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mburton

provisional ball and help with "dropping"

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i've got two seperate questions here, i'm trying to really play by the rules now and i'm a little unclear on a few things.

1. in regards to a provisional ball off the tee, as i understand it if you hit a ball that you think could be difficult to find you hit a provisional in case you can't locate the first one.  so if you DO find your first ball you just play it and pick up your provisional with no stroke penalty correct? and if you DON'T find your first ball you play the provisional except you'd be hitting 3 correct?

2. second question is in regards to taking a drop, ran into this situation last week and i wasn't sure how to proceed.  i hit my second shot from the fairway on a par 5 and hooked it pretty bad but thought i'd be able to find it. well i was wrong and couldn't, so where do i take a drop from? i just dropped from where i thought the ball went OB at, but that doesn't seem right to me.

thanks for any help!!

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1) Correct

2) You are supposed to go back to where you played the ball from and hit another plus take a penalty. In social rounds if I lose a ball unexpectedly such as you did then I will drop by the loss area and take a 2 shot penalty, just to keep the speed of play up. Worth checking with your playing partners that they are happy with this approach though since it is a rule breach.

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1. in regards to a provisional ball off the tee, as i understand it if you hit a ball that you think could be difficult to find you hit a provisional in case you can't locate the first one.  so if you DO find your first ball you just play it and pick up your provisional with no stroke penalty correct? and if you DON'T find your first ball you play the provisional except you'd be hitting 3 correct?

Correct.

2. second question is in regards to taking a drop, ran into this situation last week and i wasn't sure how to proceed.  i hit my second shot from the fairway on a par 5 and hooked it pretty bad but thought i'd be able to find it. well i was wrong and couldn't, so where do i take a drop from? i just dropped from where i thought the ball went OB at, but that doesn't seem right to me.

You would have to go back and hit another ball from where you last hit, with a penalty of one stroke, so you would be hitting 4 in this case.

EDIT: Ninja'd by Dinoma :-(

EDIT 2: I remember #2 happening fairly often in high school, and it was kind of a pain in the ass since it usually happened on a drive, so we'd be way out past the tee box, having already looked for the ball for a few minutes, before the person had to go re-tee. Like Dinoma said, though, in a casual round I'd probably just tell you to drop where you think it went out, unless we were playing for money, of course!

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thanks for the help guys!  it didn't seem right to just guestimate where to drop from, so it makes a lot more sense now.

is it bad etiquette to do this on a busy course? (backtracking to the original spot)

also it just occured to me, if its a questionable hit i should just hit a provisional right? for some reason i had it in my head that those were only for tee shots, but surely you can take them in the situation i had right?

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thanks for the help guys!  it didn't seem right to just guestimate where to drop from, so it makes a lot more sense now.

is it bad etiquette to do this on a busy course? (backtracking to the original spot)

also it just occured to me, if its a questionable hit i should just hit a provisional right? for some reason i had it in my head that those were only for tee shots, but surely you can take them in the situation i had right?

As far as etiquette goes, I don't think it'd bother me as long as it was a one-time thing. If it happened repeatedly, I'd probably get a little ticked, but if you're in a cart it would only take a minute so I don't see the big deal if it only happened once. It's a good idea to hit a provisional for that reason - it saves time. Here's what the Rules of Golf says about provisionals: http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rule-27/#27-2

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ok great, i'm pretty clear on everything now, thanks again!

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No problem! I forgot to mention that provisionals do not only apply to tee shots, but it sounds like you realized that. Provisionals really exist just to save time, so when in doubt, play a provisional!

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i've got two seperate questions here, i'm trying to really play by the rules now and i'm a little unclear on a few things.

1. in regards to a provisional ball off the tee, as i understand it if you hit a ball that you think could be difficult to find you hit a provisional in case you can't locate the first one.  so if you DO find your first ball you just play it and pick up your provisional with no stroke penalty correct? and if you DON'T find your first ball you play the provisional except you'd be hitting 3 correct?

1) Correct

Close, but not quite, just to clarify, @Grndslmhttr3 is correct.....

If you have to play your provisional, you'd be hitting your 4th shot, not your 3d.  The penalty for a lost (or OB) ball is stroke and distance, so the provisional itself was your 3d.

