Following my last article, I received many questions regarding a ball lost or unplayable. I will try to explain a few facts that should be understood when someone wants to use some of the options for an unplayable ball.
OPTIONS FOR AN UNPLAYABLE BALL
A) Play stroke and distance by returning where the previous stroke was made. It is not necessary to find and identify the ball
B) Drop a ball or the ball inside 2 club-lengths (left or right) from where the ball lies. In this case, the player must find and identify the ball
C) Drop a ball or the ball on a back on the line relief. The reference line going straight back from the hole through the spot of the original ball. In this case, it is obvious that the ball must be located and identified
NOTE: A player is not allowed to use the unplayable options for a ball that is in a penalty area.
BALL IN A TREE OR A BUSH
CASE 1: A player sends his ball in a cedar hedge. The other players saw the ball enter the cedar hedge. After a 3 minutes search, the ball is not found.
Decision: The ball is lost, the player has only the option to return to where the previous stroke was made (Stroke and Distance) or play the provisional ball. Even if the players saw the ball enter the cedar edge, it does not give the player any option other than Stroke and Distance
CASE 2: The player sends his ball in a palm tree (South of Montreal). Spectators saw the ball enter the tree and they can see the ball. The player can’t identify the ball, but many people saw that ball arrive at that spot.
Decision: An important change in the Rules of Golf occurred on January 1st, 2019. The identification can be used by determining that another player or spectator saw the ball come to rest in that specific location after the player’s stroke. The player may, then use any of the unplayable ball options.
REMINDER: Even if many people saw a ball enter a bush, it the ball is not visible, the player must play under the Stroke and Distance option.
BALL UNPLAYABLE AFTER THE DROP
When a player drops a ball under the Unplayable rule and the ball is again in an unplayable position, the ball is in play and the player must declare the ball unplayable again and add another penalty stroke even if the ball came back in the exact spot where it was. If the ball is not closer to the hole the player must use the rule again adding a penalty stroke each time. He is also allowed to use the Stroke and Distance option
When a player sees a ball in the tree and tries to make a stroke at it and the club hits the tree and the ball does not move, it is considered as a stroke even if the club did not touch the ball. If alter that, the ball is identified as not being his ball, he will get a penalty of 2 strokes for playing a wrong ball.