Ball Lost or Out of Bounds
When a player’s ball has not been found (i.e. is lost) or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds, the player may proceed as follows rather than proceeding under stroke and distance.
For two penalty strokes, the player may take relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
Two Estimated Reference Points:
a. Ball Reference Point: The point where the original ball is estimated to have:
Come to rest on the course, or
Last crossed the edge of the course boundary to go out of bounds.
b. Fairway Reference Point: The point of fairway of the hole being played that is nearest to the ball reference point, but is not nearer the hole than the ball reference point.
For purposes of this Local Rule, “fairway” means any area of grass in the general area that is cut to fairway height or less.
If a ball is estimated to be lost on the course or last crossed the edge of the course boundary short of the fairway, the fairway reference point may be a grass path or a teeing ground for the hole being played cut to fairway height or less.
Size of Relief Area Based on Reference Points: Anywhere between:
A line from the hole through the ball reference point (and within two club-lengths to the outside of that line), and
A line from the hole through the fairway reference point (and within two club-lengths to the fairway side of that line).
But with these limits on Location of Relief Area:
Must be in the general area, and
Must not be nearer the hole than the ball reference point.
Once the player puts a ball in play under this Local Rule:
The original ball that was lost or out of bounds is no longer in play and must not be played.
This is true even if the ball is found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b).
But, the player may not use this option to take relief for the original ball when:
That ball is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a penalty area, or
The player has played another ball provisionally under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.3).
A player may use this option to take relief for a provisional ball that has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds.
Please refer to the diagram below for examples.