It is best to put up a discathon course in a public park, where many natural obstacles can be found. The drawing below shows an example of how to design a course. The whole course consists of series of obstacles — also known as “mandatories” — which the disc should pass on the left-hand or right-hand side. Here, all obstacles are drawn as trees, but a course can include any number of obstacles and boundaries, such as lampposts, fences, benches and whatever else is available. Some mandatories include only obstacle while others may use double obstacles to create a line or “gate” that the disc must cross. Other key course elements are “tests” — a series of obstacles that must be passed with a single throw. If a player’s disc fails to pass the test obstacles, the player must pass an additional penalty mandatory.
Most mandatories in the drawing are single obstacles, requiring the disc to pass only on the left-hand or right hand-side.
A double mandatory consists of two obstacles, which the disc must pass in between. Examples are the numbers 4, 8, 9, 11 and 24 in the drawing. Sometimes an extra height restriction is added by using tape or rope to create a target or “window” that the disc must fly through, such as a horizontal rope between two trees.
Tests and penalty courses
The accompanying illustration shows a variety of tests. These are indicated by a “T” on the course map. The first mandatory in a test establishes a “test line”; the player must throw from behind that line toward the test mandatory, which can consist of another line, free-standing target (like a hula-hoop) or even a height-restricted “window” created by a horizontal rope and two trees. If the player’s disc travels completely through the test line and the test target, then the player continues the course in order. If the player fails to throw the disc completely through the test mandatory, then they must throw their disc around an extra penalty mandatory before continuing the course. In the drawing, the penalty route is indicated by a dashed line. A test is just a part of the course. Players can choose not to take the test; however they must still complete all of the mandatories, including the extra penalty course.
The discathon finish line is always a double obstacle with a height restriction — like a finishing gate. The player finishes the race only when the disc as a whole has passed through the gate.