# You’re searching for two balls – how much time do you have?

Is it three minutes for each, or three minutes in total? Our guru looks at the search time when looking for two balls

An oldie but a goldie – and something that had a little update when the Rules of Golf were revamped at the start of this year.

Here’s the scenario. You’ve hit two balls – one off of the tee and a provisional – and now you are looking for both. How much time do you get?

Is it three minutes for both, or three minutes each?

## Golf ball search time: How long can you have when searching for two golf balls?

All is revealed in a clarification to the definition of Lost.

If you’ve hit both balls into the same area “where they can be searched for at the same time” then you can only have three minutes to search for both balls.

If it’s likely the two balls are far enough apart so that you can’t search for them both at the same time then you get a three-minute search for each.

Here is the new bit in the 2023 clarification. Even if the two balls are in the same area, there are some other factors that might give you a three-minute search for each.

It gives two examples, which many of you might recognise. The first is when your original ball goes into bushes and the “provisional is in rough nearby, but is clearly not in the bushes”.

The second is when a ball bounces on the fairway and you know it has just reached the rough, while the provisional is much further in.

What do you think about this golf ball search time rule? Is it fair? Let me know with a tweet.

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