Originally Posted by Lihu
USGA Rule 27-2 is the applicable rule allowing that a player may play a provisional ball until he reaches the place where the original ball is likely to be. If he plays a stroke with the provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place, the original ball is deemed to be lost and the provisional ball becomes the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.
There is no limit to the number of provisional balls hit, nor is there a statement about the condition of the first ball as long as it is not closer to the hole than the first ball.
There certainly is. Both the definition of a "Provisional Ball" and Rule 27-2 itself both specify that a provisional is only allowed in those instances where there is a reasonable possibility that the original ball is lost outside of a water hazard or is out of bounds.
A “provisional ball’’ is a ball played under Rule 27-2 for a ball that may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds.
27-2. Provisional Ball
If a ball may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds, to save time the player may play another ball provisionally in accordance with Rule 27-
Originally Posted by JPK1988
Haha seems a little questionable but if you say so! I just think it'd be hard to convince your playing partners, "Yea it's in the middle of the fairway, but I caught it a little thin, let me take a provisional and see if I can work it out and flush one."
Sorry, that's more than just a "little questionable".....
You can't simply hit balls for practice without having a reasonable possibility that the original ball is either lost, outside of a water hazard, or out of bounds.
Decision 27-2a/3 pertains.
Play of Provisional Ball in Absence of Reasonable Possibility Original Ball Is Lost or Out of Bounds
Q.In the absence of reasonable possibility that a ball is lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, may the player play a provisional ball?
A.No. If a player plays a ball under such circumstances, the ball is not a provisional ball but the ball in play – see Decision 27-2a/2.