Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ask Linda #1777-Ball found while player en route to tee

Hi Linda,
I need confirmation on what another player says the rule is when the player can't find her ball and she heads back (usually to the tee) to hit another.

Some years ago, when playing with this person, we couldn't find my ball on #10. It had gone right, and I thought it might have hit the tree, but everyone swore that it didn't. So, I started back to the tee and almost immediately two players were yelling that they found it…right in front of the green. It did hit the tree after all.

This same player then informed me that since I had turned my back on the ball that I had abandoned it and had to continue playing it as a lost ball and go back and hit a second ball. I had never heard that before and wasn't happy about it. When I asked others about it at the time, no one else had ever heard the rule applied that way either. I wouldn't continue to question it today, but another player told me that about a year ago, that player enforced that same interpretation on another player.

So, is that actually the rule? I checked the rulebook and can find nothing that refers to that.
Lulu from San Diego

Dear Lulu,

I’ll bet that player cannot find anything in the rulebook either, as no such Rule exists.

The player is entitled to search for her ball for five minutes. If she gives up the search after less than five minutes, starts walking back to play another ball under stroke and distance, and the ball is found before five minutes have expired and before she puts another ball into play, the original ball is still her ball in play and she must play it [Decisions 27/16 and 27/5.5; Definition of “Lost Ball”].

Turning your back on the ball, or even declaring it “lost,” has no effect on the status of the original ball and does not change this ruling.

The next time another player insists on enforcing some “Rule” that you have never heard of, either insist that you are right and continue play as you see fit (which may risk a penalty or disqualification if you are wrong), or play two balls under Rule 3-3 (if you want to be safe).

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