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In an ongoing effort to keep the game simple, we are offering up some friendly advice for making your weekend round more enjoyable for all members in your group.
We find this scenario happens a handful of times during a given round. You or your playing partner hit a tee shot close to the edge of a hazard. You both see it trickle into the brush from 200+ yards out, thinking it must be relatively visible when you eventually get there. But reality hits you on the cart ride over as you forget which tree or other landmark you thought it entered closest to, and the hunt begins. You grab your club and start hacking away like Indiana Jones in a jungle pursuit of a lost treasure. Sure you find 3 or 4 other usable balls along the way, but that doesn’t stop your search. Meanwhile your partner has already driven to their ball, hit safely on the green, and returned to join you in your fruitless efforts.
Let’s face it, even if you find your ball, you won’t be playing it from that location, nor will you be taking the proper drop protocol, or even assessing yourself a penalty stroke. It is penalty enough that you will probably hit your next shot off a tree trunk and even further into the woods from which you just emerged.
You should be willing to part ways with a couple balls during a round, and if you find yourself upset about losing an expensive sleeve or two, you are buying the wrong balls. There is a reason you find Noodles, Nitros, and Mojos among the weeds, it’s because they are cheap. I am not saying you shouldn’t make an effort to locate your ball, but even the USGA limits the search to 5 minutes. Keep the process simple. Have a ball in your pocket, take a single pass along the hazard perimeter near your entry point, and be ready to drop. Among friends, if the ball was reasonably close to being inbounds, give yourself a decent lie and play on.
Occasionally a similar hunt occurs in the rough, either due to thicker grass or perhaps the morning or afternoon sun creating a glare. The course can eat golf balls with seemingly no explanation, resulting in an endless loop of cart searches that slows play and kills momentum. Nothing worse than ripping a drive, only to see a player from the group ahead driving backwards to search for a ball they thought they hit 40 yards further.
“Anyone playing an Ultra 4?” you are, let’s go.