When to Play a Provisional Ball
Remember there are only two occasions when you can hit a provisional ball.
1. When the ball in play might be Out of Bounds, or
2. When the ball in play might be lost outside a water hazard.
The provisional ball must be hit before going forward to search and you must declare to your group that you are hitting a provisional ball. Under any other circumstances, if you hit a provisional ball, this ball is now the ball in play.
Here’s a link to a video explanation: Rules of Golf: Provisional Ball
Click here for USGA Rules of Golf Explained Video Series: Provisional Ball
Click here for the USGA explanation of stroke and play. (This video explains the number of strokes taken when hitting a provisional)
Rules Committee: Margie Rivera and Helen Burke