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Unplayable Lie- How would you play this one?

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At any time, you may proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1.


Yes. The player is the sole judge as to when a ball is unplayable: the player just declares the ball unplayable and does not have to provide a justification of why.  At that point, one of the options to to re-hit from the location of the initial stroke (i.e. the stroke and distance provision of 27-1).  Note that the player can also declare the ball lost and put another one in play at any time (also under a stroke and distance penalty), and also without justification. This results in exactly the same outcome (e.g. hitting 3 of the tee).  What the player cannot do it have two balls in play and pick the one he/she likes best.

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But we discussed that the player's opponent can look for the lost ball, and if it is found, the player has to abandon the second ball and proceed with playing the original ball. That was why I was looking for the way out of that mess. See there is one course I play where that situation can happen. The ball goes into the woods, and there is no way you want to hit out of the woods because they're bad. Yes you can find your ball, but it would take perhaps a declaration of three unplayable lie drops to get to where you could hit a knockdown onto the fairway. That's why in that situation I wouldn't declare the ball lost. I'd declare it unplayable immediately and rehit.

This also happened to me once where I hit a long drive over a blind hill and flared it a little. I declared the ball lost and hit my third shot off the tee. My fourth shot I landed perfectly 3 feet from the hole. On the walk to the green someone found my original tee shot. It had gotten a good bounce and was about 50 yds from the green (I really clobbered it). I had to abandon my bogey, and hit my second shot which I promptly skulled over the green into the thick rough on the other side of the cart path with a 30 degree downhill lie and ended up with a triple bogey on the hole.

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From what i gather here, if you, Julia, had said nothing on the tee box and simply hit the second ball, then no problems could arise.  Except that after second swing, lying 3.

Possible also, as you say, that declaring first ball 'unplayable' (in fact, unseen) would also be fine.

I wonder if i would ever make such a call without searching.

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But we discussed that the player's opponent can look for the lost ball, and if it is found, the player has to abandon the second ball and proceed with playing the original ball. That was why I was looking for the way out of that mess. See there is one course I play where that situation can happen. The ball goes into the woods, and there is no way you want to hit out of the woods because they're bad. Yes you can find your ball, but it would take perhaps a declaration of three unplayable lie drops to get to where you could hit a knockdown onto the fairway. That's why in that situation I wouldn't declare the ball lost. I'd declare it unplayable immediately and rehit.

This also happened to me once where I hit a long drive over a blind hill and flared it a little. I declared the ball lost and hit my third shot off the tee. My fourth shot I landed perfectly 3 feet from the hole. On the walk to the green someone found my original tee shot. It had gotten a good bounce and was about 50 yds from the green (I really clobbered it). I had to abandon my bogey, and hit my second shot which I promptly skulled over the green into the thick rough on the other side of the cart path with a 30 degree downhill lie and ended up with a triple bogey on the hole.

It's simpler than you imagine. At any time, you may proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1. No declaration is necessary beyond, "Wait a minute, I going to hit another one."

Don't use the word "provisional" in the same sentence as "... I'm going to hit another one."

No declaration of unplayability is necessary to use R27-1.

NB A ball cannot become lost by declaration. (Once upon a time that was possible, but no longer.)

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From what i gather here, if you, Julia, had said nothing on the tee box and simply hit the second ball, then no problems could arise.  Except that after second swing, lying 3.

Possible also, as you say, that declaring first ball 'unplayable' (in fact, unseen) would also be fine.

I wonder if i would ever make such a call without searching.

If you hooked your shot and landed in the middle of this you might.

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But we discussed that the player's opponent can look for the lost ball, and if it is found, the player has to abandon the second ball and proceed with playing the original ball. That was why I was looking for the way out of that mess. See there is one course I play where that situation can happen. The ball goes into the woods, and there is no way you want to hit out of the woods because they're bad. Yes you can find your ball, but it would take perhaps a declaration of three unplayable lie drops to get to where you could hit a knockdown onto the fairway. That's why in that situation I wouldn't declare the ball lost. I'd declare it unplayable immediately and rehit.

This also happened to me once where I hit a long drive over a blind hill and flared it a little. I declared the ball lost and hit my third shot off the tee. My fourth shot I landed perfectly 3 feet from the hole. On the walk to the green someone found my original tee shot. It had gotten a good bounce and was about 50 yds from the green (I really clobbered it). I had to abandon my bogey, and hit my second shot which I promptly skulled over the green into the thick rough on the other side of the cart path with a 30 degree downhill lie and ended up with a triple bogey on the hole.

Just re-hit your drive without declaring a provisional and it becomes the ball in play, lying 3, no matter where your original ball ended up (well, technically if your original hall was in the hole for an ace you could not do that because the hole is already over).  No declaration of an unplayable needed.

If you go back and read (or reread) the thread stated by @billchao about hitting through the water hazard, that is a point we were making  He hit a drive that was a place he didn't want to be.  He declared a provisional and re-hit.  The problem was that he was not entitled to hit a provisional in that situation (there was no reason to think the ball was OB or lost outside a hazard) so that second ball became the ball in play, lying 3, immediately.  Even if he changed his mind and wanted to go play that first ball he could not.  In his case it turned out well because he wanted to play that second ball.  And he could.  But not for the reason he thought.

So he "accidentally" did what you wanted to do, but it is perfectly OK to do it "on purpose" as well.

On very rare occasions this can really bail you out.  Say you hit your tee shot on a par 3 and are 5 ft. away, but have an extreme downhill putt.  You stroke your putt a little too hard, it catches a ridge, rolls completely off the green and nestles right bewteen 2 gnarly roots, which would need either an unplayable lie drop, risk breaking a wrist, or playing away from the green.  Rule 27-1 to the rescue.  Instead of dealing with the place your ball ended up, simply invoke 27-1 and play your shot from the previous spot (i.e., 5 ft away from the hole) and it will be your 4th shot.  You can still possibly save a bogey and by being more careful with the putt at least save a double bogey.  In this strange case the distance part of stoke and distance is actually negative, since your previous spot was closer to the hole than your shot.

It would be a real kick if this actually happened.  I suspect some playing companions' heads might just explode,   But it is black-letter legal.

Because there are no hoops you have to jump through to invoke 27-1.  Anytime, anywhere.

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Thanks, that answers my question.

Having played this course 40 times, I know that there are places where the ball can go that the resulting lie after a drop can be worse than re-hitting. Sidehill lies with the ball below my feet are my worst - supposedly a "slice" lie I can find a way of hooking the crap out of them if the lie is more than a certain number of degrees because I lose balance. The safe shot is a chip up onto the fairway, which if the first shot didn't go very far to begin with is a waste of time. A rolled tee shot into the thick rough in front of the tee box is another one - re-tee and hit the third shot unless it's a short par 4.

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Did not Tiger Woods putt a ball that went past the hole and into the water?  He did as Turtleback advised and reputted from original spot. Google tells me this happened 2005 Masters first round 13th hole.

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Did not Tiger Woods putt a ball that went past the hole and into the water?  He did as Turtleback advised and reputted from original spot. Google tells me this happened 2005 Masters first round 13th hole.

Thanks for finding that.  I knew it had happened but couldn't remember when or the circumstances.

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Note: This thread is 1552 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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