Rules of the Game: Ball-eating rough

QUESTION: Terry and Roman are playing in a tournament. On one of the holes, Terry strokes his ball to the right rough, which includes a water hazard—it’s so rough it could eat up a ball and is past the out of bounds markers. If the ball could possibly come to rest in the water hazard, Roman says Terry is precluded from playing a provisional ball as a provisional ball can only be played if the ball is lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds. Is Roman correct?

ANSWER: Even though the ball may be in the hazard, it also may be lost outside the water hazard or out of bounds. Terry plays a provisional ball, which is legal. If the ball is found in the water hazard, the provisional ball must be picked up and the original ball played under the water hazard rules. Roman is incorrect. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2016-2017, 27-2a/2.2.

Golf clinics continue on Saturday mornings, 10:30-12:00. We continue to work on individual concerns. Private lessons can also be arranged by calling GMNGC (422-GOLF). Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.

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