Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1390-Use a found ball as a provisional

Hi Linda, 
During play, I keep my "main" ball in my right pocket, and I have a spare ball in my left pocket. I find this faster if I need to hit a provisional or new ball, instead of walking to the bag and find one.

Today I found a "lost ball" on the course. As I was a bit away from my bag, I put the ball in my left pocket, and later forgot to put it in my golf bag. (I prefer to clean the course of lost balls when I find them.)

A couple of holes later, I needed to play a provisional, took a ball from my left pocket, and dropped. I then discovered that it was the ball I found earlier, a cheap brand/type I do not like. 

Do I have to play on with the ball I dropped, or could I re-drop with the ball I intended to drop? 

Lou from Norway

Dear Lou,

The ball is in play as soon as it is dropped [Rule 20-4]. You must play on with the ball you dropped.

Don’t forget that you are obligated to announce to your opponent, marker, or fellow competitor that you are going to play a provisional ball [Rule 27-2a (i)]. When you make that announcement, you should include a description of the ball that you will hit as a provisional. Had you included this description, you would have noticed that you had the wrong ball in your hand; you could have made the switch to your preferred ball before it was too late.

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