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Lost ball off the tee (not OB) - options and how to score correctly?


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Hey all - I'm wanting to start building a handicap again, and have been reading about this new local rule for lost balls and figuring out how to accurately score these.  I usually play public tracks and try hard to keep my pace of play up, so going back to the tee after you lose a ball just doesn't happen where I'm from. 

Obviously if a ball is clearly OB off the tee, I'll just hit a provisional and go on. 

 

But what I'm confused about is the scenario where I hit my drive on a hole where there is no OB in play, and just simply can't find the ball.  Sometimes I will hit the ball into the trees, and just can't find it.  So the ball is lost.....then what?

 

I can't go back to the tee at that point, it's just poor etiquette and would kill our pace of play. 

 

Can I estimate where the ball was lost, and take a 1 stroke penalty and play from there? 

 

Or do I have to take this new 'local rule' 2 stroke penalty and play from the fairway? 


Thanks

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Because you gave him advice on his next stroke, telling him to use E-5, you incurred a two stroke penalty and also scored an 8.  🙂

Back to the tee or the new local rule.  Dropping your best guess and taking 1 shot is no good.  Although it is what most people do, it's against the rules.  Hit a provisional if you hit one in the tre

The first option has never been acceptable, even though lots of people do just that.  If you're not going to go back to the tee, the only other (semi-) legitimate option is to use the new Local Rule .

26 minutes ago, r2edline said:

Can I estimate where the ball was lost, and take a 1 stroke penalty and play from there? 

 

Or do I have to take this new 'local rule' 2 stroke penalty and play from the fairway? 

The first option has never been acceptable, even though lots of people do just that.  If you're not going to go back to the tee, the only other (semi-) legitimate option is to use the new Local Rule .  Read it when you get a chance, you have a range of places you can play from, you don't HAVE to play form the fairway. (see Model Local Rule E-5 here https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=cp&section=rule&rulenum=8&subrulenum=5)   And I said semi-legitimate because the rule isn't automatically in effect, it is used when the club or the competition chooses to use it.  However, its generally acceptable to use even those local rules which are not in effect when posting scores for handicap.

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The key here is whether the Local Rule E-5 is in effect on the course or not. That is not always the case so you need to make sure of it. If that Local Rule is NOT in effect you cannot use it but have to return to the tee or continue with the provisional (which you hopefully played).

 

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot you are in the US, which means you can use whichever Local Rule you want regardless they are in force on the course or not. Possible and allowed ONLY in the good old US...

Edited by Mr. Bean
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4 minutes ago, kwcsports said:

Anytime I think my drive might be in trouble, I hit a provisional. 

This ^
 

As for the times when you hit one that looks fine but then cannot find it- how often really does that happen? 
For me, it happens mostly with extremely soggy fairways or if there are a lot of leaves in the landing zone. In a four man flight, it’s seldom we don’t find the ball. It happened to me in a tournament and I had to scratch the hole (Stableford format). Annoying, but rare occurrence. 
 

Additionally, I use red or yellow neon balls in the winter season. Vice Pro Neon Red are great and easy to spot. 

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Thanks all. 

 

I'm in Canada so will have to check if my courses are using this local rule. 

 

31 minutes ago, kwcsports said:

Anytime I think my drive might be in trouble, I hit a provisional. 

 

Yah good recommend, I will have to get in the habit of this. 

 

I assume if you hit a provisional, and say it happens to be a poor one, you can't then use the 'local rule' to drop in the fairway? 

 

Seems like it may be advantageous to just use the local rule often when available.

 

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24 minutes ago, LukeDonaldsTiger said:

As for the times when you hit one that looks fine but then cannot find it- how often really does that happen? 

 

Usually during the Winter it's a regular occurrence where I live.  Happened to me once yesterday, I had a layup on a par 5 with my 7 iron. Pulled it into the rough just off the fairway and it plugged in a muddy area that had poor drainage. Obviously saw it land and not bounce, it's only 160-170 away, but unfortunately never found it. 

 

Thankfully don't have to worry during competitive season/rounds but annoying for posting handicap rounds. 

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9 minutes ago, r2edline said:

I assume if you hit a provisional, and say it happens to be a poor one, you can't then use the 'local rule' to drop in the fairway? 

 

That's correct.

