RULE OF THE DAY
We play by the USGA rules of golf. Ignorance of these rules is no excuse, and if a rule is broken, all USGA regulated penalties will apply. If at any time in the round, if there is any question on a rule, the player should inform her marker that she will play two balls, and she must declare which ball she intends to use. (USGA Rule) The player will play two balls, keep track of both scores, and the player and the marker will speak to a Rules Committee member for a final ruling.
Rule 27-2. Playing a Provisional Ball with a Lost ball that is lost outside of a hazard or a ball out of bounds:
According to Rule 27 and Rule 26, a player cannot play a provisional ball if it is virtually certain that the ball is in a water hazard.
If you hit a tee shot, and the ball goes in a water hazard, you must proceed under Rule 26. You do not play a provisional here. If you think you are lost outside a water hazard or if you are out of bounds, you may play a provisional ball and proceed under Rule 27.
The rules are quite clear that you do not play a provisional on a water hazard.
Question: If a player has a tee shot that perhaps went in the woods, and the woods are marked as a water hazard, can the player declare that she is playing a provisional ball off the tee.
Answer: No. The second ball cannot be a provisional ball and it becomes the ball in play.
Question: Suppose a player hits a shot toward trees or bushes, and believes that the ball could be lost outside a water hazard, and she plays a provisional ball. When she arrives at the area in question, she finds that the trees are marked with red stakes as a lateral water hazard. The player believes there it is virtually certain that the ball is in the tree area that is marked as lateral, but the player did not know it was lateral when she put the provisional in play.
Answer: The player must abandon the provisional ball. The provisional ball was played under a false belief, and the player must proceed under Rule 26.
Please remember that in declaring that you will play a provisional ball, you must believe that you are lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds.
Rules Committee: Kristin Kennedy, Kathy Mis, and Valerie Tessier