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Assumed Lost Ball in Water Hazard


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A situation occurred today that we never experienced before.  One of the fellows that I was playing with, hit a low approach shot (approx. 185 yds out) to a green that had water along the left side. He was on the left side of fairway, while myself and another player were on the right side. We didn't see his shot (one of the dis-advantages of playing ready golf), and he himself lost site of it inflight. He couldn't find it anywhere on/around the greed, so he assumed it went in the lateral water hazard. He took a penalty shoot, dropped another ball where he guessed it went in, and played that ball several times more. When he got near the hole, he discovered his original ball was in the hole!!!!

The other player said since he declared his first ball lost, took a penalty stoke and played the second one several times more, that the original ball was no longer in play, and the eagle did not count! Was this the correct ruling? If so, seems to be a cruel rule.

Hope someone can shed more light on this situation, thanks

Sarge

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As Bill says, once the original is holed, the hole is over for that player.  Anything else that the player does is immaterial, for the most part.  I think its possible that the player could do something to get the General Penalty, such as giving advice, assuming his opponent still has a chance to tie.  If the opponent cannot tie, the hole is over.  Check rule 6.5.

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Be aware that this player had no idea that his ball was in the hole so he had no clue where it was. He was searching for it on the green. For this reason he was mistaken in assuming it was in the water.

You can only assume that the ball was in the penalty area or (water hazard) if you are virtually certain it is. Pretty much meaning you saw it going in. In the description of events, the player was not at all certain, he just took a guess. Not the same thing.

The important thing here is that the ball was holed. Finding the ball in the hole is not the same as finding it 20 yards further up than you thought it was.

The ball was holed and it is an eagle. The hole is finished once the ball is in the hole.

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We battle something different but related. Our 8th tee has a pond that is hidden from the tee. If you've never played there, you'd never know it was there. It is only a few yards off the fairway so it is extremely common to have balls go in there.

image.png

The argument begins on where to drop. The line I drew here has the ball going in just right of the oak tree there. It is a very common line. However, once the ball goes in there because we couldn't see it go in, we are forced to use the drop area. Recently they have put the drop area almost at the start of the water. It now becomes an impossible shot to the green because of the trees. A drive 5 yards off the fairway is an immediate best case double.

image.png

If you drop on that corner where the ball went in you can get at most pin positions. Seems the rules are very punishing here because we could not verify where it went in.

P.S. I HATE THIS HOLE. (phew, there I feel better after getting that off my chest)

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10 minutes ago, mchepp said:

 

If you drop on that corner where the ball went in you can get at most pin positions. Seems the rules are very punishing here because we could not verify where it went in.

 

That's better than playing three off the tee which is really what should be happening. The club is being generous by letting people drop from a drop zone.

They probably started doing that to get around what some would think is a grey area in the rule and its interpretation.

The question that should be asked every time is. "How do you know it didn't bounce off one of the trees somewhere else in the rough and are you sure it isn't under a leaf somewhere?"

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2 minutes ago, Shorty said:

That's better than playing three off the tee which is really what should be happening. The club is being generous by letting people drop from a drop zone.

They probably started doing that to get around what some would think is a grey area in the rule and its interpretation.

The question that should be asked every time is. "How do you know it didn't bounce off one of the trees somewhere else in the rough and are you sure it isn't under a leaf somewhere?"

Interesting. So if there is no drop area we would need to re-tee?

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8 minutes ago, mchepp said:

Interesting. So if there is no drop area we would need to re-tee?

Absolutely, unless you see the ball going into the water. "Virtual certainty" implies that the ball couldn't possibly be anywhere else. I see lots of trees and rough in your photos.

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(edited)
12 hours ago, mchepp said:

Interesting. So if there is no drop area we would need to re-tee?

Not necessarily. Providing you have virtual certainty that the the ball is in the penalty area.

It depends on the colour of the markings. See Rule 17.1d https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=17

Yellow - you could go 'Back on the Line'. ie estimate the point where the ball last crossed into the margin of the penalty area. Take a line from the hole, through that point back as far as you wish within 1 cl of the line.

Red - as above or  'Lateral Relief' within 2cl of that point not nearer the hole

Edited by Rulesman
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3 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

Not necessarily. It depends on the colour of the markings. See Rule 17.1d https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=17

Yellow - you could go 'Back on the Line'. ie estimate the point where the ball last crossed into the margin of the penalty area. Take a line from the hole, through that point back as far as you wish within 1 cl of the line.

Red - as above or  'Lateral Relief' within 2cl of that point not nearer the hole

I think that @mchepp was considering a hole where you can't see exactly where the ball ends up.  @Shorty has suggested the player wouldn't be likely to be Virtually Certain that the ball ended up in the Penalty Area, it could be lost among the trees and rough along that side of the hole, and based on what I see from the photo I agree with him.  In that case, you would have to take stroke and distance relief.  Without Virtual Certainty, use of a drop area wouldn't be acceptable.

But we're a long ways off from the original topic, that of a ball holed without the player's knowledge.  Which brings me to an issue I mentioned earlier.  Even though the player has completed the hole, could he still lose the hole by getting the General Penalty for something like advice?  I'm assuming the Player is in for 2, as an example, and his Opponent is getting ready to hit his second shot, so the hole has not yet been decided.

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(edited)
2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Which brings me to an issue I mentioned earlier.  Even though the player has completed the hole, could he still lose the hole by getting the General Penalty for something like advice?  I'm assuming the Player is in for 2, as an example, and his Opponent is getting ready to hit his second shot, so the hole has not yet been decided.

Yes. General Penalty. Loss of Hole.

 

Edited by Rulesman
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