Monday, June 5, 2017

Ask Linda #1545-Play wrong ball in hazard

Hello Linda,
I have a question about a striking an incorrect ball in a lateral hazard. We were in a two-man stroke-play aggregate event at my club when my playing partner hit his tee ball (stroke 1) very close to a red hazard. While looking for the ball, I found the exact same make and number of his ball just inside the red hazard. After looking at the ball and realizing that very few players would have used this same ball and number, we determined that it must be his ball and he attempted to play that ball out of the hazard. After completing a stroke, he did not get that ball out of the hazard (stroke 2), so then he took a drop (stroke 3) using that same ball outside of the hazard. His next shot was back to the Fairway (stroke 4). While getting ready to hit his approach to the hole, during his setup he realized it was the same exact ball maker and number but did not have his identifying mark. (So he had hit the wrong ball since the hazard.) We took that ball out of play, went back to where we thought his ball had entered the hazard, and he played another ball under the lost ball in hazard rule (dropping the new ball counts as stroke 2). He proceeded to hit that ball into the Fairway (new ball stroke 3), then onto the green (new ball stroke 4) and two putted (new ball stroke 5 & 6). We asked our local pro and he determined that he should also score a two-stroke penalty before we signed our card, so we marked an 8 for that hole on our official scorecard.
Was this the correct call for this scenario?
Lou from Orange County, California 

Dear Lou,


Here is the scoring for this scenario:
1 – tee shot into lateral hazard
2 and 3 – player hits wrong ball, incurring a two-stroke penalty
4 – one penalty stroke for taking relief from lateral hazard under Rule 26-1c (the ball dropped outside the hazard is a substituted ball and in play)
5 – dropped ball hit onto fairway
6 and 7 – two-stroke penalty for lifting ball in play, incorrectly substituting a new ball, and playing from a wrong place when he dropped again outside the hazard
8– dropped ball hit onto fairway
9 – shot onto putting green
10 and 11 – two putts

Please remember that the player has the right to identify his ball before hitting it, regardless of where it lies. If the player had taken a minute to mark, lift, and identify the ball you found, he would not have incurred so many penalties and would have played the hole a lot quicker.

Always put a personal identification mark on your ball, and always check for that mark before you hit the ball. Most of the time, a quick glance is all it takes to establish ownership; a ball nestled in high grass or buried in sand is begging to be identified.

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