How to Hit a Provisional Ball

Provisional Ball on the tee box

Okay, so you’ve just hit a tee shot and you’re worried you might not be able to find your ball. There are a few things you should know about how to hit a provisional ball.


If your ball could be either out of bounds or lost OUTSIDE a penalty area you may hit a provisional ball under penalty of stroke-and-distance, which means if you cannot find your ball within three minutes of when you begin to search for it, your provisional ball becomes the ball in play, and that will cost you one penalty stroke.

Out-of-Bounds are defined by white stakes. Those stakes cannot be removed and you cannot hit a ball that is lying out of bounds.   18.2


You have three minutes in which to find your original ball, and if you, your opponent, fellow competitor or a caddie finds your ball within that time you must continue play with the original ball.

And beginning in 2019 if you or anyone else accidentally causes your ball to move while searching for it, there is no penalty. Simply replace the ball on it’s original spot or the estimated spot.

18.3b "Before the stroke is made you must that you are going to play a provisional ball."


Rule 7.4

There is no penalty if the player’s ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.



Sometimes we hit our provisional ball really well and we hope no one finds our original ball, or we might even ask that no one look for it. It’s courteous to oblige by that request, but an opponent or competitor may certainly look for it anyway and if found within the three minutes (by anyone) and then identified as yours, you’d have to play it.


Penalty Areas are defined by red or yellow stakes. If your original ball is known or virtually certain to be in a Penalty Area you cannot hit a provisional ball. So, if your ball is headed towards a Penalty Area and the only place it could be lost is within the Penalty Area, then you cannot hit a Provisional Ball and instead you proceed under the rules for Penalty Areas.


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Are You Competitive?

Are you competitive?

Do you consider yourself a competitive person? If you’re an elite athlete, you’re probably a very competitive person by nature. But what about the recreational golfer? Do you need to be competitive in order to enter and enjoy tournaments?

I’ve played in dozens of tournaments like the member/member, member/guest, member/pro, club championship, season-long match play and couples tournaments.

Are they “serious tournaments”? Well, yes and no.

They’re tournaments with a format and rules to follow, and play is governed by the USGA rules of golf. And no, you can’t take a breakfast ball! 😂 Golf is a gentleman’s sport (gentle person really) and relies on the integrity of the players.

matching golf outfits is one of our favorite things about ladies' tournaments

Country Club golf is supposed to be fun. My two home courses Lahontan Golf Club and The Santaluz Club go to great efforts and expense to create fun, beautiful, festive women’s events for their members and their guests. We’ve truly had some of the best experiences of our lives at these tournaments. The food, the flowers, the music… and the wonderful ladies who join are all so much fun!

I think these types of events are “competitive light”. In other words, the rules are followed, but most of the ladies are there to enjoy the festivities, have a few cocktails and play the best rounds they can (without getting up at 5am to warm up for two hours). Most of the ladies take their bad luck and bad shots with a grain of salt and even when they’re no longer in the running for a trophy, they root for their girlfriends.

I find our ladies to be competitive in that they show up to a tournament with hopes of winning a trophy, but aren’t so invested that they are disappointed when things don’t go as well as they would have liked.

They try their best, but don’t beat themselves up. They focus but don’t lose sight of the cocktail hour after the round. They spend more time working on matching outfits than practicing their bunker shots. I call it “competitive light” because it’s fun to bring a trophy home, but even more fun to be with our girlfriends, where we can laugh and enjoy the golf lifestyle that is ohhhh, so good.

The Santaluz Club always serves delicious, healthy food during their ladies tournaments!

How To Make Better Contact With The Golf Ball


How To Make Better Contact With The Ball

Having a good golf swing starts with making good contact with the ball. 

When I first started learning golf, I struggled for so long. I just kept whiffing the ball (You know, when you swing and miss?) I think perhaps because I was afraid to hit the ground. Or maybe I kept missing the ball because I had absolutely no experience with any hand-eye sports. 

Regardless of why, it really took me forever to know I could swing (hit down on the ball as they say) and not hurt myself. I sure wish I had a coach like Cathy back then – breaking things down a bit more, one step at a time. 

Start With This Drill

PGA golf instructor Cathy Kim shows us a drill on how to make better contact using a golf tee as your guide. 

Cathy says to place a tee down in front of the ball. She then focuses on hitting the tee out towards the range, along with the ball. She says rather than thinking about hitting the ball, think about hitting the tee. 

Coach Cathy says this drill helps you understand that you don’t need to “help the ball into the air”. You are just getting the club to go into the ground and the ball will just happen to be there. 

