19th Hole: Don't Be 'Casual' With Free Drops
Stephen and Adam were enjoying a friendly match one afternoon after a recent thunderstorm, and Adam’s ball came to rest in a puddle of water on the right side of the fairway.
Adam pointed out the “casual water” to Stephen, picked up his ball and moved it four steps toward the center of the fairway. Before he could hit the shot, Stephen protested, pointing out that Adam should have taken relief from the puddle with no more than one club length.
Who was right?
According to the Rules of Golf, Stephen is correct. Adam should have gone to the nearest point of relief that avoids the casual water and dropped the ball within one club length from that point.
Casual water is the accumulation of water on the course that is visible before or after the player takes a stance and is not in a water hazard. Sorry, but dew does not meet the standard of casual water.
To determine if you are standing in casual water, you are not permitted to try to “pump” it from the ground with your feet. You take a normal stance and if you see water, you are in “casual” water and you’re entitled to a free drop from the nearest point of relief. The penalty is loss of the hole in match play and two strokes in medal play.
There’s nothing casual about a free drop.
Quotes of the Game: “Golf is the only sport I know of where a player pays for every mistake. A man can muff a serve in tennis, miss a strike in baseball or throw an incomplete pass in football and still have another chance to square himself. But in golf, every swing counts against you.” — Lloyd Mangrum
“Golf is not a game of great shots. It’s a game of the most accurate misses. The people who win make the smallest mistakes.” — Gene Littler
More like this story