Local Rule E-5
We have adopted most all the new rules that came out in 2019. The one rule that we did not adopt was Local Rule E-5. This rule states that if you either lose or hit your ball out of bounds you can, with a 2 shot penalty drop your ball on the edge of the fairway nearest you and no nearer the hole from where you think the ball ended up or where it crossed the out of bounds boundary. SCGA, NCGA and USGA do not use this rule in any of their tournaments and neither will we.
Hitting a provisional ball
You hit your shot and you have no idea where it ended up. It could be lost, or it could be out of bounds. You can’t see any markers that define a penalty area in that general area, and no one in your foursome knows if there is a penalty area where you hit it. Under these circumstances you can hit a provisional ball to speed up play. You have to say the word “Provisional” to your playing partners, so they know what your intention is. If you don’t say the word “Provisional” you forfeited your first ball. You do not have to say what you are hitting a provisional for, just the word PROVISIONAL. Once you get to the area of your first ball and there is paint or stakes that defines a Red or Yellow penalty area you can proceed with playing your ball under the rules of golf. If it is “marked out of bounds” or there are no markings and you can’t find your ball within 3 minutes you can deem it lost and go hit your provisional under stroke and distance. If it’s a penalty area (Lateral Hazard), determine where you crossed the penalty line and drop within two club lengths no nearer the hole. You can also take a line from where it crossed the hazard line and inline with the flag stick and go back as far as you want. Pick up your provisional ball and move on.
18.3 Provisional Ball
- When Provisional Ball Is Allowed
But if you are aware that the only possible place your original ball could be lost is in a penalty area, a provisional ball is not allowed and a ball played from where the previous stroke was made becomes your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.
- Announcing Play of Provisional Ball
It is not enough for you only to say that you are playing another ball or are playing again.
You must use the word “provisional” or otherwise clearly indicate that you are playing the ball provisionally under Rule 18.3.
If you did not announce this (even if you intended to play a provisional ball) and played a ball from where the previous stroke was made, that ball is your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.