Cathy Kim is a PGA teaching pro at Club 1757 in Dulles, Virginia. She helps golfers of all skill levels achieve their personal and professional goals by assessing the golfer’s physical abilities, listening to the player’s goals and tailoring a game plan that best fits the player.

Before starting a teaching career, Cathy played collegiate golf and attempted the road to the LPGA. Cathy taught at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada for 5 years before calling 1757 Golf Club home.

Be sure to follow Cathy on her YouTube channel and on Instagram where she shares tons of great swing tips. 

Golf Warm-up Tips for Women

Golf Warm-Up Tips for Women

I recently attended a golf fitness class with with Ashley Wood, Head Golf Professional at The Mountain Course at Incline Village, in Lake Tahoe. She has been kind enough to share some of her best golf warm-up tips for women. Read on to learn Ashley’s tips for bringing an exercise regimen and mentality into your golf game.

Golf is a lot like sprinting. This may sound strange to some, but if you think about it the golf swing is a very explosive action starting at a very static position. This causes a lot of force through your body in a very short amount of time. So, if you were to go for a sprint, it would be important to warm-up the body beforehand so you don’t only pull a hamstring, but get the muscles warm to perform at our peak. This should be true for golf. Whether it be for the next Club Championship, or the casual round with friends, being ready to play will not only shave a few strokes off, but will also help make it more enjoyable. With a proper warm-up routine, we can increase performance, prevent injury and increase the longevity of playing the game.

Hitting golf balls before you play is important, but warm-up should go beyond on the range. Focusing on balance, mobility and strength before you take your first swing are keys to success. Using a dynamic workout-meaning moving the body through in lunges, shoulder mobility etc. and not a static warm up (holding stretches for a prolonged period of time) will get the blood flowing and the muscles ready. Simple little moves can also be beneficial when you don’t have a chance to hit the range.

Check out this YouTube video on a few warm-up moves and try these before you hit the first tee, (or even in your living room).

But let’s not forget about our mind. Mental strength is also important. Tension is not our friend in golf so using your breath to calm the mind and loosen your grip will help increase range of motion and in turn increase our good shots! Try this….Take a long breath in through your nose counting to 7 seconds and really expanding your belly, hold at the top for 5 seconds and let your breath out again through your nose for 7 more seconds. Repeat this 3 to 5 times and notice the change in muscle tension. Feel better? Imagine doing this on the first tee, on the golf course in between shots, or walking down the fairway. All perfect times to get your mind right and prepared for your next shot.

Cheers to a happy and healthy game!

Author Bio: Ashley Wood, a PGA of America Professional and a certified fitness professional, is one of the Head Golf Professionals at the Lake Tahoe community of Incline Village. She previously served as the Head PGA Professional and Director of Fitness at the prestigious Presidio Golf & Concordia Club in San Francisco, from 2016-2019. She attended graduate school at SDSU earning a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with emphasis in athletic development and sports and exercise psychology. Ashley has a passion for helping others live a happy and healthy lifestyle through the game of golf. To contact Ashley directly please email at or call (775) 832-1339.

To learn more about Ashley and The Mountain Course at Incline Village, head to the Incline Village website.

7 Gifts For Golfers Under $40

7 Gifts For Golfers Under $40

It’s that time of year again when you have to get creative and somehow find gifts your friends & family will love. In my efforts to help,  I’ve found the 7 best gifts for golfers under $40 that won’t break the bank! 

Magnetic Rangefinder Case

If you have a range finder then you know how hard it is to keep track of it in the cart. This magnetic rangefinder case is the perfect way to keep your rangefinder in sight and ready to shoot your distance to the pin. 

Tumbler That Fits In The Golf Cart Cup Holder

This Classic Tumbler from Simple Modern comes in several colors and size options and fits into a golf cart cup holder, making it the perfect way to bring your coffee, iced tea, flavored waters (or something a little stronger) out on the course with you! 

Warm Beanie

Keeping your head and ears warm is a key element to enjoying  your round in the winter. This Daily Sports beanie with floral embroidery will make you a bit more comfy out there. 

Putt For Dough

Does the phrase”drive for show, putt for dough” resonate with you? Putting is everything and this Puttout Pressure Putt Trainer comes in five colors and folds up nicely for storage. And it rewards you for an accurate putt by pushing the ball back to you. 

You Can't Go Wrong With Golf Gloves

These FootJoy FJ Spectrum golf gloves come in 12 different colors, so why not grab a few for stocking stuffers? I love the dark fuchsia, camp blue and light pink if anyone’s shopping for me!

