four – This is hitting two jerk trees and still managing to scrap a bogie.

    Treedirected, treenied, etc. – Self explanatory.

    Disclaimer – This is a hole notorious for eating plastic, whether it be high grass, sharp drop offs, thick brush, etc.

    Unfourtunate – A bogie 4.

  2. I’m a Texas disc golfer from Veterans Park in Arlington. Two local terms we used in the 90s (I don’t know if they still do. I’ve only just returned to tournament play) are Sponch and Gack. A Sponch is a terrible throw. A Gack is the damage done to your disc when you sponch your throw into a tree or wall or rock or… you get the picture.

    • Jack Trageser on

      I’ve hear gack, but used as a verb, and in ‘I really gacked that throw!’

  3. markmelmore on

    A few terms came up this morning on my pre-work early morning round that might fit the discussion as not being used often outside of disc golf. Having lived and played in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and now Washington, some of these terms seem to be used more in certain parts of the country than others.
    Tree-Love – where a tree helps the disc land closer to the basket than it would have otherwise.
    Treenied – the opposite of Tree-Love, derivative of denied.
    Bushwacked – Similar to Treenied but when a bush is the culprit rather than a tree.
    Upshot (or shortened to just Up) – a shot somewhere between a midrange and putt, typically synonymous with an approach shot or a shot at the basket. “Nice Up, man.”
    Run – any throw, upshot to drive, that is right at the basket but usually doesn’t go in. “Good run at it.”
    Flex – another term for a discs fade or hyzer at the end of the flight. Usually said to the disc as a command to get into the fade and break one way or the other.
    Niced – the mystical way of altering a playing partner’s nicely thrown shot directly into a tree or other obstacle. A buddy I played with in Kansas City would kick you in the shins if you “niced” his shot while his disc was in the air.

  4. David R. on

    Tampa Florida we use terms like

    Face Ace … pretty self explanatory
    Squid …. someone who swims in the water for discs …. and we have tons of water
    Goocher ….. is when every member of your group hits a tree on their drive
    Gone Berry Pickin …… is when your disc has a clear path to the basket but you throw into the rough instead (i.e. way to the left or right and most likely into some bushes

    • Jack Trageser on

      All new to me David. I especially like Goocher. What is the origin? What does it mean?

  5. North of the border we often refer to thick rough as “schnarb”. Whether it be trees or tall weeds any nasty lie.

    • Jack Trageser on

      Schnarb . . . is that French Canadian? Like it’s the ‘hoser’ of the disc golf landscape?

  6. Rick Gzesh on

    Birdville is the area you want your drive to land in which would be striking distance to the basket.

    Bogeytown is the opposite. When you shank your drive and your only hope is for a bogey.

    These are fun, keep them coming.

    Rick G

  7. Ps Perkins on

    We refer to “denial” as ” the big river in Egypt” – this is an interesting article. Good to hear others using ” treenial” too, thought we made that up.

  8. Those holes where you seem to hit every tree along the fairway. You’ve contracted an S-tree-D. Just like std’s you can pass S-tree-D’s from player to player on different holes.

  9. MN disc golfer here.

    Instead of “fickle factor” my friends and I call it “The inverse tree-law of disc law” meaning that no matter how open your passage looks, if you get knocked down by a branch it’s probably the smallest little twig that did the dirty work – the one you couldn’t even see until your disc collides with it.

    Instead of Marauders, we call them “chuckers”. The best part about chuckers? No matter how many of them are in the group (even 8+), they still play faster than a serious 2-some since they don’t take turns, so you can let them pass and be done with them =)

    • Jack Trageser on

      Leave it to an engineer to try to explain the phenomenom with a law of physics! Seriously, Matt, I like that term as much as fickle factor.

  10. Puttertunity (putter-toon-ity) : the opportunity to make a putt after a drive.

    e.g. That’s a good drive, you’re sure to have a puttertunity.

    Treezus (tree-zus) : The one whom you give thanks to after a tree kicked your disc in a good direction. Perhaps a little blasphemous to some.

    e.g. Thank you Treezus! (After a drive hits a tree and kicks the disc towards the pin instead of into the woods)

  11. Alex Kliza on

    Me and my buddies say mcmuffin when we hit basket or chains and the put does not go in.

    • Jack Trageser on

      I’m dying to know why you and your friends say ‘mcmuffin’. there’s gotta be a story behind that!

    • Jack Trageser on

      Why Roswell? Is that an alien thing, or a reference to the soft dirt at the Roswell course near Atlanta (yes, this Santa Cruz disc golfer has played there).

