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dv7834

Provisional, lateral water hazard

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I was playing in a qualifying round for interclub competition.  On one hole, my tee shot hit a tree that is in the right side of the fairway, after which the ball disappeared from my view.  I asked my fellow competitors if anyone saw my ball drop or go to the right into the red staked area (the red staked area does not contain any water... grrr.... but that's another issue).

None of the others saw the ball after it hit the tree.  My response was that in that case the ball may be lost and I should hit a provisional.  One of the fellow competitors said, "That's fine; however, if you hit a provisional but find your original ball in the lateral water hazard, then you must abandon the provisional and play the original ball as it lies. "

I agreed with him, but added that the rules allow for a number of one-stroke-penalty options when a ball lies in a lateral water hazard and that I have a right to exercise those options.  He countered that he read in the rules that hitting a provisional in this case would negate those options.

I was stunned.  We went back and forth on this.  Another of the fellow competitors sided with him but the other did not get involved.

I've never heard of such a rule, and I'm convinced it's nonsense.  For example, what if the red staked area actually contained water and my ball was in 3 feet of water?  According to my fellow competitor, I would be required to play it from that position had I hit a provisional!?!?!?!?

Anyway, the outcome, if anyone is curious, was that my 3 fellow competitors were in agreement that if the ball was not the fairway/rough then it must be in the lateral water hazard (a very faulty assumption in my opinion) and that I should simply take a two-club drop from the red stakes near the tree.  For the sake of harmony and moving the round along, I proceeded as they suggested.

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Originally Posted by dv7834

None of the others saw the ball after it hit the tree.  My response was that in that case the ball may be lost and I should hit a provisional.  One of the fellow competitors said, "That's fine; however, if you hit a provisional but find your original ball in the lateral water hazard, then you must abandon the provisional and play the original ball as it lies."

I agreed with him, but added that the rules allow for a number of one-stroke-penalty options when a ball lies in a lateral water hazard and that I have a right to exercise those options.  He countered that he read in the rules that hitting a provisional in this case would negate those options.

I've never heard of such a rule, and I'm convinced it's nonsense.

Anyway, the outcome, if anyone is curious, was that my 3 fellow competitors were in agreement that if the ball was not the fairway/rough then it must be in the lateral water hazard (a very faulty assumption in my opinion) and that I should simply take a two-club drop from the red stakes near the tree.  For the sake of harmony and moving the round along, I proceeded as they suggested.

The 'rule' is nonsense. Why didn't you ask him to show you the 'rule' in the book.

However, IMO, you could not know or be virtually certain that your ball was in the water hazard. Any mention of the word rough or hitting trees suggest that the ball may possibly be somewhere else. That is the clincher.

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What the guy should have said is that if you find your ball in the hazard you have to abandon it and play your other ball.
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Originally Posted by Shorty

What the guy should have said is that if you find your ball in the hazard you have to abandon it and play your other ball.

If you think your ball is in a hazard instead of lost or OB, you can not hit a provisional. Lost is a hazard is not lost.

If you have no idea if the ball is in the hazard and it may simply be lost, I don't know how you proceed regarding provisionals.

I'm pretty darn sure that if you find your original ball in a hazard, you do NOT have the option of playing your provisional. Best case, original ball is in play. Not sure if there are additional penalties because you hit a provisional when your ball was in a hazard.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

If you have no idea if the ball is in the hazard and it may simply be lost, I don't know how you proceed regarding provisionals.

You hit a provisional if you think the first one may not be in the hazard.

But if you find the original  it in the hazard, even if it is playable, too bad, your provisional becomes the one in play.

If you are sure your first one is in the hazard, the second one is not a provisional, it is the ball in play.

As I said, the fellow in the OP didn't know the rule, was confused and should have said you have to play the second ball, not the first one.

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This stuff makes me crazy.  Where do people learn the rules of golf.

This decision covers your scenario.

27-2a/2.2

Possibility That Original Ball Is in Water Hazard May Not Preclude Play of Provisional Ball

Q. Is it true that, if a player's original ball may have come to rest in a water hazard, the player is precluded from playing a provisional ball?

A. No. Even though the original ball may be in a water hazard, the player is entitled to play a provisional ball if the original ball might also be lost outside the water hazard or out of bounds. In such a case, if the original ball is found in the water hazard, the provisional ball must be abandoned - Rule 27-2c .

If it's know or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard then you can not play a provisional.  In your case it was not know or virtually certain.  It hit a tree and you don't know for sure where it ended up.  In this case your CAN PLAY A PROVISIONAL.  You now have 5 minutes to find your original ball.  If you don't find it, it's lost and you continue with your provisional adding a penalty stroke under 27-1.  If you find your original, your provisional is abandoned and you proceed with your original ball.  If the original is found to be in the hazard, you may proceed with any options under the Water Hazard Rule.

