Rules Guy: What happens if I lose the ball I just marked?

January 11, 2019

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
After marking ball on green and picking up ball, golfer or caddie drops ball, which rolls into water hazard, not retrievable. Replacement ball of exact brand and kind not available. What is penalty and how to continue?
—EARL HUSBAND, ODESSA, TEXAS

Ball lifted from putting green must be replaced. Must be exact ball. If not same ball, make/model no matter—substituting ball without authority under Rules. Two strokes or loss of hole is penalty. Also, One Ball Condition of Competition only encouraged for pros. Top-tier amateurs, too. Not for club play. Suggest: Grip ball tight! 


Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours [email protected] and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!
Marking ball on green