Casual Water and Rule 25

Published 30/09/2013 06:09:00

Looking for a free drop? Turn to Rule 25 and if it's not covered there the chances are you won't get it as our guide to casual water explains

Rule 25 covers a whole host of situations, all under the very general heading 'Abnormal Ground Conditions'. This covers casual water, ground under repair, and a cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, reptile or bird.

Casual water is any temporary accumulation of water on the course (other than a water hazard) visible before or after the player takes his stance. It includes snow and ice, an overflow from a water hazard if outside the bounds of the hazard and a pitchmark filled with water. As is often the case, it sometimes makes things clear if one outlines what is excluded. In this case, soft, mushy ground, water which appears only as a result of pressing down with your foot, dew, frost and manufactured ice are not regarded as casual water.

The rule basically provides relief to a player when his ball lies in or touches the area of casual water. Relief is also available if the casual water interferes with a player's stance or the area of his intended swing.

Only if the player's ball and the casual water are on the putting green is a player entitled to relief if the casual water is on his line of putt.

The general exception that if interference would only occur because the player uses an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing or direction of play applies and the player would not get relief in any of these circumstances.

In addition, a player may not brush away casual water from his line of play.


The player may either:

1.) Play the ball as it lies (unless the committee has made relief mandatory by a local rule).

2.) If the ball lies through the green, determine the nearest point of relief, this being the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies which avoids interference by the casual water, is not in a hazard or on a putting green and is not nearer the hole. Then lift and drop the ball without penalty within one clublength of that point. In this case, maximum relief must be taken at all times.

3.) If the ball lies on the putting green, without penalty place it at the nearest point of relief or, if maximum relief is not available, at the point affording maximum possible relief as near as possible to the original spot but not nearer the hole nor in a hazard. If the nearest point is off the putting green, the ball must be placed off the green.

4.) If the ball lies in a bunker, it may be dropped without penalty in the bunker as near as possible to the original spot but not nearer the hole and on ground which affords maximum relief from the casual water. If maximum relief is not possible, partial relief may be taken in a bunker.

5.) If the bunker is completely covered by water the ball may be dropped under penalty of one stroke outside the bunker on the extension of the line between the original spot and the hole but not nearer the hole.

Relief without penalty is not available if the casual water is within the bounds of a water hazard the player must proceed under the rule dealing with water hazards (Rule 26).

When searching for a ball in casual water, there is no penalty if the ball is accidentally moved; the ball should be replaced at the player's estimate of its original location unless the player opts to take relief under one of the options above.

And finally, the provisions of Decision 25-1c/1 should be noted. This deals with the definition of reasonable evidence. For example, an area of casual water preceded by thick rough is in a hollow not visible from the tee. A ball is hit into this area and can't be found. Is there reasonable evidence that the ball is lost in casual water? The answer is no. In this case the player must proceed under Rule 27 (Lost Ball).


1.  test testtest

comment by test - 01/10/2013 15:21

2.  gewgew

comment by test test test - 01/10/2013 15:21

3.  Casual Water and Rules are very important things for all players. I am very happy for this informative post.

comment by Jahid Khan - 22/10/2013 17:27

4.  Par 3 with standing water surrounding the flag. Shot goes into the hole from the tee. Is this a hole in one.

comment by Steve - 22/02/2017 23:10

5.  This happened to me and I'm unsure how the rules work. The guy I was playing aginst teed his shot into the trees he had a pretty ugly lie in the roots. Is was raining steady, as he approached the ball he claimed the casual water around the tree affected his stance and proceded to take a drop which meant he had a free shot to the green. Is this the correct ruling. Any help would be great thanks.

comment by jason - 19/03/2017 21:50

6.  My course has stated an area with cypress trees that has water around them about 10 Months a year is casual water. I believe it is just Golf course, but I play by their rules.

comment by james wright - 25/02/2019 19:18

7.  I was part of a foursome playing a round. When we reached the green at hole #11, it was inundated with water from a defective sprinkler head. What should be the ruling for all four players? There was no way to putt the ball in the green , without crossing the large puddle of water surrounding the hole.

comment by Alex Azizi - 11/09/2019 20:18

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