A number of significant changes to regulations have been announced by golf's rule makers, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
R&A rules secretary David Rickman announced the changes
Under the new Rules of Golf coming into force next year, the two-shot penalty for "accidental deflection of the ball by the player" has been reduced to one.
Revised rule 12.2 will allow a player to lift a ball in a bunker or water hazard for identification purposes.
The United States Golf Association has also agreed to the changes.
R&A rules secretary David Rickman said the 28 amendments to 34 rules in the 2008 rulebook were being made in an attempt to improve clarity and make penalties more proportionate to the offences.
In matchplay, the reduced penalty for the accidental deflection of the ball by a player, his partner, their caddies or equipment is reduced from the loss of one hole to one shot.
That law most famously caught out Jeff Maggert in the final round of the 2003 Masters when he was penalised two strokes after his bunker shot at the third caught the lip and rebounded back into his chest.
The American ended up with a triple-bogey seven to ruin his victory chances.
Another change reduces the punishment for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club from disqualification to a two-stroke penalty per hole with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round.
The R&A is planning to produce four million copies of the new Rules of Golf book in English, which are then distributed to clubs free of charge.
Affiliated golf unions across the globe reproduce them in more than 25 other languages.
"We always aim to make the rules readily accessible to golfers worldwide," said Rickman.
"The simpler, clearer language of the 2008 edition is designed to make them easier for players to use."
Also part of the new rules is a move to speed up play by allowing players to tap in putts while standing on or astride the line.
Action on the distances ball are flying these days has still not been deemed necessary at this stage, with data from the professional game showing that there has been a levelling off in the past few years.