"I am playing a provisional ball"

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"I am playing a provisional ball"
Does it make a differnce what you declare if you've hit a bad un? My matchplay opponent the other day described a previous game in which his opponent hit a wild tee shot and then said "I'll hit another". My opponent asked him if he was sure. When the lad said yes, my opponent informed him the second ball was now in play, regardless of whether he found the first... just because he didn't say the magic "provisional" word. Was my opponent guilty of sharp practice, or was the fella he was playing just daft? Your thoughts please.

No - perfectly legit. Sharp? - flippin' razor... "I'll hit another" means to me that my first ball is out of play and I am playing 3 off the tee."I am hitting a provisional" means just that.... but you would have to be pretty pedantic to use it, or a bad sportsman... perhaps it was an attempt at sledging? Hope you stuffed the guy?

Another what???? what ball?

i get this rule now-i think! lolif he says i'll hit a provisonal....then finds his first ball, the provisional is no longer an option if he for example declares his first unplayable and his provisional drove the green. he has to go replay shot under the rules of declaring first ball unplayable.whereas if he says i'll hit another or this is 3 off the tee or anything which isn't 'provisional'...first ball is out of play even if found to be in the hole :)

Surely saying 'I'll hit another' does absolutely nothing, it's the actual act of hitting the second ball that makes it count? So if the guy said 'I'll hit another' and was immediately told his next would be the ball in play he could have just said that in that case he wouldn't hit it and would go back to the tee if necessary. You cannot declare your ball lost, only unplayable, and he certainly didn't do that, so until another ball is struck his first one remains in play.However, if he said 'I'll hit another', proceeded to hit another tee shot AND THEN the opponent made his statement that it was the ball in play then I think he is in the right, as the rules state that you must declare that the ball is your provisional, which he did not do.I'm not sure that it's playing to the spirit of the rules either way though, but I guess some people just want to win more than anything else.

I am putting a provisional in play and this ball is

If the first ball is holed, the hole is finished, a the player scores a hole-in-one.The fact that he plays a new ball or a provisional ball does not change this.

Stu - yup it is the act of hitting another without announcing that it is a provisional that causes the problem. This act makes it the ball in play (to use golf rules-ey speak) and puts the original ball out of play.Announcing it is a provisioanl ball means just that, that you are playing it provisionally in case your original ball is lost.If you play 2 balls without annoucing one is a provisional than the 2nd ball is the ball in play, regardless.

Dunc - Yep, I realise that, what I was trying to work out from the original post is whether or not the opponent said what he said before or after he actually hit a 2nd ball. If he said it before then he should have just changed his mind and not hit another one! The way that the post reads it sounds like the opponent is saying that just saying 'I'll hit another' makes the first ball null and void.

Stu-pid i would have agreed about the spirit of the rules until i had it happen to me in a medal (so didn't really affect me) but my mate took 4 balls off the tee without declaring any provisional and then found his 2nd shot and decided to play his 4th shot. I explained the rule to him but he thought i was being pedantic. As has previously been said i should have not signed his card, and i won't in future. The difference is ignorance is not an excuse for him anymore.admittedly this is an extreme example.but in this instance i would have said to the opponent - you do realise the difference between hitting a provisional and hitting another?

RD - cheers for the heads up on the ball in hole situ

From what I understand, the player said "I'll hit another" instead of "I'll hit a provisional" then did so. His opponent then said ball 2 is in play, even if you find the first, you are three off the tee, because you didn't announce it as a provisional."By all accounts on here, my opponent acted correctly. I thought he was a bit tight to do that, but from the comments above, he was merely playing by the rules.BTW - I beat him on the last and am now in the finals of the club knockout.

you often hear the phrase " I'd better hit another just in case"now i know he means a provisional and thats what the guy hitting it does mean but you are now saying that the 2nd ball is in play regardless because he hasnt used the word "provisional" in the sentence?

You walk up the fairway by the out of bounds,one is just in ,the other out.Oh it was this one!.

I might get hit on the head now, but I would accept the phrase:" I'd better hit another just in case".To me there would be no doubt that the player meant a provisional ball. I would not let a player get away with:"I'll hit another".

