Yes, they are only 7 and in most cases are not purposely be trying to gain an advantage....BUT thats the rules of golf. Even at 7 they know the basic rules and there is a certain level of responsibility for the parent/caddie to know the rules as well if they are playing in these tournaments. Also, I think you have to consider what level of tmnt. OP was talking about US Kids Golf Tmnt I think- anyone playing at the state, regional, or world champ tmnts for USKG certainly knows the basic rules. They had to qualify to get there in most cases and , despite being only 7 and despite it being "meaningless" at that age, those tmnts beyond the the local level can be quite competitive (relative). I know how much my son really looks forward to them. In his small 7 year old world, they are important to him and he works hard to prepare for them ( usually, ha!). Rules infractions matter no less at that age and level than they do at older ages and higher levels. That being said, I cant recall any rules issues at State, Regional, or World Champ tmnts for USKG. Local tours on the other hand, multiple. Even though a lot of those kids are learning, there is no better place to start making sure they understand how important the rules are in tournament golf.
For better or worse, the way the USKG system is designed there can be "a lot" on the line for these kids - Some are chasing status points to get invites to state, regional, worlds...but others would be really pumped about getting the 5th place medal! In that way, I almost think there is more on the line at the local tours - maybe its getting status for bigger tournaments or could be a kid getting their first medal. Last year at a local tour we had a mom caddie who was seriously miscounting her sons strokes, including multiple bunker practice swings, bumped balls at address, etc. . We were not their scorer, but in their group. After two or so weeks I realized that he was beating out another kid for the 5th place ribbon. Kid B had never placed in top 5. Its just a 5th place ribbon at a USKG local, who cares, right? - but I bet it was really important to Kid B. He kept showing up, did his best and played by the rules only to get beat by kid A when in reality he probably beat him by 8 strokes. Kid A wasn't purposely trying to cheat or gain an advantage, but Kid B shouldn't have to suffer for it....even if it is only the difference between 5th and 6th place. At that point it was too late to address directly, so I discussed it with the tour director. He made some friendly reminders to "everyone" on the first tee in the subsequent tmnts about some basic rules and making sure to count, etc. I regretted not addressing it more directly during the tournament. I learned my lesson then and have done so since on repetitive and/or blatant type things. Probably only had to bring up or question something 3-4 times and in every case the parent/players are cool and appreciative of you reminding them of a rule or bringing it to their attention.
Anyway , to the OP question, in most cases I would think you address it after hole when confirming scores. When they are 7, I say you discuss with their parent/caddie, not the kid. Unless it is an instance that not bringing it up immediately may lead to further penalty ( i.e.- not replacing a ball that moved to its original position).
Edited by hangontight, 27 June 2018 - 09:52 PM.