Palm Trees and Golf Balls Don't Mix

At the recent Super-Senior Championship conducted on the Bear Course of the Forest Country Club in Fort Myers, there were two separate incidents I was involved with regarding golf balls in palm trees.

The first occurred on the seventh hole when a player who had pushed his tee shot right of the fairway, attempted a recovery shot. His attempt resulted in his ball striking, rather quickly, one of a couple of interfering trees. We all watched and listened for the ball to strike the ground to no avail. When it became apparent that no one had seen or heard the ball come down, the player asked if he could play a provisional ball in case their searching forward of the area turned up nothing. I said it would be a good idea.

After briefly searching the area of the trees, one of his fellow competitors thought he saw a part of a ball about ten feet up in a palm tree; unidentifiable. He reached for a club to knock the ball out of the tree. I asked him to wait just a second and asked the player, “If this turns out to be your ball, would he take an unplayable lie?” He responded that yes he would.

The initial try with the club was unsuccessful. The player then decided to climb the tree using the “ladder steps” near the trunk from which the fronds had been cut. I stood by hoping to not be needed in case he fell. Remember, this is a man 65 years of age or older climbing a palm tree!

His efforts were rewarded as he removed the ball and confirmed the markings to be his. He descended and I assisted him with his unplayable drop.

The second situation occurred on the third hole. I noticed a group of players searching on the right side of the hole beyond the dogleg. I started my watch and joined in the search.

As the group searched the rough, one of the players said “Unbelievable, we saw it rolling right down the cart path!”

I looked and noted an extension of the path would put the ball near the right rough in the vicinity of a palm tree. I told the player I just had been involved with an incident on the seventh hole with a player whose ball had been found in a palm tree.

A light went off in my head. I walked over to the palm tree and, sure enough, the ball had settled into the palm tree about three feet off the ground. It must have struck something on the path and hopped up into the tree.

Once again, I assisted this player with his unplayable ball options.

Remember, use the definitions, index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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