Misunderstood Rules 8: Playing a Provisional

So many players use a phrase like “I’ll hit another”, “I’m going to re-load”, or “I’ll try again” which do not “Clearly Indicate” the intention that the stroke to be made will be a provisional ball.

If you intend to play a provisional ball, you must clearly indicate your intention before you play the stroke. When I am playing with someone who is about to replay a shot, but hasn’t stated that it is to be a provisional I normally ask “Is this going to be a provisional?” – a simple “Yes” or “No” then clarifies their intent.

Of course, if your intention is that you will play out the hole with the ball you are about to put in play then do not declare it to be provisional and it will then become your ball in play as soon as you hit it.

Also, don’t forget that if the original ball is found within the 3 minute search period, it is the ball in play – you do not have the option to play on with your provisional ball.

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