Summer in Florida: The Story of Casual Water
If you play golf in Florida during the summer, you need to know how to deal with casual water!
So what’s casual water and how do the Rules of Golf handle it?
By definition, “casual water” is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water. A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.
Rule 25-1 covers “Casual Water” and it gets lumped into the term “Abnormal Ground Conditions” and is treated very similar to “Ground Under Repair” as far as the Rules are concerned.
First, determine where you are on the golf course (through the green, in a bunker, on a putting green or on the teeing ground) and then find out if you have interference from the casual water. To have interference, your ball must be lying in it, you must be standing in it, or your area of intended swing is going to hit it. If your ball lies on the putting green and casual water intervenes on your line of putt, you also have interference. If any of those exist, you have interference from casual water. And remember, there’s no such thing as casual water in a water hazard!
If you do have interference, you are entitled to relief if you want it; but you are not required to take it. Depending where you may have to drop or place your ball, you may not want relief!
If the ball lies through the green, drop the ball without penalty within one club-length and no nearer the hole than the nearest point on the course that avoids interference from the casual water. Make sure that point is not in a hazard or on a putting green. If it’s a big puddle, you may be dropping fifty yards back! Also note that in dropping your ball “through the green” you may end up dropping from rough to fairway or fairway to rough; it can be good or bad.
If you lie in a bunker, you drop the ball the same as when you lie through the green but you must stay in the bunker if you want relief without penalty. If you can’t find a spot that avoids interference from the casual water in the bunker, you must drop it at the point that affords maximum available relief (the bunker is completely flooded and you’re in six inches of water dropping into only one inch of water). Or, if all else fails, you can drop behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke if you have interference by keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the spot where you drop it.
If your ball lies on the putting green and you have casual water intervening on your line of putt, you may lift your ball without penalty and place it at the nearest point that avoids the casual water that is no nearer the hole without penalty. Depending on the size of the puddle, you may be placing it off the green! If the hole is completely surrounded by water and you can not find a spot that completely avoids the casual water, you place your ball at the spot that affords maximum available relief from the water (1/4” of water as compared to 2” of water).
And finally, if your ball lies on the teeing ground and you have interference from casual water; treat it just as though it were lying through the green.
Remember, use the index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself enjoy the game of golf.