16.3 Embedded Ball
- When Relief Is Allowed
(1) Ball Must Be Embedded in General Area. Relief is allowed under Rule 16.3b only when a player’s ball is embedded in the general area.
- There is no relief under this Rule if the ball is embedded anywhere except in the general area.
- But if the ball is embedded on the putting green, the player may mark the spot of the ball and lift and clean the ball, repair the damage caused by the ball’s impact, and replace the ball on its original spot (see Rule 13.1c(2)).
Exceptions – When Relief Not Allowed for Ball Embedded in General Area: Relief under Rule 16.3b is not allowed:
- When the ball is embedded in sand in a part of the general area that is not cut to fairway height or less, or
- When interference by anything other than the ball being embedded makes the stroke clearly unreasonable (for example, when a player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush).
(2) Determining Whether Ball Is Embedded. A player’s ball is embedded only if:
- It is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of the player’s previous stroke, and
- Part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
If the player cannot tell for sure whether the ball is in its own pitch-mark or a pitch-mark made by another ball, the player may treat the ball as embedded if it is reasonable to conclude from the available information that the ball is in its own pitch-mark.
A ball is not embedded if it is below the level of the ground as a result of anything other than the player’s previous stroke, such as when:
- The ball is pushed into the ground by someone stepping on it,
- The ball is driven straight into the ground without becoming airborne, or
- The ball was dropped in taking relief under a Rule.
DIAGRAM 16.3a: WHEN A BALL IS EMBEDDED
For an interesting video of whether or not a ball is embedded, watch and listen to the Referee and Matt Kuchar at the Memorial PGA Tournament.
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