Rules Guy: My ball was submerged outside an overflowed pond’s penalty area. Do I get relief?

What do the rules say about an overflowed pond?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

We recently played following a significant rainfall. The water from a penalty area—a pond—had risen beyond the clear red line marking it and onto the playing area. Sure enough, a ball came to rest in the water but outside the still-visible red line. Is the ball considered in the penalty area or in casual water? —Kevin Klein, via email

The water was likely murky; the rules in this instance are not.

“Casual” water is officially temporary water, and under Definition of Temporary Water, water that has overflowed from a penalty area is indeed temporary water.

Thus, the player is not all wet, nor penalized, but simply takes appropriate relief.

Golf ball splash
Rules Guy: I *know* my ball landed in temporary water, but I can’t find it. What now?
By: Rules Guy

For more water-related guidance from our guru, read on …

If a retention pond isn’t staked, is it still considered to be a water hazard? —Paul Neubert, Surfside Beach, S.C.

The Zen philosopher Ty Webb once said, “A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole is a Danish.” 

Similarly (or perhaps dissimilarly — it’s hard to say), Decision 26/3 clarifies that if a water hazard is unmarked by the committee it does not lose its status as a water hazard.

Hit into it, and you can still take relief under the water hazard rule … or, better yet, don’t hit into it.

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