This month, 2 different situations have been brought to the Rules Committee for clarification. The first situation occurred at Dogwood recently, on Hole #18. The game on this particular day was Low Gross/Low Net. Player A put 3 balls in the water on #18, and was then instructed by Player B to pick up and take her ESC score of 8. In most cases, this would have been the correct way to proceed, and is indeed recommended to maintain pace of play. However, in a Low Gross/ Low Net competition, all players must play out every hole if they wish to remain eligible for prize monies. If the player wants to pick up on any hole, the player must withdraw from the competition. Remember, this applies to Low Gross/Low Net only.
The second situation occurred on hole #8 at Berksdale (par 5 with water on the right near the green). Player A could not find her ball that was on a trajectory toward the pond. Player B and Player C, after helping search for the ball of Player B, advised her that it had to have rolled into the pond, and to take her drop with penalty and proceed. She did so. As the group moved toward the green, the original ball was discovered. Player A was then advised by her fellow competitors to abandon the second ball and complete the hole with her original ball. This last advice was in error. In the “Decisions on the Rules of Golf” book, on page 413, this exact situation is addressed: BALL ASSUMED TO BE IN WATER HAZARD FOUND OUTSIDE WATER HAZARD AFTER ANOTHER BALL PLAYED UNDER STROKE-AND-DISTANCE PROCEDURE: The original ball is lost and the other ball is in play.......” see Rule 27-1a and the Definition of “Lost ball”(page 29, item “e”).
Question ... In the second situation, could the player have proclaimed that she was hitting a PROVISIONAL ball in case the original ball was found further down the course from where they were looking?
Reply from Stevie Lamar ... Unfortunately, if ball is presumed lost IN A HAZARD, one cannot play a provisional. Provisional balls are played only when lost or OB.
Please continue to bring all Rules questions and situations to the Rules Committee. We are learning with you, and enjoy finding answers to your questions!
And please remember, the most important rule is “Have Fun!”
Rules Committee Chair