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What Is a Lost Ball in Golf?


A ball is “lost” if:

  • It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

  • The player has put another ball into play under the Rules, even though he may not have searched for the original ball; or

  • The player has played any stroke with a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place, whereupon the provisional ball becomes the ball in play. Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five-minute period allowed for search.

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