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I live on the Texas gulf coast and with all the rain lately, that means tons of casual water to deal with.  The rule for relief of casual water, as I understand it, is you can go up to 5m back, no closer to the hole and on the line of play.  What if you can't get relief going back 5m on the line of play?  In that case, I have just been playing the nearest point of relief from the water, regardless of the line of play?  Is that right or do I have to try to get as close as possible to the original line of play?

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In tournament play if you cannot get relief within the 5m on the line of play it is considered an unplayable lie unless you are willing to go into the water and play it. Therefore it would be a re-tee with a one stroke penalty if the last place was the tee that the disc was thrown. If it was not the tee you would have the group decide as to where your mark in the fairway was and throw from there with a one stroke penalty.
Good call Senior, well explained. That information helped me as well because we deal with the same issues at times.
803.05 C. (2) Casual obstacles to stance or throwing
motion: The player must first attempt to
remove the obstacle unless a portion of
the obstacle is also between the lie and
the hole. If it is impractical to move the
obstacle, or if a portion of the obstacle
is also between the lie and the hole,
the player’s lie may be relocated to the
nearest lie which is no closer to the hole,
is on the line of play, and is not more than
five meters from the original lie, as agreed
to by a majority of the group or an official
(unless greater casual relief is announced
by the director).
Alternatively, the player
may declare an unplayable lie and
proceed in accordance with 803.06.

[Bold added.] Call yourself the director and announce that you can go all the way back to the far edge of the water - on the line of play.
Thanks to Senior and Steve for the clarafications. To Steve, would you say this is how most casual players proceed in this situation?
Couldn't say, really. I've seen players wearing wool socks and waterproof shoes just plunge in to avoid losing any distance. I've seen players decide to stop keeping score and play from where they wish it had landed while their playing partner/coach/caddy gets his feet wet. Many casual players are playing two discs ("to get more practice") anyway, so they'll just abandon the lie in the water.

I would think that if you state the rule with authority, most casual players would be happy to try to play it the way it "should" be played. We're all working our way up to playing in more and more formal situations, right? At least in our imaginations.

I like moving back along the line of play to the edge of the water because you don't need to carry around a five meter tape, it is a way to play that will often be correct according to the rules, and avoiding the water while staying on the line (but going farther from the target) seems like a natural, fair, and easy-to-remember thing to do.

Getting "as near as possible" to the line of play is not anywhere in the rules, so I'd want to avoid that practice.
Steve, thanks again for the response and it makes perfect sense, so I will start playing to the water's edge. And also hope that we get a good break from the rain every now and then, lol.

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