Do You Have Your Head In The Sand?
Rule 27 – Ball Lost or Out of Bounds; Provisional Ball
Part 3 – Other Lost Ball Questions
Q: A playing partner or opponent found a ball in a really bad spot and I hope it isn’t mine, must I identify if it is mine or not?
A: Yes, Decision 27-2c/2 says that player must inspect that ball that is found and continue play with that ball if it is the players original ball. Further, Decision 27/13 says, if a player dishonestly claims the ball is not theirs, the player should be disqualified.
Q: Both me and my playing partner hit the same type of ball and can’t tell which is which, what do we do?
A: As per the definition of lost ball, the ball must be identified. If you can not positively distinguish between the two balls, they are both considered lost and you must proceed under penalty of stroke and distance. This is another reason why each player should put individual markings on their ball.
Q: I hit a ball and a provisional ball of the same brand and number into the same area, what do I do if I found 1) one ball, 2) both balls?
A: If you find one ball and you know it is yours but not sure if it is the original or provisional ball, you must assume it is the provisional ball. If you find both and can’t distinguish between them you can select a ball to play and it will be considered to be the provisional ball.
Q: I found what I though was my ball and played it, it turned out to be a wrong ball, what do I do now?
A: In match play you lose the hole for playing the wrong ball. In stroke play there is a two stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball and all strokes with the wrong ball are ignored, you have the time left from the original 5 minutes to search for the original ball (eg if you searched for 3 minutes, you have 2 minutes left to find it). If it can’t be found, then you must proceed under penalty of stroke and distance. If you played a provisional ball and the original ball can’t be found it becomes the ball in play. If you picked up the provisional ball after playing the wrong ball it must be replaced and the player is penalised one stroke for moving a ball in play. As a result, if the original ball was the tee shot, the player has played, 1 stroke for the tee shot, 2 strokes for wrong ball, 1 stroke for the lost ball, 1 stroke for the second ball and 1 stroke for moving the second (provisional) ball and is playing their 7th stroke. A good reason to ensure you play the correct ball!
Q: I’m certain my ball is in casual water, GUR or an obstruction, do I have to play under stroke and distance?
A: No, if you are certain the ball is an abnormal ground condition (casual water, GUR etc) or an obstruction then you can take relief without penalty under the relevant rule. The ball is considered to lie where the ball last crossed outermost limits of the abnormal ground condition/obstruction and the nearest point of relief is then determined from that spot. This does not apply if the ball is also in a water hazard and you must proceed under the water hazard rule.
Q: My ball has been stolen! What do I do?
A: If you are certain you ball has been taken you an outside agency (eg pick up by another player or taken by an animal) then through the green and in a hazard, if the place where the ball was known then a ball must be replaced, if the place is unknown, then a ball is to be dropped at the estimated spot. On the green, the ball is to be placed at the estimate spot. There is no penalty.