In wet or soft conditions, it is quite common to find our ball partly buried in the ground. There are certain rules that apply to this condition of an embedded ball.
Part of the ball must be below ground level. If the ball is simply low down in grass, it is not considered embedded.
Places where you can not take relief without penalty from an embedded ball
There is no relief without penalty for a ball embedded in a bunker. You can play it where it lies; or declare it unplayable and take a penalty stroke, dropping it in the bunker; or drop it outside the bunker under penalty of two strokes.
B. Penalty area
There is no relief without penalty for a ball embedded in a penalty area. You can play it where it lies or take one of the available options for a ball in a penalty area, dropping a ball outside the area under penalty of one stroke.
C. In sand that is not in the fairway
Sometimes there are places, outside the fairway, where there is a lot of sand without it being a bunker. If our ball is embedded in this sand, we cannot get relief without penalty. How to take relief? The point of reference is the point immediately behind where the ball is embedded. From here, a ball is dropped within one club length.
What has changed in 2019?
1. A ball may be dropped within one club length of the reference point when, previously, the ball had to be dropped as close as possible to where the ball was embedded.
2. In order to benefit from relief without penalty for a ball embedded in an area other than the cut portion of the course, the committee had to draft a local rule whereas now it is included in the Rules.
3. You may change ball or keep playing the same ball.