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The Rules of Golf – Provisional Ball


By Michel Monnard

I will find a few questions along the way to make this blog post about the Provisional Ball a nice read with all the necessary info you need.

 

In stroke play, when is the correct time to play a provisional ball from the teeing ground for a ball that may be lost? a) Immediately after playing the original ball. b) In order of the honor, after fellow competitors have played their first strokes. c) After a brief search for the original ball. d) Any of the previous, as there is no penalty for playing out of turn.

Answer: b) In order of the honor, after fellow competitors have played their first strokes. Rule 10-3.

A golf player may always play a provisional ball if they think their original ball may be lost. Is that True or False?

Answer: False. A provisional ball may only be played if the original ball may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds. Rule 27-2a.

After briefly search for their ball a player asks fellow competitors to keep searching while they return to the teeing ground to play a provisional ball. After they have played this ball their original ball is found lodged in the branches of a tree, within 5 minutes of search beginning for it. The original ball must be played. True or False?

Answer: False. Rule 27-2a. A provisional ball must be played before going forward to search for the original ball (more than approximately 50 yards), so the second ball from the teeing ground is the ball in play, lying 3.

A player may not play a second provisional ball even if their first provisional ball may be lost. True or False?

Answer: False. Rule 27-2a. The second provisional ball bears the same relationship to the first provisional ball as the first provisional ball bears to the original ball.

When the original ball is found just in bounds but in an unplayable position in a tree the player may play the provisional ball, which they had played in order to save time. True or False?

Answer: False. Rule 27-2c.

On a teeing ground a player thinks they may have hit their ball out of bounds and says, “That may be over the line, I’ll play another” and plays another ball. The second ball is now in play, lying 3. True or False?

Answer: True. Decision 27-2a/1. The player must inform their opponent or fellow-competitor that they intend to play a provisional ball with a statement that specifically mentions the words “provisional ball”.

A player thought that their first ball may be lost in a gorse bush, so they played a provisional ball, which landed a few 12 inches from the hole. They do not have to search for their original ball and may also request that their fellow competitors do not search for it. True or False?

Answer: True. However, the player must continue to play their original ball if it is found within 5 minutes of search beginning for it and before they have made another stroke at their provisional ball. Decision 27-2c/2.

I can recommend a gentlemen named Barry Rhodes, who sends out weekly newsletters about the Rules of Golf. I suggest you sign up for that and let yourself educate every week for 5 mins. It will make a difference. He does a great job.
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