Monday, February 5, 2018

Ask Linda #1692-Wrong ball score

Yesterday during men's club stroke play a player hit a wrong ball from the fairway and played that ball two more times until he realized it was not his ball when he marked it on the green. He then went back and found his ball and finished the hole with the correct ball!
They came to me for a ruling and I said add 2 strokes on to the score.
I got thinking after that I might have given the wrong ruling.
Since 5 minutes had passed and he couldn't claim a lost ball, should he have gone back to the tee box hitting 3 or was my first ruling correct?
What if he had holed out the wrong ball, or if he had teed off before realizing the mistake? Would it make any difference on the ruling?
Lou from Wingham, Ontario, Canada

Dear Lou,

Your ruling was correct. Do not count any of the strokes made with the wrong ball; add a two-stroke penalty to the score with the correct ball [Rule 15-3b].

While more than five minutes passed while playing the wrong ball, these were not the five minutes allotted to search for the original ball. Judging from your narrative, it did not take the player more than five minutes to find his ball when he returned to search for it. His original ball was not “lost” under the Rules [Definition of “Lost Ball” section “a”].

It would make no difference if he holed out with the wrong ball. However, if he teed off on the next hole without correcting his mistake, he would be disqualified [Rule 15-3b].

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