I think that sounds fair RD. It seems pedantic to insist the magic word "provisional" is used, if you know the other player's intention is to hit another in case he cannot find the first.

cheers RD, one up for common sense

I agree. 'just in case' is what people normally say and that's what I'd accept (and normally say myself). If someone pulled me up for saying that and not specifying 'provisional' in a matchplay game then I'd be a bit upset to say the least. If however I said 'I'll play another' then I'd agree that there's enough doubt there to warrant a challange.

If as he/she pulls the ball out his bag he says "i'll hit another just in case", i'd assume it was a provisional too. No problem - or should be no problem.But having read this and previous similar threads on the matter and been in the situation i described above, i think i'd NOW say "so are you saying that's a provisional?"Just to be clear.I know it sound pedantic. But otherwise we are just batting balls round a field as someone once said!And i would further add if it was the same mate "you do know the difference between hitting another and a provisional". :)This way i'd hope the person would not get annoyed at not knowing the rules or bending\breaking the rules albeit without knowing.Good thread.

Please don't take my posistion on this as a sluggish attitude to the playing of a provisional ball.If there's any doubt what so ever, the player is three of the tee, so using the word provisional is the right thing.This is from Decision 27-2a/1:"The following are examples of statements that do not satisfy the requirement of announcing a provisional ball: (a)

Might have been more sporting to have asked "Are you playing a Provisional ball then ?" before the ball was hit, but if you want to win that badly I suppose it's OK.....maybe I don't have the killer instinct for matchplay :-)

I am willing to acknowledge the difference between a "provisional" ball and a "three off the tee" but i think if theres a chance of finding the first in play but to save coming back to the tee if this is not the case, then the ball played "just in case" is fairly considered a provisional even if that word hasnt been used.statement D above clearly says to me that the player is declaring his ball "unplayable" or in a normal person's speak "lost" ;), whereas i think its harsh on the player in statement A, he has clearly said that he isnt sure if the ball is playable and thinks he should hit another. The phrase re-load is a bit ambiguous i'll grant you as its golf-slang if you will, but if I said that i would feel aggrieved at being called up.not that my tee shots are ever out of the middle of the fairway you understand ;)

trouble seems to follow tom wilkinson around, he's asked me to be his 'minder' for the final.

in all honesty, i agree with the lad that called the penalty. At the end of the day, he's hedging his bets. Who's to say if he had found his ball in a bad spot he wouldn't have said "just aswell i played another" ? That is why the rule is so specific. I'd probably have said nowt but my piss would have been boiling up nicely until i couldn't hit the ball 10 yards and i'd lost 6&5.I'd then have found a little guy in the clubhouse and hit him.

I don't think the lad my opponent pulled up was all that bright/calculating. Apparently he made the same mistake more than once during their match :)In our game, I was very careful to announce "I'm playing a provisional" when I was unsure if I'd knocked one OB. I would not have been so precise had he not mentioned it previously, so he did me a favour.

Is it me?Whats the problem given we speak english to sayI'm playing a provisional and this is a titliest 3 as opposed to a 2?.

Ah, but Gil, how many Titliest 2s and 3s do you think had been hit on that hole in that week? Still no guarantee!

It is if your opponent does what all sensible golfers do, and mark their ball with a unique identifier.We all do that, don't we? Yeah thought so.

gil - for once we agree. :)stu - the ball would obviously be marked clearly with gil's two circles that he uses :) i write my initials on my maxfli rev tours - although never found one that wasnt mine! :)

Pedants the lot of you, in most cases its pretty obvious that 1 ball is around about the line of some stakes, and the second may or may not have rolled into a ditch with some water in, whilst the first was a nike, i think, and the second ball was definitely a Srixon, or a wilson maybe. I'd better hit another.

Golf Bhoy - When playing in Portugal last year 2 of our group hit their balls onto the wrong fairway. As we wandered over we saw another bloke approaching and only 2 balls sitting in the middle of the fairway. To cut a long story short, all 3 were playing Pro V 1s, all 3 were number 1s and all 3 had a black dot above the number to identify it!Sometimes not even an identifying mark sorts out the problems.

