Lost Golf Balls & Common Courtesy Beginners Golfer Should Know

What happens if you lose your ball from a bad shot? Specific golf regulations state that when a ball is lost from a shot that you made, you have to start over again at the exact location in which you hit the ball from, and make the shot again.  In addition to this rule, you must also add a penalty stroke to your score card.

Beginners typically have a very tough time with this rule because, as most newbie golfers play, many of their shots have a tendency to veer far left or far right of their intended target. When this happens, golf balls may get lost in ravines, deep bushes, high grass, or any other area that seems to enjoy eating golf balls. Unfortunately, you’re only next move is to start over again and penalize yourself.

Avoid Searching For The Ball If You Think It Is Lost

Etiquette on the golf course in this type of situation calls for some common sense in the ability to avoid wasting both your time and the other players’ time by looking for the ball. Most often you can tell after making a shot whether or not the golf ball is lost, or at least if it will take a long time to find.

The best course of action is to stop, let your partners know that you think the ball is lost, and then make the shot over again from the same area (called a provisional ball).

The advantage here is that you avoid wasting time with looking for the ball in the first place.  Sometimes, searching for those tiny little golf balls can be the equivalent to looking for a needle in a haystack.  Trust me, your friends will appreciate proper etiquette.

You May Choose To Look For The Lost Ball After Your Provisional Shot

Of course you can still go looking for the lost ball, only after hitting your provisional shot, so long the new shot lands on the fairway somewhere near where the other ball went out of bounds.

The regulations state that you have just five minutes to take a look and recruit your friends to help you. If you do not find the ball, you must continue with the provisional ball.  However, if you do find the ball then you must play the ball as your next shot, even if the provisional ball is in a much better position.

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