Under Rule 25-2 of the R&A Rules of Golf:
"If a player’s ball is embedded in any closely-mown area through the green, it may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole."
Note 1: A ball is “embedded” when it is in its own pitch-mark and part of the ball is below the level of the ground. A ball does not necessarily have to touch the soil to be embedded (e.g. grass, loose impediments and the like may intervene between the ball and the soil).
Note 2: “Closely-mown area” means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.
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