This particular article has nothing to do with a friendly match. The reason I say this is that I do not pay any attention to any golfers game outside of a competition. I do follow all the happenings of the round, but I do not care what other golfers are doing with respect to what they record as a score. In competitions, focusing on ensuring all my competitors and myself follows the rules to the best of our ability.
Without going into detail about the rules infractions, I want to focus how and when to point out that a rules infraction occurred. First and foremost, I immediately call a rules infraction on myself when I realize that I broke a rule. I call over my opponent, outline the situation and we agree on the number of strokes (if any) I need to assess myself. Then we discuss the potential drop area or if I need to replace my ball to its original spot. It is all very congenial and I know that I did the right move by including my competitor during this potentially difficult situation.
If I perceive an infraction by my opponent, I try to point out the challenge as soon as possible. I do this by walking up to my opponent and calming asking about the what I saw. I cite the possible rules infraction and discuss the situation. Additionally, I try to never let the infraction go past the next tee shot. There are times when I was asked about a rules infraction after the fact and this is when things get dicey. Fortunately, the largest penalty assessed was two strokes; it has never resulted in the disqualification of a players.
As you can see, the main point about discussing rules infractions is to do it calmly and respectfully. Generally this is enough and we can come to the proper conclusion that protects the player and the field.
But what happens when two players do not agree with the call. Instead of pulling our the rule book (I have done that) the competitor plays two balls. One from where they feel is the proper call and one from where I thought the call was for that situation. Then we record both scores and as the head rules official; which is usually the club professional. We both explain our view and then the Pro makes the ruling. Over the years, I made only one wrong call and bought my opponent a beverage to apologize. He knew I did not intentionally challenge him and was very understanding. Although I was wrong, it was important the I stepped up and made the call. Regardless of what you think, this and the other rules situations need to be addressed for the sake of the players and the overall field.
Calling a rules infraction on a player is part of golf. It does not happen often, but every golfer needs to have the courage to step up in this delicate situation. My only recommendation is to approach the potential confrontation respectfully and calmly. And if no agreement can be reached, play two balls and talk to the rules official.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!