Does a player need to retrieve his ball from casual water to get relief?

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Published 24/05/2011 07:20:00
 

Rich hits his tee shot into the fairway, but it ends up in a large puddle of casual water. He can see a ball toward the middle of the puddle, but he can't retrieve or identify it as his without sloshing through some ankle-deep water.

Is he allowed to take relief?

Yes. A player is not obliged to use unreasonable effort to retrieve and identify a ball he sees in casual water, so long as there is reasonable evidence that his ball is in the casual water. Examples of sufficient evidence would be seeing the ball go into the water or the fact that the ball could easily be found if it were in the area near the casual water.

A different reference point for the drop is used if the ball is found or if it is lost in casual water (Rule 25-1). If the ball is found, the player determines the nearest point of relief relative to the position of the ball, and drops within one club-length of that point. If the ball is lost, he uses the spot the ball last entered the casual water as his reference point. So, if a player can retrieve his ball from casual water without unreasonable effort, he must do so.

Now What If?

Rich hits his tee shot into the rough in an area he can't see from the tee. It turns out there is a large puddle of casual water in that area. He can see a ball toward the middle of the puddle, but it would be difficult to retrieve.

Is he allowed to take relief from casual water?

Rich is not allowed relief from casual water without identifying the ball as his because there is not reasonable evidence that the ball is in the casual water; it might be lost in the nearby rough. In this case, he probably will want to get his feet wet to retrieve the ball to see if it is his; otherwise, he will have to take a stroke-and-distance penalty for a lost ball.




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