When a ball is lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds,
to save time, you can play a provisional ball, but strictly in terms of the rules.
Question: My drive from the tee went out of bounds. So I played a provisional ball, which I believed also went out of bounds. Was I entitled to play a second provisional ball before going to search for the two previous balls?
Answer: Yes, but bear in mind in such a situation, a second provisional ball bears relationship to the first provisional ball, in the same way as the first provisional ball bears relationship to the original ball from the tee. Your third shot from the tee, therefore, would have been your fifth stroke.
Question: Is it really necessary for me to inform my fellow players that I intend to play a provisional ball? I wasn’t sure whether my original ball was lost, so I dropped and played another ball without mentioning that I was playing a provisional ball.
Answer: Yes, the relevant rule says a player must inform his opponent, marker or fellow competitor that he intends to play a provisional ball. As you said nothing but placed another ball into play, you did so under penalty of two strokes.
Question: I saw my drive from the tee disappear into oblivion. To save time, I teed up and played another ball without announcing it as a provisional ball. Did this preclude me from searching for my original ball?
Answer: No, but your second ball remained in play. If you’d found your first ball, you weren’t free to play it and your search for it shouldn’t have unduly delayed play.
Question: Am I allowed five minutes to search for my original ball and five minutes to search for my provisional ball or just a total of five minutes?
Answer: If the two balls were so close together that both would be searched for simultaneously, a total of five minutes would be allowed. Otherwise, you’re allowed to search five minutes for each ball. But try not to hold up play. – George Nicholas
E-mail your inquiry to [email protected] or post
to Box 12444, Clubview, 0014. |fw