What Is Casual Water on the Golf Course?

Casual Water
A golfer retrieves his ball from casual water. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

"Casual water" is a temporary accumulation of water on the golf course. In other words, a lake is not casual water, but a puddle of rainwater (that will disappear once the sun comes out) is.

Definition of 'Casual Water' in the Rules

Here is the official definition of casual water as it appears in the Rules of Golf, as written by the USGA and R&A:

" '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."

Expanding the Definition of Casual Water

Casual water must be identifiable before or after a player has taken his stance. Ground that is merely wet, spongy, mushy or muddy is not casual water. There must be an accumulation of water above ground that is visible. (If a player takes his stance where water is not visible, but doing so causes water to push up onto the surface where it is now visible, that does qualify as casual water.)

Dew and frost are not casual water; snow and natural ice can be casual water or loose impediments, at the player's discretion; manufactured ice is an obstruction.

Under the rules of golf, casual water is considered an abnormal ground condition. If a golfer determines his golf ball rests in casual water, or that casual water interferes with his stance, he is entitled to relief. Rule 25 covers relief from casual water.

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Examples: "After a rainfall, casual water is a common sight on a golf course that is not well-drained."

"My ball is in some casual water so I'm going to take relief under Rule 25."