Rules of golf and disservices
As a golf rules official I’m used to people asking me questions about the rules of golf while we are out playing. Most of the time that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately I meet many people who don’t know the rules as well as they ought to. I understand that it can be hard to find the “nearest point of relief” in a relief situation, but everyone should know if they are in a relief situation with or without a penalty shot. They also ought to know how to take relief from a water hazard or a lateral water hazard and how to proceed when they declare their ball unplayable.
More than once I’ve heard the sentence “I should know this, but I mostly play with friends/family and we are a bit nice to each other“.
Being nice to each other in this fashion is doing one another a disservice. When you know the rules properly you know what to do in the different situations; you can find the best solution and avoid pentalty shots for doing the wrong thing A group also plays just as fast when everyone in it knows and follow the rules as it does when being nice. I also find it a lot more satisfying to lower my handicap when I know I’ve followed all the rules. The rules book is of course always in my bag so I can check things when in doubt.
My partner is still fairly new at the game of golf and I’m nice to her and anyone else playing golf with me. Not by disregarding the rules but by teaching her the rules and etiquette of golf. The result is that she now is a golfer who most golfers would enjoy playing with.