Originally Posted by Fourputt
Look, you can argue it all you want, but I got the answer straight from one of the two instructors at a four day USGA/PGA Rules workshop. Most players never compete in formal competitions, but that doesn't mean that the rules don't matter to them, or that they should have to put up with conditions during their weekly money game which would require the actions of a tournament committee in a more formal setting.
If we have been arguing about something, I am not sure what it is. I agree, and have never suggested otherwise, that in a casual round of no consequence, a group having its own little competition can claim itself to be its own competition committee, and thus it is within a loose reading of the rules for them to make their own local rules. Like I have said, I like your reasoning on that. I do see the wheels coming off for that happy foursome from time to time. I can imagine a best ball match. One player lands on hardpan "Gee I think that should be ground under repair." You have an even number of players and sides and that probably leads to a deadlock. I suppose an aggrieved side could flip it around. "Too bad you are up against that fence, that is an integral part of the course." I think it is worth noting that one reason courses do not expand relief from the the wrong green to include fringe/apron is that often is very unfair. Relief from the wrong green is mandatory, and bear in mind it is nearest point of relief. So if I can't drop on the fringe, nearest point of relief may very well be in some heavy rough near a green that isn't even on the hole I am playing. Yikes.
But like I said, in a casual round, I have no issue with people wanting to be their own committee. However, I do think we do need to be careful in anything but the most casual of rounds. For example, match play, if on the tee the two competitors agree to a non-existent local rule (e.g. relief from the fringe of a green everyone hits), even if it is never used, they are both disqualified for agreeing to waive the rules. You could say "But the match was only the two of them, that seems a bit harsh." Maybe, but them's the rules.