ARGH!!

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

This stuff makes me crazy.  Where do people learn the rules of golf.

This decision covers your scenario.

27-2a/2.2

Possibility That Original Ball Is in Water Hazard May Not Preclude Play of Provisional Ball

Q.Is it true that, if a player's original ball may have come to rest in a water hazard, the player is precluded from playing a provisional ball?

A.No. Even though the original ball may be in a water hazard, the player is entitled to play a provisional ball if the original ball might also be lost outside the water hazard or out of bounds. In such a case, if the original ball is found in the water hazard, the provisional ball must be abandoned - Rule 27-2c.

If it's know or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard then you can not play a provisional.  In your case it was not know or virtually certain.  It hit a tree and you don't know for sure where it ended up.  In this case your CAN PLAY A PROVISIONAL.  You now have 5 minutes to find your original ball.  If you don't find it, it's lost and you continue with your provisional adding a penalty stroke under 27-1.  If you find your original, your provisional is abandoned and you proceed with your original ball.  If the original is found to be in the hazard, you may proceed with any options under the Water Hazard Rule.

ARGH!!

So, even if the lost ball is likely to be lost in the hazard, but not virtually certainly lost in the hazard, you play it as a lost ball? Lots of shots are not virtually certain to be in the hazard until you get there and the ball is not found. If the rough is also thick, do you play it as a lost ball instead of the logical assumption that it made it into the hazard? That would make every ball that is not clearly in the hazard, a potential lost ball instead.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dormie1360

This stuff makes me crazy.  Where do people learn the rules of golf.

This decision covers your scenario.

27-2a/2.2

Possibility That Original Ball Is in Water Hazard May Not Preclude Play of Provisional Ball

Q.Is it true that, if a player's original ball may have come to rest in a water hazard, the player is precluded from playing a provisional ball?

A.No. Even though the original ball may be in a water hazard, the player is entitled to play a provisional ball if the original ball might also be lost outside the water hazard or out of bounds. In such a case, if the original ball is found in the water hazard, the provisional ball must be abandoned - Rule 27-2c.

If it's know or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard then you can not play a provisional.  In your case it was not know or virtually certain.  It hit a tree and you don't know for sure where it ended up.  In this case your CAN PLAY A PROVISIONAL.  You now have 5 minutes to find your original ball.  If you don't find it, it's lost and you continue with your provisional adding a penalty stroke under 27-1.  If you find your original, your provisional is abandoned and you proceed with your original ball.  If the original is found to be in the hazard, you may proceed with any options under the Water Hazard Rule.

ARGH!!

So, even if the lost ball is likely to be lost in the hazard, but not virtually certainly lost in the hazard, you play it as a lost ball? Lots of shots are not virtually certain to be in the hazard until you get there and the ball is not found. If the rough is also thick, do you play it as a lost ball instead of the logical assumption that it made it into the hazard? That would make every ball that is not clearly in the hazard, a potential lost ball instead.

LOL - there are no grey areas in the rule book!!! Unless you see a splash, play a provisional.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

So, even if the lost ball is likely to be lost in the hazard, but not virtually certainly lost in the hazard, you play it as a lost ball? Lots of shots are not virtually certain to be in the hazard until you get there and the ball is not found. If the rough is also thick, do you play it as a lost ball instead of the logical assumption that it made it into the hazard? That would make every ball that is not clearly in the hazard, a potential lost ball instead.

Hi Rusty,

You understand the rule correctly!  I should add good luck convincing your buddies they need to play the ball as lost.  You may want to print out these two decisions to keep the fights to a minimum.

26-1/1

Meaning of "Known or Virtually Certain"

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1 , it must be "known or virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard. In the absence of "knowledge or virtual certainty" that it lies in a water hazard, a ball that cannot be found must be considered lost somewhere other than in a water hazard and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1 .

When a player's ball cannot be found, "knowledge" may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

In the absence of "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, Rule 26-1 requires there to be "virtual certainty" that the player's ball is in the water hazard in order to proceed under this Rule. Unlike "knowledge," "virtual certainty" implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, "virtual certainty" also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.

In determining whether "virtual certainty" exists, some of the relevant factors in the area of the water hazard to be considered include topography, turf conditions, grass heights, visibility, weather conditions and the proximity of trees, bushes and abnormal ground conditions.

The same principles would apply for a ball that may have been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1 ) or a ball that has not been found and may be in an obstruction (Rule 24-3 ) or an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c ).  (Revised)

26-1/1.3

When is it Necessary to Go Forward to Establish "Virtual Certainty"?

Q. Rule 26-1 requires there to be "knowledge or virtual certainty" before proceeding under the provisions of the Rule. In the absence of "knowledge" that a ball is in a water hazard, is it possible to establish the existence of "virtual certainty" without going forward to assess the physical conditions around the water hazard?

