On Tuesday morning, as I glanced outside (when I was hard at work!) I thought of the ladies out on the golf course, playing for the Centenary Trophy.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue.  Little did I know that there would be a complete deluge in the afternoon.  When I teed off at 4.30pm it was lashing!  Monday’s thunderstorm had meant that the ground was already saturated, so, as my playing partner and I made our way round the course we had to avoid quite a few puddles!

Golf is hard enough without having to hit out of an inch or two of water, so the Rules of Golf allow you to get free relief from “temporary water”.  Rule 16 deals with “Abnormal Course Conditions” such as animal holes, ground under repair, immovable obstructions or temporary water.  Temporary water used to be called “casual water” and is defined as: “any temporary accumulation of water on the surface of the ground (such as puddles from rain or irrigation or an overflow from a body of water) that is not in a penalty area, and can be seen before or after you take a stance (without pressing down excessively with your feet).”

Rule 16.1 a states:

Interference exists when any one of these is true:

  • Your ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition,
  • An abnormal course condition physically interferes with your area of intended stance or area of intended swing, or
  • Only when your ball is on the putting green, an abnormal course condition on or off the putting green intervenes on your line of play.

There is no free relief from an abnormal course condition when the abnormal course condition is out of bounds or your ball is in a penalty area.


If your ball is lying in temporary water on the fairway or rough, find your nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole, and drop the ball within a club-length (longest club in your bag except your putter).



If your ball is on the green your ball doesn’t have to be lying in water for you to be able to move it – if the water is in your line of play you can move the ball.  Here’s a short demonstration:



What can you do if your ball is lying on the spot marked X in the photo below and there is temporary water in your line of putt?


Unfortunately you can’t do anything!  You have to play the ball as it lies.  You only get relief from water in your line of play if your ball is on the green.  In this case it’s very unfortunate, but there’s nothing you can do about it!