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Is 3 Minutes Too Short to Search for a Ball?


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29 members have voted

  1. 1. Regarding the time to search for a ball under the Rules of Golf:

    • 3 minutes is the perfect amount of time.
      16
    • They should go back to 5 minutes.
      10
    • It should be even shorter than 3 minutes.
      3


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If anyone I play with ever starts complying with the old five-minute rule, let alone the three-minute rule, I'll let you know.

Sorry. Sore point for me.

I've been with some cats in the last few weeks where all we did was look for their ball. Had a wide-open (albeit scruffy) course and took 4 hours when it should have been no more than three.

 

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In my refereeing experience and that of colleagues discussing the change when it came, we all reckoned that in practice 'if a ball wasn't found in 3 minutes, it wouldn't be found'. Further, we found that most elite players would give up after 2.5 to 3 minutes and if we got as far as calling a time at or after 3 minutes, the player would immediately give up.

There were exceptions of course.

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12 hours ago, iacas said:

Yes, occasionally a ball is lost when it shouldn't be, but those situations are rare.

Not so rare when playing in the spring when the course is saturated and balls plug in the middle of the fairway 
Or in ruff that can not be maintained due to wetness and mowing can not be done.
I'm sure others courses have this situation when the ruff will grow pretty high and a player would have to damn near step on it to find it.

It's a tough call when two players have their tee shots plugged in the fairway and not visible.

Other situations would occur in the fall when a fairway is covered with leaves.
How can anyone control these situations with time limitations?

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So back to my question, what happens when a player fails to time a search? Is an estimate good enough? When I found my ball everyone agreed it was within the time constraints but nobody had a watch on it.  IE: "That's about 3 minutes, lost ball" or "Wow, I found it in the nick of time." 

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34 minutes ago, TourSpoon said:

So back to my question, what happens when a player fails to time a search? Is an estimate good enough? When I found my ball everyone agreed it was within the time constraints but nobody had a watch on it.  IE: "That's about 3 minutes, lost ball" or "Wow, I found it in the nick of time." 

I see two different issues in your scenario.  First, nobody timed the search, so you have no other choice than to utilize the information available to you, the estimates of time by yourself and the players in your group.

The second issue, everyone saw your ball fly into a GUR area, the tree.  Without being there I can't say for sure, but you could have grounds to conclude that it was Known or Virtually Certain that the ball was lost in the GUR area, and you would deserve free relief.  However, if you do conclude that the ball is lost in the GUR, and put another ball in play (by dropping it), that's the ball in play, even if you find your original within the 3-minute search period.

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I don't really care. There are times if I've hit the ball so far off line into the woods, I'll just reload with a S&D and not even bother looking. One of those situations where even if I found it, I wouldn't want to hit out of there.

And unless people are wearing watches or have their phones out timing it, it's a guesstimate anyway. Basically, look and don't take too long. I don't know many people who wear watches when they play.

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