Monday, October 25, 2010

Ask Linda #250-Provisional ball, how many strokes?

Hi Linda,

I know you've answered this type of question before but for the life of me I cannot remember which posting it was under so here goes:

At any time do you count a provisional ball as a penalty/penalty stroke? Example: a player's tee shot might be OB/lost outside a hazard. The provisional ball ends up in the same area and it too might be OB/lost outside a hazard. So, he hits a second provisional and it is playable. Upon investigation, the tee shot and first provisional are BOTH OB/lost outside a hazard, so what is the second provisional lying? Lying five hitting six or lying three hitting four? The player says even though the first provisional was OB/lost outside a hazard it was a provisional for the tee shot so there is no penalty, therefore he is lying three hitting four. This happened within our group last month and none of us knew how to score the hole for the player.

As always thank you for your time and a great golf blog!
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

The second provisional ball is the player’s fifth stroke. Here is how to do the addition:

1. Original stroke = 1
2. Penalty for lost original ball = 1
3. First provisional ball = 1
3. Penalty for lost provisional = 1
4. Second provisional = 1
Total: 5

The Note to Rule 27-2 explains that when a player hits multiple provisional balls, each one “bears the same relationship to the previous provisional ball as the first provisional ball bears to the original ball.” I will now try to translate this into layman’s terms.

When a player hits a provisional ball, that ball becomes the ball in play if the original ball turns out to be out of bounds or lost outside a water hazard. The player in your question lost his original ball. His first provisional ball became the ball in play. Unfortunately, that ball was also lost. At this point, the second provisional ball became the ball in play.

Here is a scenario where the player’s provisional ball would be lying three:
If the player’s original ball is lost, his first provisional is found, and his second provisional is lost or found, then he would be lying three: the original shot + the penalty for a lost ball + the provisional = 3. The second provisional would not count; this ball was hit as a precaution in case the original and the first provisional were not found.

If the player finds his original ball within five minutes, he must continue play with the original and abandon any provisionals. In this case, any strokes made with the provisional balls do not count in his score.

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