October 21 - 2009

A year ago at a tournament in Santa Barbara, a San Clemente Men's Club member had an interesting rules experience. Playing his tee shot (on a drivable par 4) he was told by his fellow competitor that his drive was most likely O.B. Invoking Rule 27-2, he played a provisional ball (not with his driver). After a short search for his original tee shot, the player hit his second shot and played to the green. When he arrived at the green, he found his original ball pin high. He then abandoned his provisional ball and continued playing his original ball. His fellow competitor informed him that his original ball was not in play because he played a stroke with his provisional ball to the green. At this point he was unsure if he would be penalized or disqualified. After the round he found out that under Decision 27-2b/3, his original was still in play. The reason this decision is important to the San Clemente Men's Cub members is that this same situation can easily occur on the 16th hole where your drive may or may not be O.B. and requires a provisional ball which can be played until the area is reached that the original ball is likely to be. The strokes played with the provisional ball do not count if the original ball is found in play (within the five-minute time limit).

27-2b/3 Original Ball Is Beyond Provisional Ball; Player Searches Briefly for Original Ball, Plays Provisional Ball and Then Finds Original Ball


Q. A player's provisional ball comes to rest short of where the original ball is likely to be. After a two-minute search for the original ball, the player goes back, plays a second stroke with the provisional ball and then his original ball is found within the five-minute time limit. What is the ruling?

A. The player must continue play with the original ball. Play of a provisional ball does not render the original ball lost until it has been played from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place - Rule 27-2b.