New rule for 2019: Lost and OB balls


This one says the committee can make a rule that you can opt to drop a lost or OB ball in the vicinity of where you lost or hit the ball out of bounds — including in the nearest fairway — under a two-stroke penalty.

First, there is no committee for casual rounds. Therefore, everyone will continue ignoring the rule and drop nearby taking only one stroke. They should have made it an overall rule.

But also, in a competition with this rule (which, by the way, is not intended for the professional or elite-levels), who the heck is going to drop the ball to have their fourth stroke rather than go back, hit again, and have their third stroke nearby?


I think it is fourth stroke to fourth stroke in your scenario (laying three, hitting four - tee ball OB then approach shot). It all boils down to angle/tree/etc to see if re-teeing is a better option or the two stroke penalty. On my course, it would honestly be a 50-50.


wsw123 is right here. Let’s say you tee off on a par 4 and lose it OB. Under current rules, you re-tee (you’re now hitting your 3rd shot) and it lands safely. Your approach is now your 4th shot

Under this 2019 rule, you drop inbounds and you’re hitting your 4th shot. Same idea.

Good change to the rules as there is Nothing good about losing a ball and not having hit a provisional and you’re basically out of the hole unless you go back to the tee (and piss off the group behind you)


drop it, hit it, move on


Great rule change (and something a lot of casual golfers already do – although I think most of them only take a one-shot penalty).


I play in a golf society which has this as a society rule (two shot penalty and drop where ball was lost / OB).

Does help a lot. Sadly there are many other factors that make the rounds last a long time (but that’s more to do with the members of the society than the rules of the game!)


I agree. I had to re-read all of this a few times.

Sounds like the most common way most of us have been handling this situation has been totally wrong.

Typically, what I see:
Par 4, you hit slice it into woods/bushes… you cant find it… you walk backwards on the line in which you think the ball entered the woods… you eventually drop the ball back in the rough/fairway and call it “1 into the woods, 2 out of the woods, I now lie 3 and still have a chance to par the hole if I can get up and down”.

As in, you only were assessed a 1 stroke penalty.

Sounds like it should have always been a 2 stroke penalty. I’ve played a ton of golf in the past few years and never seen the 2 stroke penalty.


One-shot penalty, five-shot penalty, who cares? If you’re just playing casually, you’re only playing against yourself anyway.

I have played in groups with a bit of money on the line, in which case I would always re-tee if I went OB, but I know for a fact a lot of other people in the groups would play the one-stroke penalty and move on.


Also the maximum score rule is the best, especially for beginners. If you can’t get it in 4 or 6 over par, just pick up and give the next hole again. You’ll get better eventually (hopefully)


Tells you everything you want to know about how to follow the new rule.


I baffled by all of this.
How have so many of us been getting away with the ole “one in, two out, lying 3” method for so long? I have played in plenty of semi-legit club tournaments in which both me and my opponents have agreed that was perfectly acceptable way to handle a lost ball.

It makes perfect sense to me now that a 2 stroke penalty should be assessed (in lieu of going back to the tee, since, in theory if you went back to tee and hit a good shot you would be lying 3, not 2).

I’m just shocked that I have never run into someone who has said “no, either you go back and re-tee, or you can take the ‘time saving’ / edge of the woods drop but its going to cost you 2 strokes, not 1”.


Can you take relief under the new rule if you hit a provisional?

Let’s say I hook one into an area where it may not be found or may be out of bounds, then I announce a provisional and smoke it right down the middle. Under the old rules I’m laying 3 at my provisional assuming I don’t or can’t find my original ball. If I find my original in play than I play it from there laying 1.

Under the new rule if I can’t find it I could walk it over to the edge of the fairway (no nearer the hole from where it was likely to have settled) , take a drop and be lying 3. But what about the provisional? I surely can’t maintain the option of playing the provisional lying 3 (that would be a free opportunity to “upgrade”).

I’ve convinced myself, the new rule cannot be applied if you play a provisional. Does anyone know?


While I can’t say I know for sure, but you’d have to be required to play the provisional. If you weren’t required then you’re now given an option after the fact which would be based on how well you hit your provisional. That would just be unfair.


I agree, I think if you take the provisional you must lose the drop option.


I think it could be really hard to determine the fair spot to drop the ball. Imagine a ball hit into the woods adjacent to a fairway. You really have no idea where the ball ended up (that’s why you can’t find it). Let’s say it entered the trees 150 yards down the fairway but was likely to continue out to 240 (had it not hit anything). Where do you walk it back to the fairway from? It could have hit a tree and dropped at 180 yards out or hit nothing and reached its full distance. I don’t understand how you would know.

Seems like the guy who hit it could argue it went 240 on this line and walk it back, and his competitor could argue it probably hit a tree and dropped at 170. Seems like the different drop spot could be very significant (at least 1/2 a shot).


Correct me if I’m wrong: The new rule, unless the published version in September has this, doesn’t cover casual rounds. Therefore, it would be in effect only under local rules. But most courses don’t have local rules. So most golfers will be required to continue taking stroke-and-distance.


The rule really isn’t for competition.


If you went back to the tee and re-teed, you’d be lying 4 in the fairway not 3. You’re lying 3 on the tee. The only advantage to going back to the tee would be that you may hit it farther down the fairway if you pipe it, therefore you’d be lying 4 in the fairway, but potentially farther up than where you drop.


“Lying 3” means you are hitting your fourth shot.


because they are usually hazards and not OB