Mark Your Golf Ball

Mark Your Golf Ball

PGA Pros receive a monthly magazine with insider information that I like to share with my golfing friends when I feel it might be beneficial to them.  This is one of those situations.

Make Sure to Mark Your Golf Ball!

This article was by Larry Startzel, PGA Professional.

At a recent stroke play event, a player pulled his tee shot toward a lateral water hazard.  When he got to the area, he found two golf balls a few feet apart with identical markings. Both balls were the same brand and had the same number association logo on the side.  One ball was just outside the hazard and the other was just in the lateral hazard.  Neither ball had an identifying mark on it. Next time, mark your golf ball!

golf-rules-change-2014Twice in the rules (Rule 6-5 and Rule 12-2) it is stated: “The responsibility for playing the proper ball rests with the player.  Each player should put an identification mark on his ball.” This situation is a perfect example of why the Rules encourage such an action. Mark your golf ball.

Although there was a plentiful and highly competent Rules staff at the event, players were encouraged to invoke Rule 3-3 (Doubt as to procedure) if they encountered a difficult situation and an official was not readily available.

With this in mind, the player announced his intention to play two balls under Rule 3-3.  He dropped one ball from the lateral hazard and played the other ball outside the hazard.  He holed out with both balls and completed the round reporting the situation to an official in the scoring tent.  Usually proceedings under Rule 3-3 in stroke play saves a player from having a Rules problem when in doubt of what to do.  This situation, however, had a twist to it.

Here’s why.  Decision 27-10 states that if two identical balls are found in the same area and the player cannot identify one as his, then his ball is deemed lost – i.e. neither ball is considered to be his.

Thus, the player should have returned to the tee and played under stroke and distance.  Since he did not and then played from the next teeing ground, he was disqualified for a serious breach of Rule 27.  What they call on tour a “trunk slammer.”

Make sure you mark your golf ball with a clear identifying mark on your golf ball and show it to your competitors on the first tee.  If you’re changing balls during a round make sure you announce that to our competitors as well.

Bottom line, mark your golf ball!