Personalized Balls

Everyone can use more golf balls, right?  Having personalized balls means not having to mark them with a dot or line, saving you a couple of minutes at the first tee, and giving you more time  for a practice swing and deep breath. 

Throwing Some Shade... On Her Face

I’m one of those people who gets a headache if my visor is on too tight, so I totally appreciate the adjustable coil on this slate gray visor from GloveIt. I have a ton of these in lots of colors and love their durability and look. 

There aren’t many shopping days left, so I hope this gets you off to a good start, or at least gets your creative juices flowing form some fun, inexpensive gifts for the golfers in your life. 


What are your favorite little golf tools and accessories?

The Ultimate Girls Getaway

When's The Last Time You Went On A Girls Trip?

Since I’m a golf nut and have met so many wonderful friends who feel the same way that I do about golf, I’ve been on a lot of girls golf trips — and they’re always tons of fun. 

Of course I love sharing with you all the discounts and deals out there for golfing ladies – and here’s one you’ll want to check out. 

The LPGA Women’s Network is running the best sweepstakes I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.

If you win,  you get to customize your own Ultimate Girls Getaway for you and three friends.

You pick one of seven Dormie Network resorts and the fun begins! Meals, golf, spa… and they even give each of you an Adidas outfit! 

You get skin care products, travel accessories and your choice of a Callaway putter, golf bag or travel gear.

It’s like winning the girlfriends golf lottery! 


I sum it all up in this short video below…. but I think it’s kind of a no-brainer to enter, right?

There's nothing better than a girls golf getaway with your best golfing girlfriends. Read more about our Girfriends Guide to Golf Getaway!

When You Get The Call To Play In The Women’s Open

Brigitte Dunn earns spot in US Women's Amateur
Brigitte Dunn graduated from SMU last weekend. Then last night her phone rang.

The Qualifier

Brigitte played a 36-hole qualifier at Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, Texas just three weeks ago. With four birdies in the last five regulation holes, she ended up in a sudden-death playoff as night began to fall. She remembers thinking to herself “I am not coming back here tomorrow morning. I need to get this done”. She made a birdie in the dark to earn the first alternate spot.

Natural Athlete

Brigitte (pronounced the French way) is a multi-sport athlete. She played tennis, soccer and golf at Oaks Christian High School, in Westlake Village, Calif, and ultimately got serious about golf and wanted to play in college. She also surfs, skateboards and snowboards. She earned a spot on the golf team at Southern Methodist University and majored in sports management with an advertising minor. She has a creative side and enjoyed exploring her love for sports coupled with business and creativity at SMU.

Who's Your Caddie?

Of course, finding a caddie at the last minute isn’t easy. Brigitte had a couple of coaches and three good friends in mind to take the bag, and each of them had a very good reason they couldn’t spend this week in Charleston. Most of them said, “If I had known earlier I would have been there for you”. But of course, there was no way to know she’d get “the call” last night. Brigitte said she wanted someone to help keep her in the right frame of mind, but of course, knowing the course is important. After arriving in Charleston today, she went out to play 9 holes at The Country Club of Charleston and met one of the teaching pros, who has worked there for 19 years, so naturally, he knows it like the back of his hand. He offered to “loop” with her and she quickly knew he was the right person to be on her bag.

"Ultimately at the end of the day, it's me playing golf"

Brigitte likes to have a relaxed relationship with her caddie. “I just need someone to hang out with for four hours. I’m not someone who needs to over-analyze shots. I just have to do what I know how to do.”
Brigitte Dunn and her SMU teammates

In speaking with Brigitte on the phone today, it was clear that she has a calm demeanor and knows how to focus on her goals. When I asked her about the predicted 95 degree temperatures this week in Charleston, she said that wouldn’t bother her, and we both agreed we’d rather play in the heat than the cold.

Learn More About Brigitte And Other Players This Week

Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I head to the 74th US Women’s Open in Charleston, where I’ll blog and vlog about what it’s like to attend a major women’s golf tournament, and bring you back-stories on the players, and the women who make the golf industry a career.

Girlfriends Golf Getaway: Palm Springs

Many of us have felt the need to seek warmth, and one spot that can be relied upon to offer sunshine for our shoulders is the Palm Desert area, locally referred to as “the desert”. This is exactly why I’m offering a quick Girlfriends Golf Getaway Palm Springs edition.

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Defined Areas of the Course

It may seem silly to describe the areas of the course in a video, especially if you have already been playing for a while. However, in 2019 the new rules of golf contain quite a few new terms. Knowing the Defined Areas of The Course will help you understand which rules apply (or don’t apply) in certain areas of the course.

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