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jfrain2004

Declaring a lost ball and then finding it in the hole?

15 posts in this topic

Had the pleasure last sunday of dropping a 140 yarder into the hole.  Unfortunately I didn't get to see it on it's way.  Anyways what I was wondered was the following.

I played my approach from behind a hill and none of my playing buddies had a view of the green.  I caught her well but figured it would not have carried the rough that was on my line.  Got down to the green and rooted around for a few mins before I was just about to make the trek back to rehit when one of the other guys spotted my ball in the hole.  Happy days.  However,  what would have happened if I had declared a lost ball and then rehit and didn't find my original ball till one or 2 shots later?  is my ball in the hole then out of play and not counted?

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I'd think if your ball was in the hole unbeknownst to you, the hole is finished and thus your provisional doesn't mean anything....but i'm sure other people will have other thoughts

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Rest assured that the moment your original ball ended up in the cup the hole was over and no further strokes would count regardless of what you declared.....

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That's correct I believe.  The rule is once the ball is holed play on that hole is completed for the hole and the ball isn't in play (e.g. can't be lost or abandoned).

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Nope, as soon as you put down that 2nd ball, that ball is in play.

"If a ball is lost as a result of not being found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's Side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5 )."

I presume that counts for checking the hole. If you didn't check the hole with in 5 minutes, and you throw down a ball close to were you originally hit your last shot, and proceed to hit that shot, you lost the first ball.

Defenition of a lost ball,

" Lost Ball
A ball is deemed "lost" if:

a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

b. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b ); or

c. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a ); or

d. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (see Rule 18 -1), is in an obstruction (see Rule 24-3 ), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c ) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1 ); or

e. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball."

There is nothing in there about, if your ball has been holed. If you throw down a ball, then that ball is now in play. You must recognize that you have holed out for it to count.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Nope, as soon as you put down that 2nd ball, that ball is in play.

"If a ball is lost as a result of not being found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's Side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5)."

I presume that counts for checking the hole. If you didn't check the hole with in 5 minutes, and you throw down a ball close to were you originally hit your last shot, and proceed to hit that shot, you lost the first ball.

Defenition of a lost ball,

"Lost Ball

A ball is deemed "lost" if:

a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

b. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b); or

c. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a); or

d. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (see Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction (see Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1); or

e. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball."

There is nothing in there about, if your ball has been holed. If you throw down a ball, then that ball is now in play. You must recognize that you have holed out for it to count.


Read Decision 1-1/2:

1-1/2  Player Unaware He Has Holed Out Puts Another Ball into Play

Q. A player, unable to find his ball, puts another ball into play. He then discovers that his original ball is in the hole. What is the ruling?

A. The score with the original ball counts. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed that ball.

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Well that was my original guess was that once you declare a lost ball,  hit your replacement ball then it does not matter if you find the original ball or not.  It's the kind of problem I would like to have a lot more of but I can't see it happen again for the rest of my golfing career :)

Interesting that the majority of answers here contradicted the offical rule saevel25 listed. I wonder how many times have people declared a lost ball,  hit their replacement ball and then find their original ball 50 yrds further up the fairway and say "great,  found my ball,  that 2nd ball I hit doesn't count anymore"

I know you can hit a provisional even before you start to look for your first ball ( which is the normal way to do it ) but from once you declare the original ball lost then it is lost.

Update: Just saw the last post there,  good to know that you wouldn't have to stroke off the shot of a career because of some silly lost ball rule :)

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Originally Posted by jfrain2004

Well that was my original guess was that once you declare a lost ball,  hit your replacement ball then it does not matter if you find the original ball or not.  It's the kind of problem I would like to have a lot more of but I can't see it happen again for the rest of my golfing career :)

Interesting that the majority of answers here contradicted the offical rule saevel25 listed. I wonder how many times have people declared a lost ball,  hit their replacement ball and then find their original ball 50 yrds further up the fairway and say "great,  found my ball,  that 2nd ball I hit doesn't count anymore"

I know you can hit a provisional even before you start to look for your first ball ( which is the normal way to do it ) but from once you declare the original ball lost then it is lost.


Just a small point here, but you can never "declare a ball lost". Note how the rule above says deemed not declared and that the player declaring a ball lost is not one of the ways in which it can be deemed lost.

