June 9, 2015
Last week I lent a forgetful friend some balls. On a long par 4, we hit nearly identical tee shots. We found one ball on the edge of the fairway and the other in the rough a few yards away. We then realized that neither of us had marked our ball. We flipped a coin to see who had the ball in the fairway. Was this alright to do?
While not required by the rules, it is strongly recommended that you place an identifying mark on your ball. By not marking your ball you cannot positively identify which ball is yours and therefore Decision 27/10 states that both balls are officially lost and each player must put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance under Rule 27-1. Therefore both players are heading back to the tee, now playing their 3rd shot.
Happy golfing and remember the Rules Matter.