Know the Rules: When is a ball lost?

There is often a misunderstanding as to when a ball is lost. Some players think you can declare a ball to be lost. As you can see from the definition of when a ball is lost it is not lost by declaration. Here is the definition:

Lost Ball

A ball is deemed “lost” if:

  1. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s sideor his or their caddieshave begun to search for it; or
  2. The player has made a strokeat a provisional ballfrom the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b); or
  3. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance under Rule 26-1a27-1or 28a; or
  4. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency(see Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction(see Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1b or c); or
  5. The player has made a strokeat a substituted ball.

Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five-minute period allowed for search.

Bill Pultz, CMGC Rules Chairman

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