A. In the majority of cases, in order for it to be reasonably concluded that the ball does not lie anywhere outside the water hazard, it is necessary to go forward to assess the physical conditions around the hazard. However, there are situations where there will be sufficient evidence that the ball is in the hazard to establish "virtual certainty" without anyone having to go forward to review the physical conditions around the hazard.

In the following examples, the conclusion that it is "virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard would be justified without anyone going forward to the water hazard so that the player would be entitled to proceed under the provisions of Rule 26-1 .

· It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard, which has closely mown grass extending right up to its margin. The ball is observed to fall out of sight as it approaches the water hazard but is not seen actually to enter it. From a distance, it can be seen that there is no golf ball lying on the closely mown grass outside the hazard and, from both prior experience and a reasonable evaluation of current course conditions, it is known that the contour of the ground surrounding the hazard causes balls to enter the hazard. In such circumstances, it is reasonable for the conclusion to be reached from a distance that the ball must be in the water hazard.

· It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards an island putting green. The margin of the water hazard coincides with the apron of the putting green. Both from prior experience and a reasonable evaluation of current course conditions, it is understood that any ball that comes to rest on the apron or the putting green will be visible from where the stroke was made. In this instance, the ball is observed to land on the putting green and roll out of sight. It is therefore concluded that the ball has carried over the green and into the water hazard. The player drops a ball in a dropping zone in front of the hazard, which has been provided by the Committee as an additional option to those under Rule 26-1 , and plays to the green. When he arrives at the putting green, he discovers his original ball on the back apron of the green lying on a sunken sprinkler head. Nonetheless, in the circumstances, it was reasonable for the conclusion to be reached from where the ball was last played that the ball must be in the water hazard.

In the following example, it cannot be established that there is "virtual certainty" that the ball is in the water hazard without going forward to assess the area surrounding the hazard.

· It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard, which has closely mown grass extending right up to its margin. The ball is observed travelling in the direction of the water hazard and it is known from prior experience that, with normal turf conditions, the ball would undoubtedly go into the water hazard. However, on this day, the fairways are wet and therefore it is possible that the ball could have embedded in the fairway and thus might not be in the water hazard. (New)

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

This stuff makes me crazy.  Where do people learn the rules of golf.

I think that was a little over the top.....the rules can be complicated.

Sorry.

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This is a crazy situation.  Rules make sense but it's a bummer that even if, say, the rough isn't particularly thick and it would be quite hard to lose a ball in the vicinity of the tree that was hit unless it went in the hazard, if you hit a provisional you essentially cost yourself a stroke.

Am I interpreting that right?  My question is, does hitting the provisional or not sort of let you implicitly declare whether there's any reasonable chance the ball is lost outside the hazard?  IE, not hitting a provisional is like declaring that any reasonable observer would agree that if the ball isn't findable then it's in the hazard, and you can take a drop and a one stroke penalty and be hitting your 3rd shot.  Hitting a provisional is like declaring that it is reasonable to assume the ball could be lost outside the hazard, so unless you see your ball in the hazard, if you can't find the original ball you must declare it lost and hit your 4th shot from wherever your provisional landed.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

So, even if the lost ball is likely to be lost in the hazard, but not virtually certainly lost in the hazard, you play it as a lost ball? Lots of shots are not virtually certain to be in the hazard until you get there and the ball is not found. If the rough is also thick, do you play it as a lost ball instead of the logical assumption that it made it into the hazard? That would make every ball that is not clearly in the hazard, a potential lost ball instead.

Look at it another way.

If it at the time you hit the shot you believe it may be OOB or may be lost outside a WH then you may play a provisional.

If when you get there and the ball is found outside the WH you must play it.

If it is now known or virtually certain that it is in the WH you must take relief under the WH rule.

If there is any possibility that it is not in the WH but cannot be found then you continue with the provisional.

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

The 'rule' is nonsense. Why didn't you ask him to show you the 'rule' in the book.

However, IMO, you could not know or be virtually certain that your ball was in the water hazard. Any mention of the word rough or hitting trees suggest that the ball may possibly be somewhere else. That is the clincher

Yes, this was exactly what I thought.  I nor any of my FC's saw the ball enter the hazard after hitting the tree.  As far as I was concerned, the ball could have been anywhere.

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

This stuff makes me crazy.  Where do people learn the rules of golf.

This decision covers your scenario.

27-2a/2.2

Possibility That Original Ball Is in Water Hazard May Not Preclude Play of Provisional Ball

Q.Is it true that, if a player's original ball may have come to rest in a water hazard, the player is precluded from playing a provisional ball?

A.No. Even though the original ball may be in a water hazard, the player is entitled to play a provisional ball if the original ball might also be lost outside the water hazard or out of bounds. In such a case, if the original ball is found in the water hazard, the provisional ball must be abandoned - Rule 27-2c.

