How to Search for a Lost Ball

Lost golf ballsAt least once a round, I go in search of the elusive white ball. At no fault of my own, the like white bundle of joy (or should I say frustration) decides to play hide and seek! It is very frustrating when my golf ball gets a mind if its own and lets its ego run away with the plan we devised at the start of the round.

As most golfers find themselves from time to time, searching for a wayward golf ball is a skill that all players need to conquer. Knowing how to find a lost ball does is not as simple as playing hide and seek; there is a methodology that will help most amateurs reduce strokes by finding their ball more often than not.

Searching for a wayward ball (and I purposely did not call it lost) starts long before a player gets to the position where they think their ball lies. Finding lost balls is a skill like most others in golf; some people are naturals and some people get lots of practice.

Mike Ball Hawking

The best ‘Ball-Hawker’ in golf!

The ‘ball-hawker’ I have every known is my friend Mike! No matter where tramps or his surroundings, he finds golf balls. Most of the time the balls do not belong to our group, but finds golf balls. Last season, he took the time after a fun tournament to look for golf balls and he walked away with over 100! I am not exaggerating and fortunate for me he likes to share. He gave me 6 ProV1s and 6 Srixons and for that I am grateful. Because we are good friends, I hit a couple back into the woods so he could find them again….you know, just for fun.

Back to searching for golf balls. Being a good playing partner starts with understanding your responsibility when someone is hitting their ball. From that point, I have a few tips that will help you find someone’s wayward ball and help find your own. These are not hard fast rules, but more like guidelines that have helped me find my ball over the years.

  • Watch your playing partner’s and your ball until you lose sight of it!
  • Line up where you lose sight of it as the ball with a big tree, rock, post, or something you will easily find when you walk towards their wayward ball.
  • If the ball goes in the woods early, it will be found shorter than where the player thinks.
  • Take a club into the woods or rough to move the plants so you can see the ground.
  • Ask the player what brand they are playing and their unique mark; let them be the final judge if it is their ball or not.
  • Walk in a grid type pattern. I walk along a line where I thing the ball is, then I take another path in the reverse direction about 3 feet left or right from the previous path.
  • I never take more than 5 minutes looking for anyone’s golf ball; including my own.
  • When the ball is found, I always watch the player hit their ball to make sure it gets out of the woods or rough. If it does not, we start the process over again.

Searching for golf balls is one of those things that every golfer will do. It is important to find the wayward ball as quickly as possible because searching can impact speed of play….but that is another story. One other benefit of being a good ‘ball-hawker’ like Mike is you rarely have to buy new golf balls….you always have lots!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

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