Edited by sui generis

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play a round of competitive golf.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Bean said:

The key here is whether the Local Rule E-5 is in effect on the course or not. That is not always the case so you need to make sure of it. If that Local Rule is NOT in effect you cannot use it but have to return to the tee or continue with the provisional (which you hopefully played).

 

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot you are in the US, which means you can use whichever Local Rule you want regardless they are in force on the course or not. Possible and allowed ONLY in the good old US...

That’s an inaccurate statement as to the application of local rules in the U.S.

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3 hours ago, r2edline said:

Hey all - I'm wanting to start building a handicap again, and have been reading about this new local rule for lost balls and figuring out how to accurately score these.  I usually play public tracks and try hard to keep my pace of play up, so going back to the tee after you lose a ball just doesn't happen where I'm from. 

Obviously if a ball is clearly OB off the tee, I'll just hit a provisional and go on. 

 

But what I'm confused about is the scenario where I hit my drive on a hole where there is no OB in play, and just simply can't find the ball.  Sometimes I will hit the ball into the trees, and just can't find it.  So the ball is lost.....then what?

 

I can't go back to the tee at that point, it's just poor etiquette and would kill our pace of play. 

 

Can I estimate where the ball was lost, and take a 1 stroke penalty and play from there? 

 

Or do I have to take this new 'local rule' 2 stroke penalty and play from the fairway? 


Thanks

You state you are concerned with accuracy in handicap posting. While in your described situation you must go back to the tee unless E-5 is in effect to have a valid score, you can still have a valid handicap posting.  Picking up and posting your most likely score for that hole, with a maximum of net double bogey, satisfies handicap requirements. 

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On 12/29/2020 at 4:26 PM, r2edline said:

Thanks all. 

 

I'm in Canada so will have to check if my courses are using this local rule. 

 

 

Yah good recommend, I will have to get in the habit of this. 

 

I assume if you hit a provisional, and say it happens to be a poor one, you can't then use the 'local rule' to drop in the fairway? 

 

Seems like it may be advantageous to just use the local rule often when available.

 

Playing with E-5 is great and most of the time is the right play instead of a provisional. 
 

Example. Par 5. A course we were playing has OB cut in on the left at 250 yards. It has a pond to the right at 240 yards. I hit a good drive that bounds a little left and ends up OB in that cut in at 250. I take E-5 and drop up there in the fairway hitting 4. 
 

My friend also has his ball bound into the OB left. He declares a provisional despite me saying, “you should really take E-5”. Not wanting to go OB again he pushes it right and into the pond. 
 

I put my fairway drop onto the green and 2-putt for a bogey 6. My friend drops at the pond, has to lay up, puts it on from there and 2-putts for an 8. 
 

Sometimes it’s just silly to hit a provisional. Especially on tough driving holes where you get to drop in the fairway 200+ yards from the tee. 
 

On a par 3, or an approach shot, E-5 is almost never the play. Play a provisional. 

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19 minutes ago, Augster said:

Playing with E-5 is great and most of the time is the right play instead of a provisional. 
 

Example. Par 5. A course we were playing has OB cut in on the left at 250 yards. It has a pond to the right at 240 yards. I hit a good drive that bounds a little left and ends up OB in that cut in at 250. I take E-5 and drop up there in the fairway hitting 4. 
 

My friend also has his ball bound into the OB left. He declares a provisional despite me saying, “you should really take E-5”. Not wanting to go OB again he pushes it right and into the pond. 
 

I put my fairway drop onto the green and 2-putt for a bogey 6. My friend drops at the pond, has to lay up, puts it on from there and 2-putts for an 8. 
 

Sometimes it’s just silly to hit a provisional. Especially on tough driving holes where you get to drop in the fairway 200+ yards from the tee. 
 

On a par 3, or an approach shot, E-5 is almost never the play. Play a provisional. 

Because you gave him advice on his next stroke, telling him to use E-5, you incurred a two stroke penalty and also scored an 8.  🙂

Edited by rogolf
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1 hour ago, Newby said:

Are you sure this is advice? Pre 2019, suggesting that a player take a provisional was not considered to be advice. 

Suggesting  a provisional does not influence the player as  to how he should play the hole.  It offers no tactical help at all being just a time saver.  Recommending use of  E-5 rather than a provisional (or vice versa), however, advises the player to choose one of two possible actions because it is perceived to be tactically the better option.