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i've got two seperate questions here, i'm trying to really play by the rules now and i'm a little unclear on a few things.

1. in regards to a provisional ball off the tee, as i understand it if you hit a ball that you think could be difficult to find you hit a provisional in case you can't locate the first one.  so if you DO find your first ball you just play it and pick up your provisional with no stroke penalty correct? and if you DON'T find your first ball you play the provisional except you'd be hitting 3 correct?

2. second question is in regards to taking a drop, ran into this situation last week and i wasn't sure how to proceed.  i hit my second shot from the fairway on a par 5 and hooked it pretty bad but thought i'd be able to find it. well i was wrong and couldn't, so where do i take a drop from? i just dropped from where i thought the ball went OB at, but that doesn't seem right to me.

thanks for any help!!

From the tee your provisional will be lying 3. If you do not find your first ball, then you play the provisional and will be hitting 4.

Edit: I type too slow. David in FL already explained it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mburton View Post

thanks for the help guys!  it didn't seem right to just guestimate where to drop from, so it makes a lot more sense now.

is it bad etiquette to do this on a busy course? (backtracking to the original spot)

also it just occured to me, if its a questionable hit i should just hit a provisional right? for some reason i had it in my head that those were only for tee shots, but surely you can take them in the situation i had right?

1) In a casual round on a busy course, it would probably not make you any friends to return to the previous spot while making them wait on you.  Most casual golfers don't know the rule, and don't have any sympathy for someone who tries to play by the rules if they are inconvenienced by it.  In a competition, it doesn't matter how busy the course is.  If you make a serious breach like dropping 200 yards closer to the hole than the rules allow, you would be disqualified.

2)  Yes.  This is the reason that the provisional ball rule was added.  It's designed to allow the player to play by the rules while also saving time by not having to return to the previous spot.  One thing to keep in mind - if you play a provisional ball, then find your original ball in bounds, the provisional ball is abandoned.  No exceptions, even if the original ball is unplayable.  In that case, you are back to making the decision whether the situation dictates dropping where you can play from or returning to the previous spot.

When I am forced by circumstances to drop incorrectly, I add 2 strokes to make up for the stroke and distance penalty that I failed to implement correctly.  It's not a perfect solution by any means, but it's closer than just adding a single penalty stroke, and it works when playing with friends for a wager of some sort.  However, If I have any idea that the ball may not be in a playable situation, I always play a provisional ball.  If I'm fairly certain that the ball will not be playable even if found, then I just play the second ball under stroke and distance without declaring it to be a provisional.  I may not even bother to look for the original ball.

The USGA rules for handicap posting allow you to play some holes improperly and still return the score for handicap, as long as at least 13 holes are played by the rules, but I prefer to not have to use that provision.  From the USGA  Handicap Manual:

Quote:

4-2. Holes Not Played or Not Played Under The Principles of The Rules of Golf

If a player does not play a hole or plays it other than under the principles of the Rules of Golf (except for preferred lies ), the score recorded for that hole for handicap purposes must be par plus any handicap strokes the player is entitled to receive on that hole. This hole score, when recorded, should be preceded by an "X."

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is it bad etiquette to do this on a busy course? (backtracking to the original spot)

It would be poor etiquette not to play a provisional. That's what provisionals are for.

If in any doubt always play a provisional and make sure your fellow competitors do also.

There is no doubt then about the legitimacy of your (and their) handicaps.

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Close, but not quite, just to clarify, @Grndslmhttr3 is correct..... If you have to play your provisional, you'd be hitting your 4th shot, not your 3d.  The penalty for a lost (or OB) ball is stroke and distance, so the provisional itself was your 3d.

It's funny, I got the answer right the second time but wrong the first time. Shows what I get for posting on forums at 5am; I probably had lying 3 confused with hitting 3 or only read the first part of the question or something silly like that.

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It would be poor etiquette not to play a provisional. That's what provisionals are for.

If in any doubt always play a provisional and make sure your fellow competitors do also.

There is no doubt then about the legitimacy of your (and their) handicaps.

+1.

I could add that a player coming back should not be perceived as a mistake. He could have played a provisional but found his ball unplayable with no other drop option than playing over the shot.

Also balls get lost even by surprise even on the fairway (plug). It's not always obvious to play a provisional.

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