"I'll Hit a Provisional"
We all have had the misfortune of hitting a wayward shot once in a while. However, we know that in order to save time, we can hit a provisional ball provided the original ball may be lost outside of a water hazard or out of bounds. The question is, in what order?
The Order of Play is addressed in Rule 10 and a Provisional Ball is covered by Rule 27-2.
Let’s look at two different situations; a provisional ball from the teeing ground and one other than from the teeing ground.
From the Teeing Ground
Rule 10-3 specifically states that a provisional ball or another ball played from the teeing ground should be played after all of the other players in your group have hit their tee shots. Only then, should you go ahead and hit your provisional ball. If more than one of you in the group needs to hit a provisional ball, the original order should be maintained.
In other words, don’t just reach into your back pocket and slap another one on the tee. Take a minute to let the other players play, take a deep breath, regroup and then go ahead and hit a provisional in the proper order.
Other than from the Teeing Ground
Once you do get one in play off the tee and you happen to thereafter hit a stray shot that may be lost outside of a water hazard or out of bounds, once again you do have the option of playing a provisional ball. This time the order of play is a little different.
Since different players in your group may be in different positions on the hole, the provisional ball should be hit by you immediately (Decision 10/4).
What’s the penalty if you play out of turn? There is none. In stroke play it is a breach of etiquette. In match play, your opponent may immediately require you to cancel and replay the stroke in the proper order.
Remember, use the 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.