Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ask Linda #217-Wrong ball penalty

Hi Linda,

Greetings from Down Under yet again.
Today in our club competition, a player unknowingly played a wrong ball on her second shot all the way down the 5
th… (2 stroke penalty?).

After teeing off at the 6th and addressing the ball for her second shot, she discovered and declared that she was playing a wrong ball. As she liked this ball, she continued using this ball to the end of the round.

As usual we have had so many opinions as to penalties incurred.

What is the correct ruling please?

Kind regards,

Dear Lulu,

There is nothing but bad news for this competitor. She would be disqualified from the tournament the moment she hit her tee shot on the sixth hole.

Ordinarily, the penalty in stroke play for hitting a wrong ball is two strokes. None of the strokes with the wrong ball count. The player must return and play the correct ball. If the ball cannot be found (lost ball), she must return to where the previous shot was hit and add another penalty stroke to her score [Rule 27-1], for a total of three penalty strokes.

However, the player must correct her mistake before she tees off on the next hole.Since she did not, she is disqualified from the tournament [Rule 15-3b].

In match play, the penalty for hitting a wrong ball is loss of hole. If this had been a match play competition, then the player would have lost the fifth hole. There would be no penalty for playing the sixth hole with the ball she “acquired” on the fifth hole.

I have cautioned players over and over again on my blog to put a distinctive mark on their golf balls. Just about every golfer has at one time or another accidentally hit a wrong ball; it can happen to the best of us. However, by the time the player arrives at the green and marks and lifts her ball prior to putting, there is really no excuse for failing to note that the ball is not hers.

Disqualification is a mighty harsh penalty to pay for not taking out a moment to mark your golf balls. Buy an indelible marker, keep it in your bag, and don’t forget to use it!

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.