Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ask Linda #1301-Player hits out-of-bounds ball

Last week a guy in my group hit OB into an area of cleared out brush. He proceeded to hit his ball from the OB area out onto the fairway. I told him he could not hit from OB even if he had a clear swing at the ball. I explained he had to replay from his original spot with a one-stroke penalty. Of course, he had to try and fly the ball over that same area five more times until he made it! Anyway he said he “didn't know he couldn't play from OB…and that's how everybody else plays that hole.” What is the penalty for hitting a ball lying out of bounds? I wasn't sure as to the penalty and I didn't assess him any more strokes due to the fact he took a 12 on the hole. What's the ruling?

Lulu from Hemet, CA

Dear Lulu,

When a player hits his ball out of bounds, it is no longer in play. The Rules call it a “wrong ball” [Definition of “Wrong Ball”]. A player who hits a wrong ball incurs a two-stroke penalty. He must play the correct ball or proceed under the Rules [Rule 15-3b]. In your scenario, that would mean playing a ball under stroke and distance (returning to where he hit his previous shot and adding a one-stroke penalty to his score).

Count the original stroke that was hit out of bounds, a two-stroke penalty for hitting a wrong ball (do not count the stroke with the wrong ball), and a one-stroke penalty to return to where he hit his previous shot (“stroke and distance”). Each time he fails to put the ball in play, he will incur a one-stroke penalty and will have to hit another ball from where he hit the original ball.

If this had been match play, the player would simply lose the hole [Rule 15-3a].

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