I've always liked the relative informality at Bamburgh. But it relies on a degree of mutual respect so people don't take advantage.
There was an example on Saturday of the difficulty in balancing informality with the best result for most members. Although Saturday is competition day, and we do not allow visitors, we do let people play without entering competitions and members can bring guests. A member had booked in three guests and although he didn’t play he accompanied them. The three played very slowly, and held up the afternoon groups in the competition. This just wasn’t fair*. To make matters worse, having had a very cheap round, they then drove off without coming in the bar. Although perhaps that was good judgement on their part.
I’d hate to change the rules to prevent members bringing guests on a Saturday, and I’m sure we won’t, but this example was so bad we will have to consider it. We’ll have to enforce, perhaps, a maximum of two guests and say the member must play with them. At the end of the day, though, a golf club relies on people having respect for others. Fortunately members generally do.
*(I am biased: I write with a score of 25 points; I can’t blame the slow play for most of my poor performance but I’m sure it contributed. But others who did well were also held up and annoyed).