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wedgehammer40k

When is a ball officially lost?

57 posts in this topic

Hi All,

Just playing at my local club competition, I duffed my drive, it went about 10 yards (embarrassing) - got out my 3 wood and smacked the hell out of it to make up for lost yards - it was a cloudy day and I knew I hit it true and up the guts but lost sight of it. I get up to my group and they reckon it faded and was probably in the pond - I was adamant it couldn't be in the wet but after 2 minutes searching in the area near the lateral hazard I was basically pressured to declare it lost although I did not officially say anything I merely turned back and headed for the tee to take my third (and what would have been my 5th) shot. As I got back I let the next group tee off as I didn't want to hold up play, just as as I was getting up for a shot my group waved at me as they had found my ball. I dutifully headed up to my original ball and kept playing.

I get to the clubhouse and all the talk was about this action (to my surprise) - apparently by walking back to the tee I had declared my original ball lost. I personally think this is a load of B/S as I'm pretty sure nowhere does it state in the rules of golf that simply walking to my original shot is declaring the ball lost. My group kept searching as I was walking back, I did not take any other stroke and my group found my original ball. My understanding is that I must play my original ball?

Anyway this is part vent and part seeking clarification...

Was that ball lost or was I right to play my original ball?

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27/16

Ball Declared Lost Is Found Before Another Ball Put into Play

Q. A player searched for his ball for two minutes, declared it lost and started back to play another ball at the spot from which the original ball was played. Before he put another ball into play, his original ball was found within the five-minute period allowed for search. What is the ruling?

A. A player cannot render a ball lost by a declaration - see Definition of "Lost Ball." The original ball remained in play - see Definition of "Ball in Play."

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If your ball is found within 5 minutes of when you arrive at the area you believe the ball to be and begin your search, it is not lost. It doesn't matter if someone else finds it. Nor can you "declare" it lost. The only thing that overrides that 5 minutes, is if you were to put another ball in play. So, since you hadn't hit your next shot, if your group found your ball within 5 minutes of when you first began your search for it, you were right to play your original ball. Edited to add that KevCarter beat me to it...... :beer:
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If your ball is found within 5 minutes of when you arrive at the area you believe the ball to be and begin your search, it is not lost. It doesn't matter if someone else finds it. Nor can you "declare" it lost. The only thing that overrides that 5 minutes, is if you were to put another ball in play.

So, since you hadn't hit your next shot, if your group found your ball within 5 minutes of when you first began your search for it, you were right to play your original ball.

Edited to add that KevCarter beat me to it......

Looks like we just posted on top of each other David. I like your detailed explanation. Cheers!

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Thanks all,

Unfortunately the consensus around my club is the by returning to the tee you "abandon" your ball therefore it is lost.

I believe as per posts above and the actual rules of golf, that I was in the right but as I was not penalised just given a warning, I'm just going to put it down as a "local rule" and next time not be pressured into walking back to the tee and simply carry on my search for 5 minutes even though it will probably upset the members and I'll be accused of slow play.


Thanks all.

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Why not ask your club manager to post a copy of the Decision quoted by Kev on the notice board by your local rules?

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Why not ask your club manager to post a copy of the Decision quoted by Kev on the notice board by your local rules?

Agree.  I wouldn't let it go quite that easily.  Unless the contention is that 5 minutes of search had expired before the ball was found, you were absolutely correct to play it.

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I declare my ball "officially lost" when I loose interest looking for it.

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Thanks all,

Unfortunately the consensus around my club is the by returning to the tee you "abandon" your ball therefore it is lost.

I believe as per posts above and the actual rules of golf, that I was in the right but as I was not penalised just given a warning, I'm just going to put it down as a "local rule" and next time not be pressured into walking back to the tee and simply carry on my search for 5 minutes even though it will probably upset the members and I'll be accused of slow play.

Thanks all.

It doesn't matter what the consensus is, and the club is not authorized to invent it's own local rules, particularly when they ignore a rule of golf.

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I understand and agree with all that has been posted, but want to point out I was not penalised - there was no official club ruling on  the matter -  it simply caused a debate around the club house and there were those people for and against - although the majority appeared to regard walking away from your ball as abandoning it.

I think what I will do is simply approach the committee and seek clarification of the rules.

I again want to stress that the matter was not officiated on by the club,  it was a matter raised by a member, so his view is not indicative of the club's rules and policies I can assure you they take the rules of golf very seriously.