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10 hours ago, Augster said:

Playing with E-5 is great and most of the time is the right play instead of a provisional. 
 

Example. Par 5. A course we were playing has OB cut in on the left at 250 yards. It has a pond to the right at 240 yards. I hit a good drive that bounds a little left and ends up OB in that cut in at 250. I take E-5 and drop up there in the fairway hitting 4. 
 

My friend also has his ball bound into the OB left. He declares a provisional despite me saying, “you should really take E-5”. Not wanting to go OB again he pushes it right and into the pond. 
 

I put my fairway drop onto the green and 2-putt for a bogey 6. My friend drops at the pond, has to lay up, puts it on from there and 2-putts for an 8. 
 

Sometimes it’s just silly to hit a provisional. Especially on tough driving holes where you get to drop in the fairway 200+ yards from the tee. 
 

On a par 3, or an approach shot, E-5 is almost never the play. Play a provisional. 

With trouble on the left at 250 and right at 240, I'd be playing a fairway wood or hybrid to the 220-230 trouble free target. Better give me a general penalty for suggesting that....

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4 hours ago, Colin L said:

Suggesting  a provisional does not influence the player as  to how he should play the hole.  It offers no tactical help at all being just a time saver.  Recommending use of  E-5 rather than a provisional (or vice versa), however, advises the player to choose one of two possible actions because it is perceived to be tactically the better option.

I take the point but as with a provisional does it not depend on what is said? eg "Do you know about the local rule we use here?"

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26 minutes ago, Newby said:

I take the point but as with a provisional does it not depend on what is said? eg "Do you know about the local rule we use here?"

12 hours ago, Augster said:

My friend also has his ball bound into the OB left. He declares a provisional despite me saying, “you should really take E-5”. Not wanting to go OB again he pushes it right and into the pond. 

 

I agree with @Newby, I understand that its acceptable to tell another player of his options under the Rules.  But @Augster made it pretty clear that he recommended a specific choice, which seems to me to be Advice.

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On 12/29/2020 at 5:26 PM, r2edline said:

Thanks all. 

 

I'm in Canada so will have to check if my courses are using this local rule. 

 

 

Yah good recommend, I will have to get in the habit of this. 

 

I assume if you hit a provisional, and say it happens to be a poor one, you can't then use the 'local rule' to drop in the fairway? 

 

Seems like it may be advantageous to just use the local rule often when available.

 

 

Not eggs-actly.

 

If neither ball is found you can use E-5 for the provisional. You then lay 5 (assuming we're talking about your tee shot).

 

And E-5 isn't always the best option. If your drive is very poor, say a snap hook that travels 110 or so and then goes OB, or may be lost, you may want to hit a provisional instead of using E-5.

 

 

 

Edited by nsxguy
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On 12/29/2020 at 12:20 PM, r2edline said:

I can't go back to the tee at that point, it's just poor etiquette and would kill our pace of play. 

 

 

I maintain that playing by the rules is neither poor etiquette nor does is kill the pace of play.

 

But certainly, a provisional is recommended if there is any doubt.

 

Edited by teejaywhy
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On 12/30/2020 at 6:46 PM, Augster said:

Playing with E-5 is great and most of the time is the right play instead of a provisional. 
 

Example. Par 5. A course we were playing has OB cut in on the left at 250 yards. It has a pond to the right at 240 yards. I hit a good drive that bounds a little left and ends up OB in that cut in at 250. I take E-5 and drop up there in the fairway hitting 4. 
 

My friend also has his ball bound into the OB left. He declares a provisional despite me saying, “you should really take E-5”. Not wanting to go OB again he pushes it right and into the pond. 
 

I put my fairway drop onto the green and 2-putt for a bogey 6. My friend drops at the pond, has to lay up, puts it on from there and 2-putts for an 8. 
 

Sometimes it’s just silly to hit a provisional. Especially on tough driving holes where you get to drop in the fairway 200+ yards from the tee. 
 

On a par 3, or an approach shot, E-5 is almost never the play. Play a provisional. 

 This is why many competitive golfers don't like rule E-5 and don't think it should be used in competitive events. 

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15 hours ago, Newby said:

I take the point but as with a provisional does it not depend on what is said? eg "Do you know about the local rule we use here?"

Absolutely, it depends on what is said, but I agree with Rogolf that "you should really take E-5" presents as advice, not identifying rules options

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