I want to go over a couple of Rules’ situations that have come up recently to be sure we are “getting it right” when we play.
Provisional Ball, Rule 18.
This is one of the most useful rules, especially to speed up play when your ball may be out of bounds or lost, however it comes with specific instructions on how to use this rule.
1. You must always announce to the other players that you intend to play a Provisional ball. If you don’t then that ball will be the ball “in play” under stroke and distance, even if you find your first ball you cannot play it.
2. If you think your ball may be lost or OB you are allowed to leave the spot where you played your ? lost ball and then come backand hit a Provisional ball. Once you you start searching where you think your original ball may be the three minutes search time starts. You also have this same three minutes to return to where you last hit your ball and play a Provisional ball. There is no penalty to do this as long as you return before the three minutes has ended, Rule 18.3a/2.
3. You cannot play a Provisional ball if you think your ball is lost in a Penalty area (e.g. water hazard). Rule 17 covers the procedures for Penalty areas, and If you erroneously play a Provisional Ball in this situation it will be your “ball in play” under stroke and distance. You will have lost the opportunity find your ball or to drop a ball closer to the hole where your ball crossed the Penalty Area.
Dropping a ball, Rule 14
We are all aware how to drop a ball under the 2019 Rules changes, from knee height and it must be dropped within the one or two club length “relief area”. The dropped ball must stay inside this relief area, no closer to the hole. Choose carefully where you drop your ball in the relief area. You may not like that it landed in a hole but you’re stuck with the lie. You cannot readjust the lie, it is what it is!
I hope this helps you.