Basics need not be forgotten

HARARE - This is the start of a new golfing year and season. As is the norm during this time of the year it has been raining almost every day.

I shall specifically look at casual water, water in the bunker and embedded ball. They all fall under Rule 25.

Abnormal Ground Condition

Abnormal ground condition is defined as any casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast or runway on the course that is made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or bird.

*Casual Water

Water when on the golf course is called casual water and is defined as the temporary accumulation of water on the course which is not a water hazard and is visible before or after you have taken your stance.

A ball is said to be in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.

If you are going to be interfered with or your ball finds itself in a puddle of water you are permitted to drop the ball without penalty within one club length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief.

*Water in the bunker

This is common during this season. If your ball goes into a bunker which has water in it, there is a relief without penalty, when your ball is in an abnormal ground condition as defined.

In the case of the bunker this will be applicable if you then play the ball within the same bunker contrary to what some other people believe.

It is not true that if the bunker nearby has no water that you can go and drop and play from there.
You will come across different situations.

The water in the bunker may not be covering the whole bunker but at times it can be flooded or nearly flooded.

Under this option, without incurring any penalty you can drop the ball within one club length and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. You drop the ball. You do not place.

If when dropped, the ball plugs in the sand so be it, you have to play it as it lies.

Whenever you are getting relief under the abnormal ground condition rule, when determining the nearest point of relief you should apply complete relief unless as otherwise provided by a rule.

 For water in the bunker it may not be possible to always have complete relief hence the rule permits you to drop the ball as near as possible to where the ball lay but not nearer the hole, on part of the course in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition.

*Bunker completely flooded with water

Here you will be faced with no choice. You will have to drop the ball outside the bunker but for a penalty stroke.

You need to follow the correct procedure otherwise you will be penalised further for playing from the wrong place for which a penalty of two strokes will be applied only, provided it is not a serious breach.

If it is deemed that a serious breach has been committed and you failed to correct it before teeing off from the next hole or in the case of the last hole, before you left the putting green then you will be disqualified.

You should look at where the ball lies in the bunker and drop the ball outside directly between the hole and where you drop the ball. There is no limit as to how far behind you can drop the ball.

If you do not want to be bothered by any of these options, remember you have your ever-available option that of playing the ball from where you last played your previous shot.

*Embedded Ball

What if your ball is plugged in the ground, do you know what you are supposed to do? This question is covered under Rule 25-2 Embedded, which states that if a ball is embedded in its own pitch mark in the ground in any closely mown area through the green that the ball may be lifted, cleaned and dropped without you incurring any penalty as near as possible to the spot where the ball lies but not nearer the hole.


Ball rule limits you to where you can apply it. It refers to closely mown area through the green.
Closely mown area is defined as any area of the course including paths through the rough as long as it is cut to fairway height or less.

However, you should check for the local rules at the course you will be playing before you tee off.

At some clubs there would be a local rule where the embedded ball rule would apply just through the green.

This means that the area where the ball will be embedded does not have to be closely mown.

This is the only time when you can lift your ball in the rough without incurring any penalty.

*For any feedback/ comments and any assistance you may need please contact the writer, Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche at The Centre for Training and Research Services on email:  or or  mobile no. +263712200922 /+263772319612

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