As a Baby Boomer, or perhaps even an old codger, I’ve had a hard time adapting to what now is the smartphone era where many spent all their time texting, emailing or talking on their cell phones.
I know cell phones can certainly can be distracting on the golf course, especially when you hear one of those unusual ring tones in the middle of your back swing or hear someone talking while you are preparing to hit.
My golfing buddy Bill Greene mentioned that some players may even use their cell phones as part of their gamesmanship in an effort to distract you just like others do by jiggling coins in their pocket or talking on your back swing.
I read of one case where a writer happened upon a group of high school golfers, who were busy talking,texting or tweeting on their cell phones between shots and not even talking with each other. He was appalled and certainly made a great case that cell phone usage should not be allowed on the course.
You are not allowed to use cell phones or cameras when you go to a PGA Tour event already, but evidently it does happen on the European Tour based on an interview by David Feherty with Bubba Watson recently.
Should the use of cell phones be prohibited on golf courses like it is on airplanes, at the movies or in school zones?
Well, I’m not that much out of touch with the real world out here to actually suggest going that far. However, it would certainly be nice for golfers to be considerate of others, putting the cell phones on silent or vibrate and limiting the use to between holes.
As I’ve found out, there have been times when my cell phone has come in handy.
Driving down the cart path on the first fairway at Stevens Park Golf Course recently, I quickly realized I needed to know if we were limited to cart path only because of the rain the previous day. A quick call to the shop resulted in finding out we were using the 90-degree rule.
Then I left my cell phone on my desk the next day when I went golfing again. When our round took five hours, I should wished I could have called home and not missed my grandson’s birthday dinner.
I’m sure some doctors who want to play golf still might have to be on call to take emergency requests that require an instant response. The same would be true in the event you or one of your other players had a heart attack or some other kind of emergency.
In serving as a rules official for the U.S. finals of the World Golfers Championship in San Antonio, I used my cell phone to stay in touch with others members of the tournament staff and the golf professional. Since it was impossible for us to be everywhere at once monitoring play, I also was able to respond to a question about the rules when one player called me.
So my suggestion is to take your cell phone with you, but limit your use!
I’m actually more concerned with the use of cell phones, especially for texting, while driving. It causes as many accidents as driving while intoxicated. I’m glad that I have a hands free system in my new Toyota Camary that allows me to take calls. It’s no different than carrying on a conversation with someone riding with you. It would be hard for me to even dial a number and there would ber no way I could text and keep my eyes on the road.
In closing, it seems some people can not even stay away from checking messages even when they are in a bible class. That’s a little distracting for me. I just leave my cell phone in the car when I am attending church.