You just finished using a timer to get into the hole and find your original ball in it. Rare, but it happens. So what do you put on your scorecard? Steve Carroll explains
When this poser popped up in my inbox, I initially dismissed it as one of a million rules-of-a-million scenarios that, while really cool and weird, probably don’t happen enough to keep you all interested.
Then, as if fate had stepped in, I received a separate email outlining roughly the same scenario. deja vu? Or a sign? I’ll go with the latter and finish it.
This is the situation. It’s a value of 3 where you can’t see much of the science and there’s trouble in all directions. You hit the head but you don’t see where it is.
Worried about its location, you advertise and play temporarily. You get to the green, and you spend three minutes looking for the first ball but can’t find it.
Disappointed, you can go ahead and play the makeshift, which is on the green, and you now think the ball is in play under kicks and distance penalty.
After you throw the ball twice, you can reach the cup only to see your original ball also at the bottom.
So what now? Is it a hole in one or a double phantom? Either way, the players who called me chose to write the latter on their scorecard. But were they right?
Golf Rules Explained: Our Expert Says…
This sounds complicated but the answer is revealed right in the introduction to the rulebook. In rule 1.1, no less.
In fact, it is clear that if you stop for a second and think about what the game really is – what is its purpose.
Let us give you the definition of R&A and USGA. “Each hole begins with a kick from the launch area and ends when the ball is punched in the shooting area.”
I got you? That’s right. Once your original ball goes into the hole, it’s over. Everything else, temporary, inspection, blows, did not count. The hole is complete the moment the ball is in the hole after you hit it.
So get your wallet, you’re buying a drink for everyone. You hit the perfect picture.
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