Originally Posted by iacas
If you're going to tell me I'm wrong, at least be right yourself. You are not. A ball is really "lost" under the Rules, and it's right there in the definitions. A ball is deemed "lost" when one of five things occurs.
The Rules of Golf are not metaphysical. They do not ask if a golf ball that's never searched for is truly lost. They clearly define things, and "lost ball" is one of them. In both of your cases, you made the ball "lost" by way of part b of the definition.
Again, the Rules of Golf tend not to let you have two balls in play at any given moment.
I've played several shots from within the boundaries of a water hazard. You're suggesting the Rules of Golf should be amended so that players who believe the ball is in a hazard - but aren't virtually certain - be allowed to hit a provisional but in doing so deprive themselves of the option to play the ball from a good lie they may get inside the boundaries of the hazard OR within two clublengths (laterals) or on a line back from the last crossed point and the flag OR from a drop zone if one is available to them?
I don't know of anyone that would do that. Even if your ball is in a lousy lie near the edge of the hazard all you have to do is pop it out a yard and hit your third and you'd still be well ahead of the place your provisional would have gone in 99% of cases. So why would anyone forego the options for a ball they didn't see splash down or something? Your solution would almost never be used.
For the first part, you seem to be really splitting hairs and I don`t really see your point.
As far as players never or rarely using a provisional drop (and forfeiting other options), I think this would be done a lot more than you think at some golf course but rarely used at others. Like I said, a guy I played with did this 2 or 3 times last week when I played with him. To be clear, my idea of a provisional WH drop would allow a player to not only re-hit from the original spot, but more commonly drop behind (or within 2 club lengths) of their entry point of the hazard (when this is behind where their ball may have carried out of the hazard).
Yes, the player would be voluntarily giving up the option of playing out of the hazard should they later find their ball within the hazard but this is really a non-issue for ESAs (which the courses I play in Summit County, CO have a lot of, so maybe I am biased) or for lakes with no/little dry land/shallow water to play from (but which are partially blind so you can`t see your ball splash). If it is likely that you could play from the hazard, then yes, I would suspect that most serious players would NOT take advantage of the provisional drop option and will proceed under the current rules and walk to the green side of the hazard and look for their ball before returning to their entry point and taking a drop if they don`t find/play their original.
The benefit of allowing a provisional drop is the same as allowing a provisional ball to be played with potential OOBs/LBs- it helps to speed up play. Just like with OOB/LB provisionals, the player can`t choose which ball to play- if the original is found outside the hazard/in bounds, then it MUST be played and if the original is in the hazard/OOB, then the provisional MUST be played.
Assuming that a WH provisional was only utilized 10% of the time, what would be the harm in allowing it?