Disc Golf Disc Retrieval Systems

Disc Golf Disc Retrieval Systems

We all hate losing discs.

Every few months I see someone post a Kickstarter project, or a reddit post, or a survey. Something along the lines of “How much would you spend to never lose a disc again?”

It’s such an enticing thought. I’ve put years into learning some of my discs, and we all have one disc that kind of does its own thing. Plus I spend 15-25 bucks on some of these discs. Losing 5 discs a year slowly adds up. So if I could find a way to spend a little extra to not lose discs, I would.

There are a few ways (I can think of) to lose discs.

  1. Throw it and can’t locate it.
  2. Snow.
  3. Thrown into a water hazard.
  4. Thrown and stuck a tree.
  5. Fell out of your bag.
  6. Threw an extra shot and forgot to pick it up.

Let's examine how to answer discs thrown and can’t locate or get lost in snow.

Here’s some disc golf trackers that have come out or will soon.

  • Tobu Discs- This was OG. Tobu developed a disc that had a screw on the bottom to attach a battery to your discs. I don’t think they’re in business anymore because the website is down. The discs were expensive, and as someone who threw a couple of the molds, the discs weren’t something that would make my bag. 2015 was a different time though, and they were pioneers and should be remembered for shooting their shot, a few years ahead of their time. And the only one PDGA approved on this list.
  • Meep Meep- Currently in presale mode so you can check them out now. It’s $23.72 for a locator or $106.79 for a 5-pack. That’s about the price I’m comfortable buying a tour series premium disc for. When I saw the preview for them I was sure it would be closer to 35 dollars, so I’m pleasantly surprised at the cost. At this point it’s not PDGA legal, however they will make a push for it if there’s enough community interest. I’ve emailed Eve, the co-founder of Meep Meep and they’re quite responsive. I’m also a fan of how it’s an app to make the sound when you want it to. I’m not a fan of beeping unnecessarily on the course. I think that if you’re looking for a disc tracker this is probably your best option.
  • Hello Disc- At 14 dollars per locator it’s about the same price as a disc, even less than a premium stock stamp one these days. The positive reviews are that it doesn’t affect the flight of the disc and that people are finding their discs. That’s 100% what we’re looking for. The negative reviews are that the beep needs to be louder and that it falls off after smacking trees. Their customer service response seems to be fantastic, and they’re improving the design constantly. If there’s one thing I love, it's innovation. I trust companies that aren’t satisfied with the status quo and push for their products to improve to meet customer needs.

Those will all work if you’ve lost a disc somewhere in the grass, shrubs, or woods. Tobu discs are PDGA approved but stick-on retrievers aren’t yet.

That’s not the only way to lose a disc though.

What about water and trees?

Water is a very common way to lose discs, and unfortunately it doesn’t matter how loud your disc is beeping if it’s visiting Splashtown. Trees have claimed many discs and waiting for a wind storm is kind of a bummer.

The Golden Retriever  one of the original ways to get your disc back was this. It’s not just my favorite dog on the planet, Lilo.

Andrew Streeter with a large grin on his face while his golden retriever sits happily on his lap.
(My best girl Lilo, smiling at the peanut butter filled pretzel)

The Golden Retriever is a rope with a metal box attached that you can throw out into the water to collect your disc. It works alright, but you have to be very accurate and missing stirs up the bottom which makes it hard to get your disc. One common review is to not trust the factory knot and instead tie your own.

Plus you could in theory get a longer rope if you needed it. It weighs about half a pound and doesn’t take up that much room in your bag. I’ve used one and not had much success, but I’ve seen people pull out their discs with ease. It’s just like your favorite disc, the more you use it the better you get with it.

  • The Kwik Stik- I own one and SDG sells these in the shop. They’re telescopic rods that weigh about a pound and extend 10 feet. The larger ones can be 14-18 feet. It’s already paid for itself in the year I’ve had it. I just leave it in my bag every round in case of trees or bushes as well as water. The guy who makes these is always improving the design which I appreciate. I like how there’s no learning curve. Open it up and you’re good to go. You can also use this on trees, thorns, and mud. I’ve bled getting my discs before, and I assure you purchasing a 40 dollar stick hurts a lot less. I always recommend this to players in the shop. It’s worth the investment in my opinion.
  • Softball- This is for discs in trees, not water. Do not throw a softball at a disc underwater, it will have little to no effect. In all seriousness you need a way that’s PDGA approved to get discs out of trees as a disc is against the rules. Throwing a water bottle is a lot of extra stress on your shoulder, and sticks and stones are just as bad. Softballs, hockey pucks, and other things that are solid and lightweight work well. Softballs over baseballs just because of the surface area in my opinion.

Lots of discs end up chilling in the water and these are the best ways I’ve seen to get them back. Although I will say that I appreciate Pleasant Hill in Maine who sends in a professional diver once or twice per year to their pond. They then return discs free of charge (but donations appreciated).

What about discs that fell out of my bag or were extra throws?

This is a very common way to lose discs. Maybe you had two different discs on the teepad and you threw one behind you when you chose. Then you forgot to pick it up. Maybe your first drive hit a tree and you threw a funsie before playing the first throw.

In this case no pole or rope will work to help you. The beepers aren’t really good outside 100 feet so you may not know where your discs are. There’s a common tool you may already have in your bag that will help you retrieve these discs.

The Sharpie.
A small striped cup hold Shrpie maarkers with flowers attached to the ends to keep them in the store, sitting on a metal topped high round table.
(We keep our sharpies with flowers attached right next to the door. Please use them!)

Name and working phone number work nicely. I call hundreds of people each year to let them know their discs have been found and returned. It’s still the best tool for disc golf retrieval that I’ve found. Sure, you rely on the kindness of others. I feel like as long as the community keeps pushing for discs to be returned we’ll get to a point where most lost discs find their way home.

So those are the ways to keep you from losing discs. If you have any other ways I’d love to hear about them! Tag their company in the comments as well. There’s lots of technology in disc golf and seeing more options is a good thing.

May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397