Declaring "Ball in play" instead of "provisional"?

_MH_

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So if I slice one into the woods and play a "provisional" from the tee can I instead just declare it the "ball in play" (for 3 off the tee) and forget about the first one? And if so, does it need to be declared as such before I hit the ball (i.e. instead of calling it a provisional) or can I do it after I hit the ball (i.e. when I've striped my provisional 300 yards down the middle and don't want (me or anyone else) to look for my first one).

I'm aware I can't declare the first one lost, but this would amount to the much the same thing, no?

Some of the guys at my club do just this and I don't know if it's a rule or just "one bloke once said it" and now it's assumed to be a rule when in fact it's nonsense.
 

Jigger

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Say nowt, hit the 2nd ball and it's the ball in play......you can even go and pick the first one up.
A lot of people say " this is not a provo" just to be clear to the other players
Hmmm I would’ve thought if he’d hit the ball beyond the first and then found his original he have to play the first under two shot penalty for playing the wrong ball?

If he didn’t look for it then he’d be ok. Most people have a slight look for something easy but don’t dig any deeper
 

Imurg

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Hmmm I would’ve thought if he’d hit the ball beyond the first and then found his original he have to play the first under two shot penalty for playing the wrong ball?

If he didn’t look for it then he’d be ok. Most people have a slight look for something easy but don’t dig any deeper
If you've not declared the 2nd ball a Provisional then the first ball is out of play regardless of where it is...
 

cliveb

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As others have pointed out, if you fail to declare the 2nd ball a provisional BEFORE YOU PLAY IT, then it's the ball in play.

But the tone of the OP appears to be asking if you can decide whether a 2nd ball is a provisional or not after you've played it and seen how it goes. Of course you can't.
 

jim8flog

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So if I slice one into the woods and play a "provisional" from the tee can I instead just declare it the "ball in play" (for 3 off the tee) and forget about the first one? And if so, does it need to be declared as such before I hit the ball (i.e. instead of calling it a provisional) or can I do it after I hit the ball (i.e. when I've striped my provisional 300 yards down the middle and don't want (me or anyone else) to look for my first one).

I'm aware I can't declare the first one lost, but this would amount to the much the same thing, no?

Some of the guys at my club do just this and I don't know if it's a rule or just "one bloke once said it" and now it's assumed to be a rule when in fact it's nonsense.

Once you have declared the ball as a provisional it is exactly that. If you find the original ball you must pick up the provisional provided you have not hit another shot using the provisional from a point closer to the green than where the original ball maybe.

If you find the first ball in an unplayable lie you take steps according e.g go back to where you played the last shot from and play again

There are threads about whether or not you must search for the original ball.
 

Steven Rules

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So if I slice one into the woods and play a "provisional" from the tee can I instead just declare it the "ball in play" (for 3 off the tee) and forget about the first one?
The Rules do not make any provision for "declaring" a ball to be the ball in play. If you want the second ball to be a provisional then declare it as such before hitting it. If you want the second ball to be the ball in play regardless, then just hit it without saying anything. It is then automatically the ball in play. If you want a bet each way then read on...

And if so, does it need to be declared as such before I hit the ball (i.e. instead of calling it a provisional)
See above. You can't declare the second ball to be the ball in play. In the absence of a declaration that the second ball is a provisional then it is, automatically and by default, the ball in play.

or can I do it after I hit the ball (i.e. when I've striped my provisional 300 yards down the middle and don't want (me or anyone else) to look for my first one).
My guidance would be to declare (in advance) the second ball as a provisional. If you hit it well then politely suggest to the others in the group not to bother searching for the original. Then make your way briskly down the fairway and hit the provisional again and it is then the ball in play. (I've made an assumption here that as you have striped your provisional 300 yards down the middle then it is closer to the hole than where your original is likely to be.)

Take a few minutes to read 18.3b and 18.3c. This situation is explained pretty well there.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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The Rules do not make any provision for "declaring" a ball to be the ball in play. If you want the second ball to be a provisional then declare it as such before hitting it. If you want the second ball to be the ball in play regardless, then just hit it without saying anything. It is then automatically the ball in play. If you want a bet each way then read on...


See above. You can't declare the second ball to be the ball in play. In the absence of a declaration that the second ball is a provisional then it is, automatically and by default, the ball in play.


