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Lost ball ... then not. Help me!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Last night in league, my opponent duck hooks his first tee shot left, across our fairway over to #9 of an adjacent nine. Between the two holes are trees, tall grass, just plain crap and jail. He's looking for his ball forever (my partner and I were on the right side of the fairway looking for HIS ball). After quite a few minutes, "Al" comes strolling down #9 and said to my partner (I thought) that he gave up and hit another ball. At that same time, a foursome coming up 9 yells to us and lo and behold, there's Al's ball on the opposite side of the adjacent fairway. So he hit it.

 

Now he never went anywhere and picked up that second ball (that I could see) and proceeded to make par on the first hole, a par 5. I kept my mouth shut, as I wasn't sure he hit a second ball or not. Though, after the round, I asked my partner and he said Al told him he had, but never went and picked it up.

 

My question then, is if he HAD played a second ball from nine fairway, isn't that ball now in play? No matter where or when or how his first ball is eventually found, he's declared that ball lost and put a second ball in play, correct? I was so befuddled that a golfer with his experience didn't know the rules. But then again, I never said anything to him on the course, so probably my fault too.

 

What was Al's real score on that hole? Should I have asked him if he played a second ball and forced him to go back and play that one? He's 6-3, 250# and I'm not!

 

Opinions?

post #2 of 18

Him being 6'3" 250 is irrelevant.  From my recollection of rules and if I understand your story correctly... If "Al" dropped another ball (deeming the first one lost), the minute the ball hits the ground and stops within the 2 club lengths, that ball is officially in play.  If the originally ball is found later that is just too bad. 

 

I will add that since you did not say anything before the tee off on hole #2, you have no grounds to protest.  Regarding him not picking up the "second ball"  I am sure he knew the rule and was hoping that no one saw him hit it and just went about his way.  It being league play and all, he was attempting to cheat to win (assuming that he did hit the second ball)

 

If I missed or missunderstood part of the story please let me know.  

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

You know, that's what I thought. As limited as my understanding of ALL the idiocincricies of the rules of golf, I thought I understood that as soon as you place another ball in play, that ball is in play. The first one be dammed, it's a "declared" lost ball.

 

But the odd thing was, if he DID hit a second ball, why didn't he go pick it up (where ever it was, 'cause I didn't actually see him hit again)? Maybe he knew he f%^*&^cked up and didn't want to admit it??? I hope not, Al and I are co-workers and friends (sort of) and this is a friendly league.

 

Thanks for the response.

post #4 of 18

I think he should be DQ'd. There is no rule allowing you to drop where you think the ball was in the case of a lost ball. Your only option is to go back to the tee and hit 3 from there.

 

If he had hit the 2nd ball from the tee playing three that ball is in play unless he declared it a provisional and found the first ball within 5 minutes. Not sure what the penalty is if has correctly played a provisional that is then in play, but reverts to the original ball illegally.

post #5 of 18

did he declare the second ball a provisional? if so and IT WAS his first ball that he hit, no rule was breached... but he should have picked up his second ball for the common fact that he wasn't cheating...

 

I've actually had the opposite happen if you can believe this... I'll use a different number ball than the first ball if and when I have to play a provisional... I actually lost the provisional and found the first ball... ODD game isn't it!

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

I think he should be DQ'd. There is no rule allowing you to drop where you think the ball was in the case of a lost ball. Your only option is to go back to the tee and hit 3 from there.

 

If he had hit the 2nd ball from the tee playing three that ball is in play unless he declared it a provisional and found the first ball within 5 minutes. Not sure what the penalty is if has correctly played a provisional that is then in play, but reverts to the original ball illegally.

+1.

 

First issue is that he may have dropped because of a lost ball. By rule, that is not an option even though many play it as if it is allowed.

 

Secondly, if he thought his ball was in the "just plain crap" and that is played as a lateral water hazard, it is possible that the location of his drop was OK. But as said above, once he drops that ball, it is now the ball in play regardless of his first ball's new found status. Finding the first ball is good luck because it saves him the price of the ball -- not strokes.

post #7 of 18

If you play a stroke and are not sure where it is, you have 5 minutes to find it.  If you do not find it within 5 minutes the ball is lost.  (Definition of Lost Ball.)

