Friday, February 3, 2017

Ask Linda #1474-Is water from sprinklers casual water?

On our course in summer it is not uncommon for groundsmen to set up long soaker hoses – long hoses that give off a fine soaking spray. We have a local rule that if sprinklers or hoses interfere with stance or swing the ball MUST be lifted and dropped under Rule 24-2.b. There is nothing in the rule about water coming from the sprinkler or hose. Am I correct in assuming that unless the water is to the extent that it is casual water, no relief would be available just because one gets wet playing one's shot?
Lou from Adelaide, South Australia

Dear Lou,

Your assumption is correct.

Free relief depends on whether the ground underfoot is simply wet, or the sprinkling has gone on so long that puddles have formed. If your ball or feet are in a puddle, you are entitled to free relief under Rule 25-1. If the ground is misted and your shoes will get a free cleaning, there is no interference from casual water and you are not entitled to free relief.

Relief is available from temporary accumulations of water because it is problematic to hit your ball out of a puddle, or to get a reasonable stance with your feet in a puddle. Lightly wet ground –whether from sprinklers or rain– is a normal condition on a golf course. Wear waterproof shoes and carry a towel.

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