Rule of the Week
Sept. 14, 2018

DECISION 15/5 - Original Ball Found and Played After Another Ball Put into Play

QUESTION: Dave was unable to find his ball after a brief search drops another ball (Ball B) under Rule  27-1  and plays it (not where he previously played from). Dave then finds his original ball within five minutes after a search for it began. Dave lifted Ball B and continued to play with the original ball. Was this correct?
ANSWER: No. When Dave put the substituted ball into play at the spot of the previous stroke with the intent to play a ball under rule  27-1 , he proceeded under an applicable rule. Therefore, Rule  20-6  does not apply (known as the eraser rule allowing the player to pick up his ball and proceed correctly), and he must continue with the substituted ball (see Decision  27-1/2 ) . The original ball was lost when Ball B was dropped under Rule  27-1  (see Definition of "Lost Ball").
When Dave lifted Ball B, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule  18-2 . When he made a stroke with the original ball after it was out of play, he played a wrong ball (see Definitions of "Ball in Play" and "Wrong Ball") and incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or an additional penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rule  15-3 ) . In stroke play, the player would be disqualified if, before playing from the next teeing ground, he did not correct his error (Rule  15-3b ).
Although this decision seems hard to believe, it happens almost every week in recreational play. Remember, playing under the rules doesn't take more time but it will save you a few strokes in the long run.   

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Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf Matter
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Authored by Brian Lee, Executive Director of Golf SK

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