In summary, if you find your ball in a position where you cannot make a swing, or choose to take relief, you have the option to claim an unplayable lie.
The penalty for doing so is one stroke.
When can you declare an unplayable lie?
The penalty is one stroke. In the rulebook in effect through the end of 2018, unplayable lies are covered under Rule 28, Ball Unplayable: “The player may declare his ball unplayable at any place on the course except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.”
Do you get a free drop if your ball is plugged?
Tour Winner. 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. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green.
What do you do if your ball is unplayable?
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Rules of Golf Explained: Ball Unplayable (New for 2019) – YouTube
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Can you declare an unplayable lie in a bunker?
Ball Unplayable in a Hazard
If the ball is in a water hazard, the player may not declare the ball unplayable. If the unplayable ball lies in a bunker, the player may proceed under any of the options listed in Rule 28. However, if he elects option b or c, the ball must be dropped in the bunker.