My guidance would be to declare (in advance) the second ball as a provisional. If you hit it well then politely suggest to the others in the group not to bother searching for the original. Then make your way briskly down the fairway and hit the provisional again and it is then the ball in play. (I've made an assumption here that as you have striped your provisional 300 yards down the middle then it is closer to the hole than where your original is likely to be.)

Take a few minutes to read 18.3b and 18.3c. This situation is explained pretty well there.
You can’t or you don’t need to? In such circumstances I have always stated that I am putting a new ball into play. You suggest that I am doing something wrong?
 

Steven Rules

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I said:
You can't declare the second ball to be the ball in play

You asked:
You can’t or you don’t need to?

You can say it if you like. If it comforts you and the others in your group. There is certainly no penalty for making such utterances. But, as I said originally, it is meaningless from a Rules perspective to do so:
The Rules do not make any provision for "declaring" a ball to be the ball in play.
 

backwoodsman

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To my mind, someone saying that 'I am playing stroke and distance', or saying 'this is not a provisional' offers a little bit of clarity as regards your intentions to those you are playing with. However, as StephenRules says, even if you do say it, the phrase has no bearing whether the ball is a provisional or not. It is the fact that you did not say ' this is a provisional' that makes your second ball the ball in play. You can't (ie it is not possible to) make a ball the ball in play by just saying so - no matter how many times you say it. It is simply the absence of saying 'this is a provisional' that does the trick.

But in reality, it is a bit of a moot point - as whoever has said 'this is not a provisional' and 'this is a provisional' in the same breath'?
 

Backsticks

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I would see on a somewhat frequent basis, players keeping their options open. Player says nothing. Hits the second ball. If the first ball is found and advantageous to play it, nobody will ever be the party pooper and insist the player play the first ball. If not found, then the second ball is played as if it were a provisional.
 

rulie

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I would see on a somewhat frequent basis, players keeping their options open. Player says nothing. Hits the second ball. If the first ball is found and advantageous to play it, nobody will ever be the party pooper and insist the player play the first ball. If not found, then the second ball is played as if it were a provisional.
That would be players not knowing or not applying the Rules. Players are expected to protect the field by ensuring that the Rules are applied. If you see it and don’t say anything, you are not meeting that expectation. 😕
 

Backsticks

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True, I am not. But too many people just dont know too many rules. It isnt worth the trouble correcting them, and I just prefer to get on with my own round.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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True, I am not. But too many people just dont know too many rules. It isnt worth the trouble correcting them, and I just prefer to get on with my own round.
In the example you gave there is absolutely no reason for anyone to ‘fear’ being deemed a ‘rules nazi’ or ‘party pooper’. It’s just the rules of the game.

We may not like some of them; we may find some of them a bit (or a lot) petty - but they are simply there to try and ensure fairness across the board to all players given the complex environment in which we play our actually very simple game, and for that and to others we are responsible.

Golf is not a ‘roll and move‘ board game of snakes and ladders whose rules can be learned in 5mins by a 5yr old. Without the rules, and if we do not learn and follow them, the game’s a bogey. It‘s always worth correcting and advising others on the rules. Always 👍
 

chrisd

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It‘s always worth correcting and advising others on the rules. Always 👍
Except, like a couple of weeks ago, when a ruling was needed for one of our players. He asked if the situation his ball had landed in, was he allowed a free drop, or whether it was a penalty drop. One of our group insisted it would be a penalty drop, i said it was, for certain a free drop and explained why . The other guy was absolutely adamant it was a penalty drop and would not accept my reasoned judgement, and because the other guy was very loud and persuasive the player went with his argument and took relief under penalty.

When we got in he sought an answer and i was right (which i was absolutely certain of) but the other guy was very loud and persuasive.
 

Slab

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Except, like a couple of weeks ago, when a ruling was needed for one of our players. He asked if the situation his ball had landed in, was he allowed a free drop, or whether it was a penalty drop. One of our group insisted it would be a penalty drop, i said it was, for certain a free drop and explained why . The other guy was absolutely adamant it was a penalty drop and would not accept my reasoned judgement, and because the other guy was very loud and persuasive the player went with his argument and took relief under penalty.

When we got in he sought an answer and i was right (which i was absolutely certain of) but the other guy was very loud and persuasive.

Did you consider trying the oft-touted (but generally pointless) advice in this situation of waving a rule book &/or betting your house on the outcome :p
 
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