Every golfer has to deal with the dilemma of golf. The challenge is not whether to play more, practice more or to fully commit to this amazing sport, but it hovers on the moral challenges golfers face each time we tee up. Golf is a self regulating game that requires each player to, first and foremost, be their own rules official and secondly to provide over watch of the players in your group. Regardless, of which of these situations you are faced with on the course, each player is expected to play with the highest level of integrity and honour. For me, I have two standards. One during a friendly and one during a competition. I realize I should not have a double standard, but I am not afraid to admit that I do and ultimately, I think you do as well.
All joking aside, I do not feel a dilemma about the enforcement of the rules. The reason I say this is because I know what my line in the sand looks like and I think most experienced players will feel the sam way.
Firstly, during a friendly I do not enforce any rules on anyone. If someone asks, then I am more than obliging to explain my interpretation (I phrase it this way because I only have my level 1 rules certificate from Golf Canada and do not consider myself an expert) and I think is the proper ruling. If no one asks, I carry on my merry way and enjoy the round. I would be a liar if I did not say that I have broken a rule or two over the years, however when I feel I follow the spirit of the game as much as possible.
Second, during a tournament, I now enforce the rules completely. I have no dilemma calling a rules infraction on myself or my opponent. I believe that this approach is perfect for anyone who takes golf seriously. There can be no room for letting an infraction pass. I can honestly say that earlier in my career, I was less confident calling a rules infraction, but I was burnt once and it will not happen again. I think that it is important to protect the field by calling a rules infraction. Additionally, if every golfer is playing the same way, it creates a level playing field.
The golf dilemma is not really a challenge for experienced players. I think the largest challenge occurs with players are competing for the first or second time. They do not want to make waves and it is a feeling every golfer has when starting to compete. Now, I do not sweat it. I have been wrong in the past, but that is rare. Enforcing the rules of golf is important, especially during a match. As a matter of fact, it is incumbent on each player to know the rules and play/enforce them as required.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!