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Ruling Range - May 2017

May 9, 2017
The Dilemma
On the heels of ten great drives in a row, you ask a little too much from the driver and yank one left into the woods. After hearing the ball crack a few tree limbs, you presume it lost, declare a provisional and hit a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway. Walking up the fairway dejected, you take your obligatory five minutes to search for your first drive and come up with nada. You then locate your 2nd drive in the fairway, hit a nice approach and begin walking towards the green. Ten steps into your walk towards the green, you notice a ball is sitting in the second cut a few steps from the woods. You know right away that it’s your first drive. Your golf buddy sees the same thing. “Hey,” he says excitedly, “that’s your first drive buddy… Go ahead and play it!”

Is your friend’s suggestion correct? Can you play your first drive without incurring a penalty?

The Ruling

Unfortunately, you declared your first drive lost when five minutes of looking for it expired and you advanced an approach shot from your provisional. But don’t fret, the story has a happy ending. After the two-stroke penalty for a lost ball, you rolled in a 30-footer for bogey, and of course, you swung a little easier on the next hole and hit that driver right up the gut.