What do you do when you’ve lost your golf ball?
Some of you may have read the title of this post and smirked, “Who doesn’t know this rule?!”
While I agree that it is one of the fundamental rules of golf, I’d hate to think that Aussie Golfer would become some sort of intimidating golf website – akin to some of the more exclusive golf clubs in the country – where you can’t pop in to learn more about the game.
I think it’s wise to throw in some basic rules reminders now and then – for not just those more experience golfers but for those who are new to the game. The world needs more golfers, right?
You’ve lost your golf ball, what are your options?
In a social, whack-and-hack style golf game, losing your golf ball is an inconvenience that usually sees a player throw another ball down somewhere in the vicinity – sometimes without penalty. But this is NOT the way to proceed.
If you are playing in a competition where you are competing against other players, you must proceed according to the Rules of Golf.
Under Rule 27, you have 5 minutes to look for your golf ball from the point of beginning to look for it. You then must play a ball “under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played.”
So, you have to go back and play your next stroke from where you played your last shot – with a one stroke penalty.
Ideally you had some idea that your golf ball may be lost soon after you hit your last stroke and decided to play a provisional. This way you don’t have to go all the way back to where you last played your shot.
There are some exceptions
Again, rule 27 covers this but if it is known, or virtually certain that your lost ball was moved by an outside agency, in an obstruction or abnormal ground condition, or in a water hazard, then you have slightly different options available that relate to each situation – click the links for more information.