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RULE UPDATE: No penalty for accidental movement of the golf ball

The folks over at the USGA and R&A have announced a rule change that will see penalty strokes no longer being dealt our out for some accidental, heart-breaking ball movements on the green.

Here's what those changes look like:

1) The accidental ball tap
You step up to the ball to save that all important par when calamity strikes and you inadvertently nudge it...

Rule Change Outcome - You'll be able to replace the ball without penalty saving blushes (and a few tears). Phew!

2) Your ball knocks your marker
You've marked your ball and picked it up when you accidentally drop your ball. By some cruel twist of fate it hits and moves your marker...

Rule Change Outcome - The new rule will allow you to replace your marker without incurring an additional stroke.

3) Your marker knocks your ball
You're a courteous playing partner, you bend down to mark your ball when the unthinkable happens - The marker moves your ball...

Rule Change Outcome - The latest USGA update will mean you can replace your ball and remark it without the gut-wrenching one stroke penalty.

4) You kick the ball by accident
You stride up to your ball, mentally prepared to drain that crucial 6-footer. You can already see the ball rattling into the cup when you pull a Pele and toe poke your ball...

Rule Change Outcome - Thanks to the rule change you'll be able to replace your ball back in position without penalty.

These rule changes apply to you, you're playing partner, caddie (if you have one) and any of your equipment.

The local rule will be available at the beginning of 2017. Check with your course pro or clubhouse to see if the local rule has been adopted where you are.

For more information, visit the USGA website.

Gif source: USGA youtube channel (full video here)