B-3 Provisional Ball for Ball in a Penalty Area Hole 14 Quail
Purpose. Under Rule 18.3, a player is not allowed to play a ball provisionally if it is known or virtually certain that his or her ball is in a penalty area.
But in unusual cases, the size, shape or location of a penalty area may be such that:
- The player cannot see whether the ball is in the penalty area,
- It would unreasonably delay play if the player had to go forward to look for the ball before returning to play another ball under penalty of stroke and distance, and
- If the original ball is not found, it would be known or virtually certain that the ball is in the penalty area.
For such situations, to save time a Committee may choose to modify Rule 18.3:
- Rule 18.3a is modified to allow the player to play a ball provisionally under Rule 17.1d(1), Rule 17.1d(2) or, for a red penalty area, Rule 17.1d(3).
- Rules 18.3b and 18.3c are modified to state when such a provisional ball must or may be played or abandoned, as stated in the Model Local Rule.
Model Local Rule B-3
In playing the provisional ball, the player may use the stroke-and-distance relief option (see Rule 17.1d(1), the back-on-the-line relief option (see Rule 17.1d(2)) or, if it is a red penalty area, the lateral relief option (see Rule 17.1d(3)). If a dropping zone (see Model Local Rule E-1) is available for this penalty area, the player may also use that relief option.
- When Original Ball Is Found in Penalty Area Within Three-Minute Search Time. The player may choose either to:
- Continue to play the original ball as it lies in the penalty area, in which case the provisional ball must not be played. All strokes with that provisional ball before it was abandoned (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count, or
- Continue to play the provisional ball in which case the original ball must not be played.
- When Original Ball Is Not Found Within Three-Minute Search Time or Is Known or Virtually Certain to Be in Penalty Area. The provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play.
E-5 Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds
Purpose. When a provisional ball has not been played, significant issues with pace of play can result for a player needing to take stroke-and-distance relief for a ball that is out of bounds or cannot be found. The purpose of this Local Rule is to allow a Committee to provide an extra relief option that allows a player to play on without returning to the location of the previous stroke.
The Local Rule is appropriate for general play where golfers are playing casual rounds or playing their own competitions. The Local Rule is not appropriate for competitions limited to highly skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions). For guidance on when and how this Local Rule may be used in order for scores to be submitted for handicapping purposes, consult the rules or recommendations contained within the Handicap System operating in the local jurisdiction.
Where a Committee has introduced such a Local Rule for general play, and removes it for competitions, it should ensure that all players are aware of this before play begins.
A Committee may introduce such a Local Rule for all play on the course or only for one or two specific holes where it may be especially useful (for example, where players are unable to see the landing area and therefore may not know whether or not to play a provisional ball).
This option allows the player to drop in a large area between the point where the ball is estimated to have come to rest or gone out of bounds and the edge of the fairway of the hole being played that is not nearer the hole.
The player gets two penalty strokes when using this relief option. This means that the relief is comparable to what could have been achieved if the player had taken stroke-and-distance relief.
This Local Rule cannot be used for an unplayable ball, or for a ball that is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area.
If a provisional ball is played and neither the original ball nor the provisional ball can be found, then the Local Rule may be applied for the provisional ball that cannot be found.
Model Local Rule E-5
“When a player’s ball has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds, the player may proceed as follows rather than proceeding under stroke and distance.
For two penalty strokes, the player may take relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
Two Estimated Reference Points:
a. Ball Reference Point: The point where the original ball is estimated to have:
- Come to rest on the course, or
- Last crossed the edge of the course boundary to go out of bounds.
b. Fairway Reference Point: The point of fairway of the hole being played that is nearest to the ball reference point, but is not nearer the hole than the ball reference point.
For purposes of this Local Rule, “fairway” means any area of grass in the general area that is cut to fairway height or less.
If a ball is estimated to be lost on the course or last crossed the edge of the course boundary short of the fairway, the fairway reference point may be a grass path or a teeing ground for the hole being played cut to fairway height or less.
Size of Relief Area Based on Reference Points: Anywhere between:
- A line from the hole through the ball reference point (and within two club-lengths to the outside of that line), and
- A line from the hole through the fairway reference point (and within two club-lengths to the fairway side of that line).
But with these limits:
Limits on Location of Relief Area:
- Must be in the general area, and
- Must not be nearer the hole than the ball reference point.
Once the player puts a ball in play under this Local Rule:
- The original ball that was lost or out of bounds is no longer in play and must not be played.
- This is true even if the ball is found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b).
But, the player may not use this option to take relief for the original ball when:
- That ball is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a penalty area, or
- The player has played another ball provisionally under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.3).
A player may use this option to take relief for a provisional ball that has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”