  12. Treesus- Getting a favorable kick off a tree. ex: “Treesus saved my par”
    Cage- Part of the basket the disc falls into
    Sally/Sallied- Under throwing a shot, or putting one into the ground not far off the pad.

    • Jack Trageser on

      I love ‘sallied’. I first heard the term ball golfing when I came up short on a putt and my friend said ‘Nice shot Sally!’

  13. Froth. A combination of Frisbee and golf. Such as hey dude do you want to go frothing today.

  14. Wormburner – a drive that slides along the ground
    Black Ace – going in the wrong basket from a drive off the tee

    • Though the word “wormburner” may be used in disc golf, it is not original to the sport. In baseball, a wormburner refers to either one of two things. One, a pitcher’s very low fastball, or two, a ball hit very fast on the ground. Love hearing everyone’s input.

      I’ll add one I heard at a rated round a couple weeks ago near Pittsburgh, PA. It was “griplocked,” meaning the throwers grip was too strong and the disc stayed with the hand long after the intended release point.

  15. Wormburner, drive thrown low almost skinning the ground
    Tree Luv, when your disc hits a tree and deflects to your advantage
    Tree Hate, opposite of Tree Luv
    Tombstone when you throw a high shot and it comes down sticking in the ground

  16. Destin S on

    Iron leaf technique- when your disc hits one leaf and falls out of the sky right under the leaf.

  17. Chicago area.

    What you call Marauders. We call Chuckers. They play fast. Throw whenever. Walk in front of each other. Known to graffiti benches and signs. Throw before green is cleared. Carry 1 disc.

    Dense rough- We call Cabbage.

    Casual players refer to competitive players as Baggers

    Heat- disc thrown fast.

    Snaked- losing your throwing position.

  18. JPSnuffy on

    Princess Layup: To describe a putt that could have been made, whether inside or outside the circle, but the player didn’t even try to give it enough to hole-out. Example “Great shot Princess Layup”

    • Wow, I honestly thought one of our guys in the club came up with princess layup…didn’t know it was out there already!

  19. JPSnuffy on

    When putting if your disc hits the chains but spills out onto the ground, we use the terms “strong side” and “weak side”. Depending on the players throwing arm the strong and weak side would be different.
    eg. RH: Right side strong, Left weak.

    • Jack Trageser on

      That’s a pretty universal term. Interestingly, I’ve noticed with DGA’s new Mach X that strong and weak side seems to be reversed. We may have to re-think those terms!

  20. Dirtbag Roller – when the thrown disc turns into a roller unintentionally.
    Triple Woodchuck Killer – Similar to worm burner.
    Yorked or New Yorked – When you “Nice” a shot and a tree mysteriously jumps out of nowhere and knocks it to the ground.
    Picking the lock – a shot that lands next to the target.

    • Jack Trageser on

      good one Chas! Where does York or New York come from? Was there a guy at your course from New York that had the habit of ‘nice-ing’ everyone?

  21. My brother looked at me like I was nuts when a tree saved my disc from going OB and I shouted “Thank you Treesus!” Now he’s sharing that one with his DG buddies!

  22. In Longmont, CO… If you purposely don’t run at a basket within run-able distance we say “Nice shot princess layup”..it usually gets a few laughs.

  23. Invisi-limb – The limb that knocks down your disc, hidden behind the limb you were worried about.

    invisi-tree – The tree your disc hits that is hidden behind the tree you made it past.

  24. Team Achieve from the western suburbs of Chicago has a few unique ones.

    Taco’d – when you hit a tree so hard you think the disc might be deformed.

    Come On Man!! – most often phrase heard when a putt inside 10′ is missed.

    Members Bounce – Probably stolen from the stick and ball variety, when a disc bounces off a tree back onto the fairway.

    Plinko – hitting more than one tree on a throw.

    • NW – Seattle area

      “Taco’d” : this has been a term commonly used in Ultimate Frisbee when the disc gets warped to the extreme.

      “Get skinny!” : what you tell your disc to do when you need it to make it through a narrow gap or trees.

      “Pro-side”(strong-side) “Am-side”(weak-side) : The correct or incorrect / left or right side of the basket that you hit when putting.

      “Plinko” – when you stratigically throw a disc up in a tree that is next to the basket and it makes its way all the way down while hitting branches.

      “birdie op” (opportunity ) “birdie look” : when your drive makes it not close enough to be parked but still close enough for a good chance at making your birdie putt.

      “Klingon” (grip lock) : when your drive goes off track because you held onto it past the point of when you wanted to release it.

  25. We have replaced the word birdie with the words caw-caw like toucan bird cry.If you say birdie your birdie gets a big +1 making it par so no birdies at the course just eagles and caw-caw’s.

