Question: What Is A Provisional Ball In Golf?

Original Ball Found and Declared Unplayable, Player wishes to Continue with Provisional Ball.


A player played his tee shot into deep woods.

A provisional ball is not an option for a ball that may be unplayable.

It is only an option if the original ball may be out of bounds or lost outside of a water hazard.

What does a provisional ball in golf mean?

Updated May 24, 2019. A “provisional ball,” often shortened just to “provisional,” is a second golf ball played by a golfer who believes his first ball (the stroke he just played) may be lost (but not in a penalty area or out of bounds).

How does a provisional work in golf?

If it transpires that the original ball is lost (other than in a water hazard) or out of bounds, you must continue with the provisional ball, under penalty of one stroke. If the original ball is found in bounds, you must continue with that ball and stop playing the provisional ball.

When can you not play a provisional ball in golf?

As explained above the Rules only permit a provisional to be played if the original ball is believed to be lost or out of bounds, not when it is in a water hazard.

Can you hit two provisional balls?

Remember that the only two circumstances when you can hit a provisional ball are also the only two times when you are required to proceed under stroke and distance if you cannot find your original ball. Makes sense doesn’t it?