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Lost Ball Rule is Stupid


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IF you are not playing by the rules of golf then you are just hitting balls on a golf course.  Not playing golf.  

Are you saying you don't do both at the same time?? ;) The way I "unsubscribe" from threads after I lose interest is I just don't click on them anymore. :)

An old joke, that is strangely on topic here..... 2 guys are playing golf.  The first tees off and slices towards the woods.  His buddy says, that one's gone, you had better hit a provisiona

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Just FYI, I'm watching the replay of the first round of The Barclays on my DVR, and on several holes, there is practically nobody.  I'm sure on the weekend there will be thousands of people.

Does someone want to argue the pros should lobby the USGA to alter the lost ball rule for poorly attended tournaments?  Or should the pros be complaining to the PGA Tour that competing in any tournament with fewer than 10,000 spectators is inherently unfair?

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Looks like people want to play by rules, but "walk of shame" feels too bad for them so they would like to have rules changed. I understand that perfectly, but why do we have such an attitude that pace of play trumps everything? Even something which after a round of 18 holes counts as a minuscule amount of total time.

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@luu5 It's unfortunate but if weekend golfers did this across the country I think about 200 golf course fights would be on local news tomorrow. I would be perfectly fine with someone doing this. Actually, someone did this at the tournament I was in a few weeks ago and then proceeded to hit into the tall rough again and then just drop with would have probably resulted in a DQ. @phillyk
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I'm dizzy with following this thread in circles.

For golf played by the Rules,  Rule 27 -1 should only ever be considered in conjunction with Rule 27-2.  Three key words  - out of bounds, lost, and provisional.

Provisionals are often mentioned in these discussions, but seldom recognised by those advocating change as the way the Rules already address and remedy  the problem of stroke and distance being time-consuming .  In my experience, thoughtful players very seldom get caught out losing a ball without having played a provisional.  It happens, of course but I just do not hear of it being a significant problem in competitive golf or a factor in slow play.

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A brief history

The penalty for a lost ball is the same now as in the oldest written Rules of 1744

In the revised Leith code of 1775 , the rule was changed to stroke only, and a player dropped a ball where he judged the original was lost.

1839 Honourable Company adopted the 1829 St Andrews rules, and thus inherited the stroke and distance penalty.

1842 St Andrews changed to three strokes and distance!

1846 Rescinded.

1891 Separate procedures for match and stroke play. Stroke play, stroke and distance unchanged, match play a lost ball meant a lost hole

1920 Stroke and distance in both forms of play.

1950 R&A; changes penalty to distance only.

1952 Back to Stroke and distance.

1956 Ball may be declared lost by player. This option removed in 1964 .

1960 USGA Distance only. Rescinded 1961.

We are where we are after much trial and error.

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Mr Tufts tells us this about it.

Approximately the equivalent of the one stroke penalty without the loss of distance is the penalty of loss of distance only which was
experimented with in the early 1960’s by the USGA.

Here it is assumed that a lost ball or a ball out of bounds is a question of fact, wholly beyond the control of the player, and that since the player is therefore not in a
position to create an advantage to himself from the situation, a penalty of the loss of the stroke which he has played is no less than the advantage
which he might have derived. As was quickly discovered loss of distance only can sometimes be an advantage and not a penalty. It is, for
example, always better to play the next stroke from where the last one was played than to play from where it went, when the shanked ball goes
into the woods, the half topped approach over the green into deep rough or the too strong putt across the green into a bunker. With the penalty for
a lost ball reduced to distance only, a player can escape the results of a badly played stroke by immediately proceeding as if his ball were lost
despite the fact that it might be found easily. A penalty must serve to police the chance that by taking advantage of an inadequately protected
rule players will play a game wholly different from golf.

One of the great features of golf is that one stroke leads to the next and when it becomes easier to recover from adversity by use of the Rule book than a golf club,
the game loses its virtue.

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@luu5

It's unfortunate but if weekend golfers did this across the country I think about 200 golf course fights would be on local news tomorrow.

If weekend golfers did this, they would very soon learn to hit provisional and then picking up when above ESC or out of Stableford Points.

Slow players are slow, not because of S&D.;

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If weekend golfers did this, they would very soon learn to hit provisional and then picking up when above ESC or out of Stableford Points. Slow players are slow, not because of S&D.;

Is that all you read of my post?

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Is that all you read of my post?

Nope, but that was my response.

Perhaps I should have acknowledged your second paragraph but I did not.

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Nope, but that was my response.

Perhaps I should have acknowledged your second paragraph but I did not.

Management lesson from the Cuban Missile Crisis - President Kennedy responded to only those demands from Khrushchev that Kennedy chose to acknowledge, ignoring the rest.  This principle is now used very frequently, and successfully, during discussions/negotiations.

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Management lesson from the Cuban Missile Crisis - President Kennedy responded to only those demands from Khrushchev that Kennedy chose to acknowledge, ignoring the rest.  This principle is now used very frequently, and successfully, during discussions/negotiations.

True.

It seemed unnecessary to continue as I read and agree with the second paragraph @Duff McGee wrote.

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These are all nice things you guys are saying and I agree, but that's not actually the topic. The ball bouncing off of a tree and shooting OB instead of out into the fairway is "bad luck" I guess you could say. Or hitting a sprinkler head and the ball bouncing OB. Or hitting power lines overhead on a perfect drive like I saw a few months ago.