So if you're searching for your ball and tell your playing partners "ah don't worry guys I'm calling that one lost" but while you're heading back to hit another one someone finds your first ball (as long as it's within the 5 minute search period) then your original ball is still in play despite you declaring it lost.

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Good call, nice to see the rule book is easy to understand. ;b, i retrack my previous opinion...

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I stand by my post as we are talking about holing out here not declaring a ball lost or hitting a provisional.....

In plain terms the minute the ball goes in the hole that hole IS OVER.... you cannot score any further strokes on that hole regardless of what you do..

The fact you were not aware that the ball went in the hole has nothing to do with it....

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This thread is a perfect example of how playing with somebody with just a little knowledge or "opinions" of the rules of golf can be not only scary but detrimental to your score. This is an old scenario and very straightforward rules situation. So please people like Saevel25, don't just make stuff up about the rules and try to pass them off as fact. It only hurts people. Before this thread came up I can just picture Saevel25's playing partner arguing with him on the course about his hole and one and he's going on and on about the 5 minute lost ball rule. (don't mean to attack you, but I get very tired of people offering their "opinions" about the tules of golf.  So please for the rest of us, if you don't know the rule in question for a fact then zip it on or off of the course.

P.S.  if you want to get a very good understanding of the rules them study the decision book not the rules of golf book.

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thanks for throwing me under the bus there Johnny, i am be you aren't a saint or haven't made a wrong assumption before in your life. Look in the mirror before judging dude. There you go assuming as well that i would be arguing on the golf course. No i wouldn't because i look in the hole if the ball comes close to that direction, i always haved and always will. Its one of the first things i always do to make sure to rule that option out. So find another person to lay that judgement on. Yes i don't know the small details of the rule book, or the wierd situations. I can tell you, i have played over 50 different courses in my life, and hundreds of rounds, i have never had wierd situations come up to challenge the knowledge of what i know. We all know what we learned, you might have more experience with wierd calls, i just learned something. All i can say is get off your high horse.

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Listen, this has nothing to do with being on a high horse or throwing you under the bus.  I'm trying to help you and make a point. Yes I have been wrong before and I learned the hard way about this, I'm trying to help you so you learn the easy way (on a forum and not on the course)  Years ago I thought I knew the rules. I read the rule book many times over and didn't even know a decision book existed.  I, in all my wisdom insisted to a playing partner on a rule. I was wrong and by my being wrong it cost him a tournament.  I then went home felt bad about (still do) and re-read the rules book, found about the decision book- read that a thousand times and signed up for about 5 USGA rules seminars.  I now have a fairly decent grasp of the rules yet still know when to zip it if I'm not 100% certain on the rule.

My point about your post is that you posted it as fact.  In fact here is your first line "Nope, as soon as you put down that 2nd ball, that ball is in play."  You sound pretty darn sure of yourself in that line. You even cut and pasted rules etc... Even though you had two guys post ahead of you with the correct ruling.  When it comes to the rules of golf there are no opinions.  It's all fact.  Either you know the rule or you don't.  and my point is if you don't or are unsure it is wise to say you are not sure and take it up with the committee.  In stroke play you have the option to play another ball but in match play the call has to be made right then and there, even if you can't get a committe member out quick enough to help.

If a person is asking a rules quesiton on this forum or any other one, it does him no good to have people answering with opinions or "i think" or I assume".......or worse guys answering as fact when in fact they are wrong. If you know for a fact the answer then post it.  If you don't then don't even bother to respond with the ruling, b.c it does them or nobody else any good. 't. If you''t't

My point was not to try and throw you under the bus but to help you and others by my mistakes.  It's a bad feeling to give someone a ruling because you think you know the rules well only to find out you were wrong.  And I'm sorry to say you would be arguing with anybody, I don't know that to be a fact. I guess what I do know in that situation, according to your post, you would have at least been trying to say the second ball is the one in play and the score that counts. My appologies for being to blunt, rude, direct etc... didn't mean it that way.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Yes i don't know the small details of the rule book, or the wierd situations. I can tell you, i have played over 50 different courses in my life, and hundreds of rounds, i have never had wierd situations come up to challenge the knowledge of what i know.



If you know that you don't know the rules in unusual situations it would probably be better to refrain from making definitive rules statements about unusual situations.

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