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MartinKillips

Wrong ball from water?

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At a par three this week both my opponent and I hit almost identical shots into a lake. My opponent picked out one of the balls (it was unplayable) from the water and dropped it at my feet. I thought it was my ball. I then went to the drop zone and chipped it into the hole for a three. My opponent dropped a new ball from his bag and chipped on also and took five.

My opponent then noticed that the ball I had played was his, (we had both played the same make and number ball but his had a small smile drawn under the number that I hadn't noticed when he scooped up the ball from the water and dropped it at my feet).

He then said I must be penalised and a five was recorded for me rather than a three.

I accept that the ball I dropped from the water was his - but regardless I thought any ball that lands in the water and is unplayable (whether retrieved or not) was considered as a 'dead-ball'. So playing his in error rather than a new one from my bag, shouldn't incur a penalty.

Can someone tell me the correct ruling, please?

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You did nothing wrong. You can drop any* conforming ball. You can drop a ball you found in the woods, you can buy one from the pro shop and drop that one, you can borrow a ball and play that (effectively what you did), you can use a ball from your golf bag… whatever.

When the rules say "a ball" it means any ball, and when it says "the ball" it must be the same ball you played.

* If the One Ball Rule is in effect, which it almost never is, you have to drop the same make and model.

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Exactly what Erik said. As soon as it is known or virtually certain that ball went into a water hazard, AND you DIDN'T decide to play it from INSIDE the hazard, then the rules of golf consider that ball lost in a hazard regardless of whether or not you can retrieve it. You would have only been penalized had you played in from where it lay in the hazard. As soon as you picked it up and under penalty of one stroke dropped it in accordance with Rule 26, then you could have used any conforming ball no matter who the owner was. 

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Many thanks for your responses. When I was docked two shots for hitting the wrong ball, it didn't feel is if it was correct. For we had both entered the water at almost the exact spot and it was my opponent that scooped out the ball before I had time to to inspect it. I didn't realise he was playing a same make and number ball, although he had marked his with a smile and two dots, and I had marked mine with just two spots. I could see the two spots (the smile was out of sight) so assumed it was my ball and dropped it outside the hazard alongside my opponent and we both then hit our third shots. It was only when I retrieved my ball from the hole (having chipped in) he noticed the smile and announced I had hit the wrong ball and insisted I be penalised a further two shots.

My sincere thanks for your assistance.

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17 minutes ago, MartinKillips said:

Many thanks for your responses. When I was docked two shots for hitting the wrong ball, it didn't feel is if it was correct. For we had both entered the water at almost the exact spot and it was my opponent that scooped out the ball before I had time to to inspect it. I didn't realise he was playing a same make and number ball, although he had marked his with a smile and two dots, and I had marked mine with just two spots. I could see the two spots (the smile was out of sight) so assumed it was my ball and dropped it outside the hazard alongside my opponent and we both then hit our third shots. It was only when I retrieved my ball from the hole (having chipped in) he noticed the smile and announced I had hit the wrong ball and insisted I be penalised a further two shots.

None of any of that matters.

It's irrelevant whose ball you hit. As soon as you drop it, it's your ball.

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:27 AM, MartinKillips said:

At a par three this week both my opponent and I hit almost identical shots into a lake. My opponent picked out one of the balls (it was unplayable) from the water and dropped it at my feet. I thought it was my ball. I then went to the drop zone and chipped it into the hole for a three. My opponent dropped a new ball from his bag and chipped on also and took five.

My opponent then noticed that the ball I had played was his, (we had both played the same make and number ball but his had a small smile drawn under the number that I hadn't noticed when he scooped up the ball from the water and dropped it at my feet).

He then said I must be penalised and a five was recorded for me rather than a three.

I accept that the ball I dropped from the water was his - but regardless I thought any ball that lands in the water and is unplayable (whether retrieved or not) was considered as a 'dead-ball'. So playing his in error rather than a new one from my bag, shouldn't incur a penalty.

Can someone tell me the correct ruling, please?

The answers posted are correct. Just one more point: the penalty for playing a wrong ball in matchplay is loss of hole, not two strokes. So your opponent was wrong on two counts - no penalty for playing 'a' ball under R26 and incorrect penalty assessed.

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It could be argued that a man, marking his ball with a "smiley face", is the one that should be penalized...

;-) 

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2 stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball, then you proceed to finish the hole as you would have with your own ball. If your ball was lost, you would have to go back to the tee.

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1 hour ago, smfoley said:

2 stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball, then you proceed to finish the hole as you would have with your own ball. If your ball was lost, you would have to go back to the tee.

No.  His ball is in the hazard, he takes the penalty for the ball in the hazard, and may play any conforming ball in his possession.  And has been said earlier in this thread, the penalty for playing a wrong ball in match play is loss of the hole, not two strokes.

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3 hours ago, smfoley said:

2 stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball, then you proceed to finish the hole as you would have with your own ball. If your ball was lost, you would have to go back to the tee.

Please read the topic - or at least the OP - before offering a ruling.

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