The most common event in a golf game is a lost ball (at least for me). It happens very often that we arrive at the spot where our ball is supposed to lie and we don’t find it. Rules don’t treat the situations all the same. It depends on the location and the situation. here are some examples:
b- Ball lost in a forest
Usually a ball in those areas is considered lost. We must go back to the teeing area and hit our third stroke.
Ball lost in an area near a lake with some trees in rough
If there is a possibility the ball might be lost outside the water like in trees or in the rough, the ball is lost and we must go back to the teeing area and play our third stroke.
Ball lost in an area covered with short grass and a lake
Because the ball can’t be lost other than in the water hazard, we may use the options available for a ball in a water hazard. This will in most cases be much better than returning to the tee.
Ball lost in the center of the fairway covered with casual water
This is not automatic but when our drive was hit in the middle of the fairway and we can’t find our ball we don’t always have to go back to the tee.
If there is virtual certainty the ball is lost in abnormal ground condition, the rules permit us to drop a ball at an approximate point of entry of the abnormal ground condition without penalty.
I can’t find my ball, someone must have picked it up!!
How often do we hear that someone must have picked up my ball because I was sure it was there!
Two weeks ago, in Mexico, Phil Mickelson needed a rules official for a third time in 30 minutes because he lost his ball in an area where many spectators were looking for it. Witnesses said someone picked up the ball and ran away. The rules official gave Phil the possibility to drop a ball without penalty at the approximate area where the ball was picked up.