Video Series

Video Transcript

This next ruling is probably one of the most popular rulings and probably one of the most misunderstood rulings that people have when they're on the golf course. And it covers a golf ball either going out of bounds or being lost. And actually the ruling is the stroke and distance rule as we talk about it and the ruling is very similar. So let's imagine that way back up on this corner here, we've got the teeing ground. We're playing to the red flag here over my shoulder and then here down on the left hand side you can see we've got the white out of bounds fence. When the ball has been played off the tee, and it’s bounced out of bounds.

Now anything that's to the left hand side of the out-of-bounds fence here is out. Now if I walk down here and I find my golf ball is out of bounds, I only have one option. There is no choice here. The thing I have to do is pick my ball up, o all the way back to the tee and go again. And it's what we talk about is stroke and distance penalty. So you add a stroke and then you take the distance off, and you go again. So you’d be standing back up on that tee hitting your third shot. So it's one off the tee, two is your penalty. You are now hitting number three.

There is not an option when I've gone out of bounds, just to drop the golf ball back on this side of the fence and add a penalty shot on. It's a stroke and distance penalty. This is where I would encompass the provisional ball rule or the three-off the tee rule. So if I went on the tee and I can clearly see my ball is out of bounds, there's no point walking all the way down here to find it, to go back and do it again. And also if I've hit the ball from there and it's gone out. I might as well just stand there and hit my three off the tee straight away. I know it’s out of bounds.

I stay there, I hit my second shot which is effectively my third shot now because I’ve added the penalty on and I get that ball in play. Now if the ball is landed on the perimeter line, I'm standing up here. I'm not sure whether it's in or whether it's out. I have the option to hit a provisional ball. So a provisional ball is effectively a spare ball just in case. So I’d hit my ball, I will declare it’s a provisional. This is not my three of tee ball. This is my provisional ball. I'm not sure about this one. I hit my provisional down, down onto the fairway here. I can then come down here and look for this ball.

Now if this ball is in bounds, brilliant, play this ball, no penalties. Pick that one up and carry on. If this ball is out of bounds, then I have to pick that ball up because I can't play that. It's out. I take my stroke and my distance penalty, but I've already hit my second ball into play. Now carry on with that one. I've played three. I'm hitting number four from there. Now an extra little bit of that rule is if you take your provisional ball and then you top it and it doesn't go very far, you can hit it again and again. And play it up to a point where you think your first ball might be.

Once you've then found your first ball or not in bounds or out of bounds, you can then go and carry on playing that one. So it doesn't matter if I’ve hit it two or three times. If this one is safe, pick that one up still. So you are just playing it to a point. It’s a practical rule. You're playing it to a point where it's level to this one. Then you find this one and carry on. And the same applies to a lost golf ball. So if you’ve hit the ball into the trees, you can't find it, there's no option that says I'll just drop it down somewhere around here and carry on.

If you can't find, it's lost. If you've looked for it for five minutes, you can't see it, it's lost. It's back to the tee time. So if you hit it and it goes into the trees, you think that might be lost, I'll hit my provisional. The same as the out of bounds rule get the ball back in play. Then choose well then have a look if you can find it and it's in bounds and it's playable, carry on. If it's lost or if it’s out of bounds you've got your provisional ball in play and carry on. Understanding that provisional ball out of bounds rule like you say it's not very well understood by a lot of golfers. Make sure you know it.

Get your rulebook out if you need to check it and make sure you get that one right. Because we don't add any extra penalties because we're breaking the rules.