A reader recently asked me what the ruling is if your golf ball splits in two? One piece sails in to a water hazard and the other piece lands in the fairway.
My first reaction was to question what standard of golf ball was being used as this very rarely happens any more. Twenty years ago it was fairly common to find a few half golf balls lying around a golf course but the quality of the modern golf ball is generally very good.
But let’s just consider the scenario for a minute…
The answer is dealt with in the rules of golf which concern the golf ball itself, specifically golf rule 5-3 looks at the state of the ball:
A ball is unfit for play if it is visibly cut, cracked or out of shape. A ball is not unfit for play solely because mud or other materials adhere to it, its surface is scratched or scraped or its paint is damaged or discoloured.
The rules go on to say;
If a ball breaks into pieces as a result of a stroke, the stroke is canceled and the player must play a ball, without penalty, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played
So just replace the ball and proceed to play from as close as possible to your last shot. No penalty.
But seriously, buy some better golf balls or stop hitting it so hard!