 

Once a ball is lost, you must go back to where the ball was originally played from and play from there. Rule 27-1 and 20-5   If you, instead, drop a ball where the original was lost and play from there you have now played from a wrong place, a two stroke penalty under Rule 20-7. This is on top of the 1 stroke penalty for a lost ball.   Because this is a serious breach, (a significant advantage was gained by dropping and playing from where the original ball was lost instead of playing from the spot of the previous stroke), the player must correct the error.........(play from the previous spot).  Failure to do this is a disqualification penalty.

 

You can not declare a ball lost.  There are 5 ways a ball may be lost.

 

Not finding within a 5 minute search is one, another way is by dropping a second ball, or playing a re teed ball (without first declaring the second ball a provisional) .....regardless if you play the second ball in the correct place or not. Once you play a second ball without knowing the location of the first ball, the second becomes the ball in play and the original ball is now lost.  Doesn't matter if you then find your first ball within 5 minutes or not.  

 

Bottom line is when the player dropped a second ball and played it from the 9th fairway it was the ball in play.....and he has incurred a 3 stroke penalty.  Because this was a serious breach he must correct the error and replay his second ball from the spot where he hit his original.  Failure to do this DQ's the player. 

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Just to be clear, the league I am in has a "speed up rule" that if a ball not in a hazard is lost, you can drop from the spot where the ball was "lost" to save time going back to the original spot and slowing down the league. And no, he did not declare a provisional, as I understand today, he just dropped, having given up looking for the first ball.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

Just to be clear, the league I am in has a "speed up rule" that if a ball not in a hazard is lost, you can drop from the spot where the ball was "lost" to save time going back to the original spot and slowing down the league. And no, he did not declare a provisional, as I understand today, he just dropped, having given up looking for the first ball.

Seems like a strange rule. I mean if it might be lost outside of the hazard it doesn't take too long to hit a provisional. 

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

Just to be clear, the league I am in has a "speed up rule" that if a ball not in a hazard is lost, you can drop from the spot where the ball was "lost" to save time going back to the original spot and slowing down the league. And no, he did not declare a provisional, as I understand today, he just dropped, having given up looking for the first ball.

 

Since your league doesn't play by the rules, asking people about how the rules should work, in a situation where the rules aren't being used, really doesn't make any sense.

 

Does your league have anything against provisional balls?  And in a case like this, where the ball is lost - say on a tee shot - and another ball is dropped, what number shot is the next shot?  third?  fourth?  other?

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

Just to be clear, the league I am in has a "speed up rule" that if a ball not in a hazard is lost, you can drop from the spot where the ball was "lost" to save time going back to the original spot and slowing down the league. And no, he did not declare a provisional, as I understand today, he just dropped, having given up looking for the first ball.

Hi Mark,

 

Your league has "left the reservation" with regards to the rules.  At that point I think your best bet is talk to whoever runs the league or makes your course rules.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes, players in our league should always - and are encouraged to hit a provisional ball - if/when it MAY appear your first ball could be unplayable ... i.e. a hazard, crap that separates two fairways, whatever. We DO play by the rules, with the local club exception of hitting a second ball from the spot the first ball was lost without having to go back to the original spot (lateral penalty) to slow down league play after looking for five minutes.

 

In this particular case, my opponent elected (for whatever reasons) to go looking for his first ball even though on the tee I said, "Looks like that's in the crap, hit another?"

 

In my mind, this is how the hole WAS played by my opponent ... one off the tee, God knows where. Can't find the ball, dropped another, two, hitting three. Hit three. Players coming up nine find his first ball, he hits it, two shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball, lying 5. On, two putt, 8. He wrote down five.

 

It's no big deal; I know he was wrong for hitting the first ball after placing down another ball. I think my opponent knew he was wrong, too. Outside of losing the hole, I was more frustrated that in a "fun" league with work collegues where there's no playing for blood or strong competition between most of us, what was the sense of not being honest on the first hole?

post #13 of 18
Quote:

Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

 

In my mind, this is how the hole WAS played by my opponent ... one off the tee, God knows where. Can't find the ball, dropped another, two, hitting three. Hit three. Players coming up nine find his first ball, he hits it, two shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball, lying 5. On, two putt, 8. He wrote down five.

