Golf Rule of the Month
I want to take this opportunity to address a ruling that is quite common here at Point Venture. The rule has to do with playing a provisional ball. A provisional ball is only played if the player thinks his ball may be lost or out of bounds.
Quite often here at Point Venture a player hits a ball into the woods and is not sure if they can find it or if it is out of bounds. Correctly, they say that they are going to hit a provisional ball and declare the type and number of ball of the first shot and that they are going to hit a provisional ball and announce the type and/number of their provisional ball.
So far so good, where the confusion lays is if the first ball is found in bounds but is unplayable. Currently many players are saying that their original ball is unplayable and that they are going to take a penalty shot and play their provisional ball. This is NOT following the rules of golf. Remember a provisional ball is only for a lost ball or a ball out of bounds. When the original ball was found and was in bounds the provisional ball is meaningless at that point. If you declare the original shot unplayable you have 4 options:
1. Try to hit it.
2. You may go 2 club lengths no closer to the hole and drop it with 1 penalty shot.
3. You may take the point where your golf ball was and the flag and go back on that line as far as you want with 1 penalty stroke. OR
4. You may go back to the last place you hit it from with 1 penalty shot. You may say well that was what I just did with my provisional. You are correct but once you find the original ball in play, that provisional does not matter. If you use this option, you have to go back and hit another ball for your unplayable ball.
One way to avoid this is, if you hit one in the woods and you think it is going to be unplayable, just announce to your group that that ball is declared lost and you are going to put another ball in play with a penalty stroke. If you have any questions on this rule or any other rule please feel free to stop in and ask me.
Keep it in the fairway!
Class “A” PGA Member
Voted “One of America’s Best Golf Instructors”
Director of Golf
Point Venture Golf Club