In ball golf, if you can play a ball out of water, it is legal. In disc golf, if you can make a legal stance behind the disc and your standing in the water, is this legal? If the pond is not marked as O.B.?
So now I have looked at the rules...803.09. 803.03, and definitions and technically Bill and Mark are correct in the sense that nothing specifically designates a body of water as OB...unless designated by the director.
However I stand firm on the point that using the language in rules to argue a lie in the water...specifically a true pond or lake(not a puddle)is not OB is circumventing the intended design of the hole in which the pond/lake/river/creek/stream may come into play.
I honestly doubt that in any group of players/cohorts I may travel with to an uncharted course...will give the call any other way then OB.
In ball golf, there are always white or red stakes marking a line on the sides of a lot of fairways to mark hazard areas. White stakes are always OB. Red stakes mark a "hazard" where you can hit your ball from where it lies with no penalty. (You just can't touch your club to the ground to not build up your lie behind the ball) I have never played a course where an existing body of water was anything else but white staked and OB. If there is flooding or puddles, it is Casual Relief, where you can pull the ball out and drop no closer to the hole and play off a better lie. The Van De Velde fiasco in the British Open a while ago demonstrates both these conditions. He had a two stroke lead into the final hole, hits his drive into a creek that isn't OB, and was dry when he got there, the tide comes in and he dicks around thinking of what to do that the ball gets submerged by the incoming tide. D'oh! He then messes up two shots in that creek trying to hit out of water that he lost the lead. Double D'oh! He had to play from that lie because it wasn't marked OB.
Disc golf courses don't have this consistency, so local rules or tournament conditions are the determining factors. A painted line or string on a disc golf course is usually an OB line.
It's tough to maintain a painted line or string on most disc golf courses. I think most (apparently not all) of us who have played for some time will always assume a water hazard that comes into play on a course is intended to play as OB...whether or not it's clearly marked anywhere on the course signage.
So technically Steve, the correct answer is Yes and No..Yes they're almost (if not all the time) always intended to be OB as part of the design...But NO, if it's not clearly marked as such...for lack of a better term I would call it somewhat of a loophole.
it depends on the circumstances. in tourneys almost always OB, in casual rounds almost always casual relief (unless specified before the round and agreed upon by a simple majority of the players). here's where it gets fuzzy for me, during league play (or cash side bet games) I think it should be OB (unless agreed upon by parties involved prior to start of play). But some play it the other way where it is casual unless called OB prior to the start of play (which i think is back ass-wards for the reasons Jamie mentioned about intent of water usage in course design)
This is an interesting topic. I still am not sure what the real answer is. I have seen many ball golf situations where players have hit out of the water. Not all bodies of water are ob. I guess I would tend to think that what Mark Ellis said is correct. If it's not marked ob, and it is not stated before hand that it is ob, it is playable if you can take a legal stance.
One thing I can tell you....with first hand knowledge.....no way would the founder of our sport...the guy who standardized the rules..targets....would have intended any player at any time to feel the need or be obligated to actually enter a body of water to take a legal stance. He wasn't a fan of water hazards on Disc Golf courses in the first place. So I'm fairly sure originally all water hazards were most certainly OB.
At the Indian Summer Open, 2001 in Miami, there was a tropical depression that dumped about a foot of rain just before and during th tournament. The Amelia course was actually an area that was being developed into a shopping center. The lake overflowed, and flooded the course. The TD said "You are going to get wet" all water, except the string line along the lake's normal shore, was casual. Even if you took the whole 5 meter relief, you still would be in the water. I made a birdie from a legal stance in chest deep water!