4. Rule 27-2 – Provisional Ball
If you intend to play a provisional ball you must “…announce to your opponent in match play or marker or fellow-competitor in stroke play that you intend to play a provisional ball.”
Additionally, Decision 27-2a/1 specifically rules that the player’s statement must mention the words “provisional ball” or must make it clear that they are proceeding under Rule 27-2a.
The following statements do not satisfy the requirements of announcing a provisional ball:
- That might be lost. I’m going to reload
- That might be out of here
- I’d better hit another one
- I will never find that one. I’ll play another
If the player does not follow these requirements, they have to put a ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance, and the original ball is lost.
If the golfer subsequently plays the original ball, he or she is deemed to have played a wrong ball and must correct the error as prescribed in Rule 15-3.