During a match, my opponent hit a Titleist on the 16th hole. She played an old Nike on the 17th hole (there was a hazard to cross and she didn’t want to use a new ball). On the 18th hole, she put away the old ball and played the same Titleist again. Is she allowed to do that? (We are not required to play the same brand and type of golf ball in our matches.)
Your opponent was entitled to use ball A on hole #16, ball B on hole #17, and ball A once again on hole #18.
If the One Ball Condition is not in effect, a player may start a hole with any ball. She must use that same ball for play of the entire hole, unless she loses it or the ball becomes unfit for play. A ball is unfit only if it is visibly cut, cracked, or out of shape.
Interestingly enough, there is no penalty if a player uses a ball that was declared unfit on a subsequent hole. However, if she does so, she loses the right to declare it unfit a second time for the same damage [Decision 5-3/2].
Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.