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I understand and agree with all that has been posted, but want to point out I was not penalised - there was no official club ruling on  the matter -  it simply caused a debate around the club house and there were those people for and against - although the majority appeared to regard walking away from your ball as abandoning it.

I think what I will do is simply approach the committee and seek clarification of the rules.

I again want to stress that the matter was not officiated on by the club,  it was a matter raised by a member, so his view is not indicative of the club's rules and policies I can assure you they take the rules of golf very seriously.

The club's rules must be the Rules of Golf. If they are not, they cannot be taking them seriously.

Incidentally, the problem has probably has arisen because relative to the playing history of many of your members, this rule was changed relatively recently and may not have cottoned on yet.

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The club's rules must be the Rules of Golf. If they are not, they cannot be taking them seriously.

Incidentally, the problem has probably has arisen because relative to the playing history of many of your members, this rule was changed relatively recently and may not have cottoned on yet.

1976 to be exact.

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1976 to be exact.

The age profile of the dissenters can be predicted then ;-)

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In fact the rule re declaring a ball lost dates back to 1956 and was removed in 1964.

In 1972 a player could abandon his ball but that was rescinded in 1976.

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they can't just make stuff up!


As long as you said the magic word "provisional" before you put that second ball in play, then you not only could play your original ball, you had to play that ball. But , if you had not said the word "provisional" before playing the second ball from where you hit the three wood, then your club pro is correct and your first ball was "lost" (no longer the ball in play) as soon as you took a swipe at the second.

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they can't just make stuff up!

As long as you said the magic word "provisional" before you put that second ball in play, then you not only could play your original ball, you had to play that ball. But, if you had not said the word "provisional" before playing the second ball from where you hit the three wood, then your club pro is correct and your first ball was "lost" (no longer the ball in play) as soon as you took a swipe at the second.

As long as something is said that makes it apparent that the second ball is a provisional ball, it isn't absolutely necessary to say the word "provisional".  I always say it so that there can be no doubt, but some guys just like to live dangerously.

If the player says "I'm going to hit another" without further clarification, then you are correct and he just lost his original ball.  If he says "I'm going to hit another just in case I don't find the first one", he has now fulfilled the requirement by expressing intent, even though he hasn't made as clear as he might have.

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As long as something is said that makes it apparent that the second ball is a provisional ball, it isn't absolutely necessary to say the word "provisional".  I always say it so that there can be no doubt, but some guys just like to live dangerously.

If the player says "I'm going to hit another" without further clarification, then you are correct and he just lost his original ball.  If he says "I'm going to hit another just in case I don't find the first one", he has now fulfilled the requirement by expressing intent, even though he hasn't made as clear as he might have.

Not saying I would ever call someone on it because when something is said that does not specifically contain "provisional ball", I always ask.

There is a decision in the ROG, 27-2a/1 Announcement of Provisional Ball

Q.A player hits his ball into an area where it may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. The player then drops another ball and plays it. The player intends the dropped ball to be a provisional ball, but he does not inform his opponent, marker or fellow-competitor that he is "playing a provisional ball." In such a situation, can a player's actions constitute announcement that he is playing a provisional ball?

A.No. Rule 27-2a specifically provides that the player must inform his opponent, marker or a fellow-competitor that he intends to play a provisional ball.

The player's statement must specifically mention the words "provisional ball" or must make it clear that he is proceeding under Rule 27-2a. Therefore, a player who says nothing has put another ball into play.

The following are examples of statements that do not satisfy the requirement of announcing a provisional ball:

(a) "That might be lost. I am going to re-load."

(b) "That might be out of here."

(c) "I'd better hit another one."

(d) "I will never find that one. I'll play another."

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they can't just make stuff up!

As long as you said the magic word "provisional" before you put that second ball in play, then you not only could play your original ball, you had to play that ball. But, if you had not said the word "provisional" before playing the second ball from where you hit the three wood, then your club pro is correct and your first ball was "lost" (no longer the ball in play) as soon as you took a swipe at the second.

Yes, but he would have to have declared he was playing a provisional ball before he left the spot to go search for the first ball.  If you don't find the first ball and did not play a provisional ball before going to search you are not allowed to go back and hit a provisional ball.  Rule 27-2a Procedure. You can go back, but once you hit the second ball, it is the ball in play...regardless of whether or not the 5 minutes are up or the first ball was found.

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