Using the same subtle method of identifying as everyone else hardly uniquely identifies the ball, especially when its a ProV1!I'm really at a loss at to why its so prevalent to mark a ball with a dot. Maybe its considered uncool to write your name on it but thats what I do, twice, each "side" in large black sharpie one side and large blue sharpie the other side, then no matter what its orientation I can tell its mine, and mine alone. If its a course where I may have lost a ball previously I also put the date on the thing if its a tournie.I think it should be a rule that you have to mark your ball with you naqme and the date when playing in a comp.As I understand the rule you have to be able to positively identify the ball as being yours. As so many other people are using the same identifyer on their balls then in reality you can never identify your ball, and so its lost after every shot :)

creosote, where on earth do you play that there's a possibility a ball you lost on a previous visit would miraculously turn up on your next one, the moon ?haha, surely you've more chance of knee trembler with natalie gulbis ?

PC - it not uncommon.the players the US Open had that very problem this year and that was only over the space of 1 week. Hence dating their balls.Imagine your home course!

Played with someone today whose initial is R and he marks his balls R1 and R2. Keeps the R2s for use as a provisional if required.

Creosote, I mark my ball by writing my name on it, "Joe".That's your name too isn't it?not so unique after all then!

this is getting ridiculous, you'll be putting your address and postcode on next.

I know it's not possible at club level, but the pro's submit their "marking" to the starter on the 1st tee. He can then check that each is unique and can't be mistaken for another competitor's.

Rule 27-2a specifically provides that the player must inform his opponent, marker or fellow-competitor that he intends to play a provisional ball. The player

GB - in which pro tournaments do the starters cross check ball markings?I can't imagine a starter checking 156 different ball mark, and comparing them (There are several starters through the day), and it isn't done on the Challenge Tour or on Ladies European Tour.The pro-players have to tell the starter the type of ball on the first tee, and thats the requirement on balls.(European Tour Hard Card, specification of the ball - one-ball condition)The Rules are to my knowledge quite satisfied that the player must be able to identify his own ball. The FAQ on R&A home page specifis that the player can mark his ball as he wish.

Not having been to the 1st tee at a pro tournament, I can only state what I've seen on TV, and go by the commentator's word (Sky Sports - Steve Beddow maybe?).If that's not the case then fair enough. As long as the player and the rest of the group can ID them that's all that counts.

Ahh........ tv-commentators....A player arrives to the first tee, shows the ball to the starter, who looks at it and writes something down.Type of ball - not markings.

reminds me of captains day last year. The captain was cheerily sending everyone on their waay from the 1st tee "identify your balls gentlemen". The three ball all mumbled what balls they were using and the captain said to one of them "a titliest 4 eh ? quite a lot of them on the course, what if your ball lands on the fairway of another hole and someone playing that hole is also using a titleist 4, how will you identify it" ?clearly flustered, the lad stomped back to his bag, rummaged around for a few seconds before sarastically saying to the captain, "a titleist 3 any better then" ?

The provisional ball rule does seem a little pedantic at first, but it serves to make certain that there is no misunderstanding.You can declare a ball lost from the Tee, so if you play another it becomes the ball in play, so making it a rule that a provisional must be declared as such makes sure that there is no misunderstanding on the part of either party as to exactly what the status of the ball being played is.The rule is fair to both parties.Although it would not matter too much in a friendly game, it is still a good idea to practice the correct format/terminology so that it becomes a habit and you don't cost yourself a shot in a match or tournament.I am not trying to teach Granny, egg sucking technique here, just making the case for the rule.

Made I laugh the other week. I am reasonably well known for knowing what type of ball most are. Somebody came up to me and said "I've got a Precept 22 here never heard of them before what is it?" he continues "I know about Precepts but not their 22" !!!.

Fair do's Kim. I raised the question because it was something I had never properly considered in almost 20 years of golf (on and off). I've hit many a provisional, and probably declared them as such, but had not realised how important it was to use the P word precisely.

Sometimes the rules of golf are quite sensible, sometimes bloody daft!Surely in the spirit of the game, we all know what is intended, and quite honestly, if someone is that despearate to win, they can shove their round up their...........with a 3 iron wrapped round their neck. According to somewhere above, cannot remember where, i would therefore be called up for saying "I think that maybe OOB therefere I am playing a provisional. My provisional is a Titleist Pro V1x No 3 with Fengibbon written on it."Oops, did i not mention the word Ball?

A simple "I'll hit a provo" will do.

Not in Northern Ireland RD.


So me using the phrase that I am about to hit an Irishman is not good enough.