For spectators and beginner golfers, golf can be a complex and thought-provoking game. Compared to other sports, players and audience need a lot of focus to play or understand the game. Mastering the different equipment as well in the assortment of clubs and balls is a skill in itself. Professionals most probably have spent a whole lot of time and effort to perfect the swing. However, for those who genuinely want to learn and appreciate the game better, they must familiarize themselves with standard and rules that comprise the sport. One issue that beginners might encounter during their games is the concern of a lost ball and how long players are allowed to find it. Specific rules apply in these cases.
Explaining the Lost Ball
Lost balls are officially recognized when the player declares his golf ball as lost. This declaration can occur immediately after the play when the player is confident that the ball can no longer be found such as in cases when it lands on a body of water. Another situation is when the player or the player’s caddie search for the ball for more than five minutes and is unable to find it. In this case, the ball is officially declared as “lost.” When players attempt to advance their balls in the playing area, they might encounter the issue of the lost ball. In this case, the player is given a distance penalty and a single stroke penalty. According to the official rules of the sport and the governing body that is the United States Golf Association (USGA), there is a procedure to follow in cases like this. If the ball was not found, the player who lost it could resume playing with a new ball set on the nearest possible spot where the lost ball was played. However, the player earns a one-stroke penalty. In addition to this procedure, other rules apply in the varied cases where a player loses the ball.
Other Circumstances of Lost Balls
Some other factors or situations might affect the ruling of lost balls. An example of this case is when a ball is hit out of bounds. This happens when the player hits the ball, and it lands outside the playing area or the boundaries of the golf course. In this case, the ball is treated as a lost ball already. The player hits a new ball in the spot nearest where the original ball was hit. However, he will lose one stroke as his penalty. Another situation is a player hitting a Provisional Ball. This happens when the player who hits the ball has hit it out of bounds or had made it land on an area where the ball will be likely lost. After discussing with the other players, the player is allowed to hit a new ball in the same place as the original. There is also a situation in golf where a ball is declared as “lost in a hazard.” This is the case when the ball lands on a body of water. The player follows the ruling on water hazards. In this case, the player may hit a new ball in place of the lost golf ball’s original spot with a one-stroke penalty.