What happens if I play a ball that is not mine?

For this edition of The Club House, we have thought of raising a hypothetical situation that occurs to an imaginary player during a tournament. Then, we explain to the reader the exact result that the player obtained in that hole, including the penalty incurred as a result of their actions.

“Rafa” is not having a good day at the “President” tournament of his club (stroke play). At the 8th hole, he plays his tee-shot into the rough. Without thought and due to the lack of motivation that morning, he finds a ball in a very difficult area and plays it. He first hits an air shot and then manages to hit the ball a few meters down the fairway. When he takes a closer look at the ball, he realizes it is not his and that he must have played a wrong ball from the second shot.

Without delay, he returns to the area where his original ball is supposed to be and luckily, this time, finds it quickly. He plays a 7 iron towards the Green and falls just short of it. His superb chip ends up only 15 cm away from the hole, so he removes the flag and while holding it away from the hole with one hand, hits his ball cleanly into the hole with the back of his club and puts it in.

What result does “Rafa” obtain on the 8th hole?


First shot – Tee off from the Tee.

Shots 2 and 3 – Two penalty shots for playing a wrong ball (rule 15-3b) and the shots made with the wrong ball DO NOT count for the final result. (Including the air shot).

Note: If “Rafa” had teed off in the next hole without finding his original ball and continued playing, he would have been disqualified.

Shot 4 – Shot in which he plays his original ball with a 7 and falls short of the green.

Shot 5  – Chip that ends up next to the hole.

Shot 6  – Putt the hole.

Note: Players can hold the Flagstick while hitting the ball, as long as the ball does not hit the Flagstick (Decision 17-1/5) and players can use any part of the head of the club to hit the ball (Decision 14-1a/1).

Therefore, “Rafa”’s result on the 8th hole is 6 shots.


Committee of Referees and Rules of the Balearic Golf Federation