If it's know or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard then you can not play a provisional.  In your case it was not know or virtually certain.  It hit a tree and you don't know for sure where it ended up.  In this case your CAN PLAY A PROVISIONAL.  You now have 5 minutes to find your original ball.  If you don't find it, it's lost and you continue with your provisional adding a penalty stroke under 27-1.  If you find your original, your provisional is abandoned and you proceed with your original ball.  If the original is found to be in the hazard, you may proceed with any options under the Water Hazard Rule.

ARGH!!


This is exactly how I thought it should have been played.  Thanks.

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Originally Posted by mdl

This is a crazy situation.  Rules make sense but it's a bummer that even if, say, the rough isn't particularly thick and it would be quite hard to lose a ball in the vicinity of the tree that was hit unless it went in the hazard, if you hit a provisional you essentially cost yourself a stroke.

Am I interpreting that right?  My question is, does hitting the provisional or not sort of let you implicitly declare whether there's any reasonable chance the ball is lost outside the hazard?  IE, not hitting a provisional is like declaring that any reasonable observer would agree that if the ball isn't findable then it's in the hazard, and you can take a drop and a one stroke penalty and be hitting your 3rd shot.  Hitting a provisional is like declaring that it is reasonable to assume the ball could be lost outside the hazard, so unless you see your ball in the hazard, if you can't find the original ball you must declare it lost and hit your 4th shot from wherever your provisional landed.

You are correct in that if you hit a provisional you are saying that it's not known or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard.  So.....if you don't find the original it's a lost ball.  Having said that, in casual games, I don't know if too many people use KVC (Known or Virtually Certain) when applying the hazard rule.  Most people have never heard of KVC.

We've got a hole at our club with a creek running along the left side of the fairway.  The creek is lined with huge rocks on both sides.  To the left of the creek is OB.  If you pull your drive left into the creek, it hits the rocks and can go any where.  The ball can stay in the creek, ricochet in the fairway, or ricochet out of bounds.  Under the rules, unless you see where the ball went, you would have to play a provisional.  Then you would have to go and try and find the original.  No one plays this correctly........except me.   Even in tournaments at our club, guys always take a drop by the creek.

If you ever play in a tournament with officials, or with folks that know the rules.....KVC can come up.  In some of the tournaments that I play in, rules officials are purposely stationed by hazards where KVC can come up.  They can help in determining where a ball went.

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Originally Posted by Shorty

You hit a provisional if you think the first one may not be in the hazard.

But if you find the original  it in the hazard, even if it is playable, too bad, your provisional becomes the one in play.

If you are sure your first one is in the hazard, the second one is not a provisional, it is the ball in play.

As I said, the fellow in the OP didn't know the rule, was confused and should have said you have to play the second ball, not the first one.

That part I bolded completely lost me.  I thought it was the other way around.  Since a provisional can only be in play in the event of a lost or OOB ball, if you find the original in the hazard you are precluded from playing the provisional, no?

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Originally Posted by turtleback

That part I bolded completely lost me.  I thought it was the other way around.  Since a provisional can only be in play in the event of a lost or OOB ball, if you find the original in the hazard you are precluded from playing the provisional, no?

There are two separate points in time when the final resting place of the original has to be considered.

1) When you hit it and before you leave the tee.

If you believe it may be OOB or may be lost outside a WH, Then you may play a provisional.

2) When you get to where the ball may be.

If you find it outside the WH then you must play it

If it is known or virtually certain to be in the WH then you must play under the WH rule.

If you can't find it, you must play the provisional.

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

You are correct in that if you hit a provisional you are saying that it's not known or virtually certain that your ball is in the hazard.  So.....if you don't find the original it's a lost ball.  Having said that, in casual games, I don't know if too many people use KVC (Known or Virtually Certain) when applying the hazard rule.  Most people have never heard of KVC.

We've got a hole at our club with a creek running along the left side of the fairway.  The creek is lined with huge rocks on both sides.  To the left of the creek is OB.  If you pull your drive left into the creek, it hits the rocks and can go any where.  The ball can stay in the creek, ricochet in the fairway, or ricochet out of bounds.  Under the rules, unless you see where the ball went, you would have to play a provisional.  Then you would have to go and try and find the original.  No one plays this correctly........except me.   Even in tournaments at our club, guys always take a drop by the creek.

If you ever play in a tournament with officials, or with folks that know the rules.....KVC can come up.  In some of the tournaments that I play in, rules officials are purposely stationed by hazards where KVC can come up.  They can help in determining where a ball went.

Thanks for the answer.  So you should basically should never take a provisional on a ball that's probably in a hazard but might be lost or OB. Just note to everyone in your group it's "virtually certain" the ball's in the hazard and voila, don't give up distance!

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