 

Assuming the only deviation from the Rules is the additional drop option for a lost ball, I don't think your analysis is correct. He should unquestionably be DQ.

 

Tee shot (one) lost. Penalty stroke (two) and stroke on new ball in play (three). Finding the original ball at this point is a wrong ball, so he incurs a two stroke penalty for making a stroke on it (five). Strokes on a wrong ball don't count for his score, so his ball in play is still lying five when he "holes out" the wrong ball. You can't do that, there is no score for a hole that was not holed out with the ball in play. It's a DQ unless he goes back and plays the correct ball.

post #14 of 18

As you say he was your opponent I assume it was Matchplay. In which case as soon as he hit the wring ball he lost the hole.

 

If he was not your opponent but a Fellow Competitor in stroke play he gets 2sp and must correct his error by playing the correct ball o/w he is DQd.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

Yes, players in our league should always - and are encouraged to hit a provisional ball - if/when it MAY appear your first ball could be unplayable ... i.e. a hazard, crap that separates two fairways, whatever. We DO play by the rules, with the local club exception of hitting a second ball from the spot the first ball was lost without having to go back to the original spot (lateral penalty) to slow down league play after looking for five minutes.

 

In this particular case, my opponent elected (for whatever reasons) to go looking for his first ball even though on the tee I said, "Looks like that's in the crap, hit another?"

 

In my mind, this is how the hole WAS played by my opponent ... one off the tee, God knows where. Can't find the ball, dropped another, two, hitting three. Hit three. Players coming up nine find his first ball, he hits it, two shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball, lying 5. On, two putt, 8. He wrote down five.

 

It's no big deal; I know he was wrong for hitting the first ball after placing down another ball. I think my opponent knew he was wrong, too. Outside of losing the hole, I was more frustrated that in a "fun" league with work collegues where there's no playing for blood or strong competition between most of us, what was the sense of not being honest on the first hole?


Sorry your league does NOT play by the rules because that kind of "local club exception" is NOT authorized by the rules.

 

As to your accounting:  He hit the first shot, then he dropped.  If we assume that the drop is intended to be the spot where his ball would have ended up if he had done the correct thing, i.e., gone back and hit another, than the dropped ball would lie 3, not 2 and he would be playing his 4th shot, not his 3rd shot.  If you have described the "accepted" way the "local club exception" is interpreted then the rule effectively halves the penalty for a lost ball.  It also means that anyone would be an idiot to hit a provisional since using the "local club exception" would save a shot - unless you also have a "local club exception" about lying 2, not 3, when the provisional becomes the ball in play.

 

Things get complicated when people/leagues start making up their own rules.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by umpiremark View Post

Just to be clear, the league I am in has a "speed up rule" that if a ball not in a hazard is lost, you can drop from the spot where the ball was "lost" to save time going back to the original spot and slowing down the league. And no, he did not declare a provisional, as I understand today, he just dropped, having given up looking for the first ball.

 

In that case there is no sense asking about it here because we can only answer according to the Rules of Golf.  Since your league plays by its own made up rules, you would have to find your solution elsewhere.

post #17 of 18

One of the reasons why a so-called club rule of 'drop another ball near where the first was lost' is unacceptable is that it takes away the risk of losing the next ball.  Playing again from the location of the previous stroke means the player faces the same challenges as when the first stroke was played, and rightly so.

post #18 of 18

I'll tell you the biggest problem with dropping a ball where the other one was lost. How do you know where it got lost, you can't find it?!

 

I have played golf with enough hacks to realize they ALWAYS search for their ball about 20-30 yards farther than it actually went. So I guarantee all these guys who take a penalty and drop a ball are dropping that ball well closer to the hole than it actually ever ever went. This is why the rules make you hit again from the original spot. If you lose a ball in a hazard you know where it went so you can take appropriate relief.

 

Personally I wouldn't play in a league that was so fast and loose with the rules. While an association can put into play certain "Local Rules" they cannot go completely against the spirit of the game. If that rule is not that important, how can you make people follow the rest of them?

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