But those things all factually happened. A ball just off of the fairway into the rough but somehow covered just enough to be found without holding up play terribly is still in play. Yes it's bad luck that it got covered up but it is still in play.

I find this unfair. If there existed a rule that could cure this situation I would hope we all would be in agreement. Yet, the fairEST rule we have come up with is the one we have.

The point of this thread was to point out the absurdity of hitting your ball in play where 99% of all of us would not hit a provisional, then not finding it, THEN having to go all the way back to the tee box.

You say "well then just drop if you don't care about playing by the rules." I do care about the rules! That is the point!

If I had to hit a provisional every time I could not see my ball in the fairway I would be hitting a provisional 14 times per round and hitting a provisional for my provisionals. That is a ridiculous notion.

And Four Putt says that fairness is nowhere in the rules. That makes perfect sense and he makes a great point. But inherently as applied it is "unfair" outside of the rules just using common sense. That doesn't mean it needs to be changed. But we are talking past each other because we are focused on different things.

For example, it isn't really fair that even though baseball is played the same way at every level that the higher up you go the more accurate calls will be due to technology and better umpiring (in theory). But what can be done? Nothing. The lower levels don't have the money to make it perfectly even with the higher up leagues. So they play with what they have.

There is no fair or unfair in golf.  Yesterday I hit a drive that we watched hit a tree and disappear, my cousins drive hit a tree too but his ball bounced out into the middle of the fairway.  I hit a provisional given no one saw the ball come down and when we couldn't find it, I took a penalty and hit the provisional, he got to hit his first ball from the fairway.  That's golf, sometimes you get good breaks and sometimes you get bad breaks.

You keep talking about the ball that "lands" on the fairway and cannot be found, but I still argue that very rarely happens unless there are leaves all over the course in which case there is usually a local rule in place or the round is out of season and your score doesn't matter anyway.

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There is no fair or unfair in golf.  Yesterday I hit a drive that we watched hit a tree and disappear, my cousins drive hit a tree too but his ball bounced out into the middle of the fairway.  I hit a provisional given no one saw the ball come down and when we couldn't find it, I took a penalty and hit the provisional, he got to hit his first ball from the fairway.  That's golf, sometimes you get good breaks and sometimes you get bad breaks. You keep talking about the ball that "lands" on the fairway and cannot be found, but I still argue that very rarely happens unless there are leaves all over the course in which case there is usually a local rule in place or the round is out of season and your score doesn't matter anyway.

Hitting a tree is not "bad luck" for the most part btw.

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Hitting a tree is not "bad luck" for the most part btw.

These short responses that ignore the meat of the post may work in court but they're noticed here. Particularly when you regularly ignore direct questions. Let's also try to avoid phrasing stuff in ways that imply they're fact when they are not.

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Continuing with the refrain of provisional, provisional, provisional, I was refereeing today and watched a player put a tee shot into a bad place.  He played a provisional ball and I wish I had timed him so that I could be accurate.  As an estimate, I doubt if he took more than about 30 seconds to go to his bag, take out another ball, tee it up and play it.  Players tend to be quicker with a provisional, I reckon - probably because they are aware they are taking extra time by playing one.

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[quote name="newtogolf" url="/t/83618/lost-ball-rule-is-stupid/390#post_1192048"]There is no fair or unfair in golf.  Yesterday I hit a drive that we watched hit a tree and disappear, my cousins drive hit a tree too but his ball bounced out into the middle of the fairway.  I hit a provisional given no one saw the ball come down and when we couldn't find it, I took a penalty and hit the provisional, he got to hit his first ball from the fairway.  That's golf, sometimes you get good breaks and sometimes you get bad breaks. You keep talking about the ball that "lands" on the fairway and cannot be found, but I still argue that very rarely happens unless there are leaves all over the course in which case there is usually a local rule in place or the round is out of season and your score doesn't matter anyway.

Hitting a tree is not "bad luck" for the most part btw.[/quote] Hitting the tree may not be, but if the result causes the ball to be lost then we feel that way. But the reality is this happens to all golfers regardless of level. The tree or flag post doesn't care whether you or I or Tiger hit the ball. If the ball is lost, it is lost for all of us. Same with OB. The rule is the most equitable for the situation because we can't know for certain. There have been recent rounds where they knew almost for certain that a ball was in a tree. But they couldn't ID it so the player went back to the tee. Stinks but it happens. This is all in the Principles of Golf. Every golfer should read this.

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Hitting the tree may not be, but if the result causes the ball to be lost then we feel that way. But the reality is this happens to all golfers regardless of level. The tree or flag post doesn't care whether you or I or Tiger hit the ball. If the ball is lost, it is lost for all of us. Same with OB. The rule is the most equitable for the situation because we can't know for certain. There have been recent rounds where they knew almost for certain that a ball was in a tree. But they couldn't ID it so the player went back to the tee. Stinks but it happens.

This is all in the Principles of Golf. Every golfer should read this.

Thanks for clarifying my point.  Most courses don't (unfortunately mine does) have trees in the middle of the fairway, so if you hit a tree under most circumstances you hit a bad shot and should be penalized for it regardless of your handicap.

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Note: This thread is 736 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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