Provisional Ball and Second Ball

Pace of play in kids golf tournaments is very important.  I talk about pace in another post but I want to reiterate here.  Two rules help with pace of play; 3-3 and 27-2.  The first reason keeping up the pace of play is important, especially at this age is, well, these kids are young.  At the prescribed 15 minutes per hole, a nine hole tournament should take 2 1/4 hours.  That’s a pretty long time for the kids, especially the younger ones.  Nine and ten year olds can start to handle it no problem, and they should be starting to think about eighteen holes.

We’ve played in tournaments where nine holes took over three hours.  That’s hard on us, and especially the kids.  Even on pace a nine hole tournament can take 4 hours out of your day.  That’s a lot, especially if you have more than one child and/or a lot of honey do’s.

Two very important rules to know are Rules 3-3 and 27-2.

3-3 is the second ball rule and applies when there is some doubt as to how to proceed according to the rules of golf.  For example: say there is some ground under repair and your ball lands right on the white line around the area under repair.  You are not sure if the line is in the area or not.  Ground under repair offers free relief.  If a short attempt to reach an official fails, you can declare a second ball to your pairing and proceed to play one from the original spot and a second ball after taking relief. You must declare also which ball you want to count if the rules permit.

You play both balls for the hole and track both scores.  When you get to the scoring table you can resolve the question with an official and the answer can determine which ball counts.  This is a very effective way to maintain pace of play and players should be comfortable using this rule.

27-2 applies when you think your shot may be lost (but not in a hazard) or out of bounds.  Before any search for the ball you must declare a provisional.  Then you play a second ball  and then go up to search.  If the ball is not lost or is found in bounds, the player can abandon the second provisional ball.  Again, familiarity with this rule is important and your player should be comfortable to invoke the rule in order to save time and maintain pace of play.  This helps since, if the first ball is actually lost, the rules call for return to the original location of the shot and play again with one penalty stroke.  Having played a provisional means you already did that and didn’t have to return all the way to the original location after confirming the first ball has been lost.

These rules are mentioned quite a bit but being comfortable playing them is another thing. Take the opportunity when you can to show your child golfer how to play these rules.  They will use them for lifetime.

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