  26. Jonathan on

    Local’s Route: when you miss your intended line on the wrong side of a tree, but still somehow make it through all of the dense branches and bushes you were trying to avoid with a decent look at the basket

    Also in SF, the ‘marauders’ and ‘chuckers’ are referred to as “Daryls” for whatever reason – no idea why

  27. The term “marauders” really hit home, but here in KY we refer to them as “bro’s”. They are usually sans shirt and shoes, yelling loud enough to disrupt the whole course and smacking away their “bro’s” putts right before it hits chains.

    Anytime a disc is spiked into the ground after hitting a limb, usually the bottom of the lowest branch, it’s been “Mutomobo’d”. It gets its name from the famous giant of the NBA known for blocked shots.

    Also, here in KY, our wooded courses have extremely thick rough along the fairways full of vines, thorns, tall grass, and bushes/trees that create a stroke – taking fortress that’s nearly impossible to fight your way through. We call it “the darkness”. For one, it is really dark in there even in midday sunlight. Secondly, the nightmares of bogies past live there.

  28. “get greasy” – is some thing you say while your disc is in the air heading for some trees, if it gets through it would be “greasy”.

    If the disc lands right under the chains it is called handicap parking.

    And not quite as nice and a bit more colorful a than marauders, or checkers, we call them “flick dicks”.

  29. Ohemetophobia on

    When we Park a shot, we like to say you Michael J. Foxed it. Originated from playing a round with a homeless fellow who told me I “got that Parkinson’s disease” following a parked drive.

  30. Velcro, for when a tree wont let go of your disc. I’ve also used “Disc Gods” for when you lose your disc and can’t find. Its like paying homage or dues, its bound to happen.

  31. Tombstone – Refers to a shot (usually a spike hyzer) that lands and embeds itself in the soft grass or mud/dirt at any upright angle. Can also be used as a verb such as “Wow, you tombstoned that one.”

    SMS – We have a group that doles out a small monkey at the end of the round to whomever loses referred to as the “shule monkey.” They keep it the entire week until we meet again on the weekend to play our next round. Someone will say SMS near the end of the round when they are pretty obviously out of it, losing by too many strokes to come back from last place. It stands for “solidifying monkey status.”

    All others have been mentioned in the previous comments in some form or another.

  32. lexxerd on

    Tree Love: When your disc hits a tree but happens to still fly forward towards the basket or the direction you wanted it to go.

    “Oh you are so lucky you got some tree love there! Thought that one was going straight into the brush.”

  33. I always enjoy calling shots that just stop from those magical twigs and then flop almost vertically to the ground the ‘Duck Hunt’ throws.

    I call them as such because they remind me of the Ducks after being shot in the old NES game Duck Hunt. Usually only takes one reference in a group of guys to have everyone on the card go ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what that’s like’

  34. In Nashville, my friends and I call shots that land under the basket, “headbangers.”
    e.g., “Hey dude, don’t bang your head picking up your disc.”

    We use “tree-love” and “tree-hate”

    We also call throwing a tight shot through trees and brush successfully “threading the needle.”
    e.g. “Truly I say to you, it was more difficult for you to throw that shot than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. That’s from the book of Exo-disc.”

  35. How about the yellow band encircling the top of some baskets. When hit, I’ve heard it referred to as “Chastity Belt” and “Santa’s Little Helper.”

  36. “Huzz”

    Can be used in just about anyway imaginable, but it essentially is the act of throwing a disc (hopefully) with positive results. Below are some examples in context:

    “Wanna huzz today?”
    “Sorry, I was busy huzzin. What’s up?”
    “Yeah, we all shot under par today. Straight up HUZZ fest.”

    Think of it as a replacement for the word “throw”. You don’t really throw a disc. You huzz a disc. If you throw a disc, you’re just doing it wrong!!!

  37. vice-gripped…when you forget to let go of the disc on your drive
    snookered…stuck behind an obstacle
    yoinked it…missed a short putt badly
    niced, expressed as “don’t talk to my disc in the air!”
    Clint…the odd man at doubles who has himself as a partner, as in Clint Eastwood from the Good the bad and the ugly….
    Randys…our term for maruaders( which i had never heard used before)

  38. Lumberjack – when you make a bee line into a tree.

    Dead duck – a shot that goes into trees or branches and drops straight down.

    Salad – a good shot. From “solid” said in a weird voice cause we’re weirdos.

    Baby – used to describe a shorter or less exaggerated shot than normal. For example a baby thumber to get through thick trees but land safely just on the other side.

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