Cell phones are as welcome on a golf courses as deer ticks and poison ivy. Unfortunately, they’re also just about as prevalent.
One country club staffer in Westchester (NY) county, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his job, told me, “Members are not supposed to use cell phones on the course or the clubhouse, but I see so many you’d think this was the mall.”
Nearly every club has an explicit policy against using cell phones on the course and some prohibit them everywhere except in your car—preferably while you’re leaving. There are good reasons for those policies, too. Cell phones in the dining room are as pleasant as a cloud of cigarette smoke wafting over your salmon tartar. Seeing them in the locker room is like spotting mold in the showers. Hearing some inconsiderate master of the universe call his broker on the third tee while you’re trying to putt out on the second green is like root canal without Novocain.
Yet, just like cockroaches, cell phones come out of hiding everywhere. I’m seen plenty of so-called golfers step into the bushes so they can make that urgent call to the office. Once this summer, I had to dodge a guy driving a cart while holding a cap over his face to hide the cell plastered to his lips.
Everyone’s excuse for carrying a phone on the course is that an urgent call may come at any moment. I’ve often wondered why anyone expecting a life-or-death phone call would be playing golf in the first place. Shouldn’t they be standing by where they can actually help? I also can say with certainty that I’ve never seen anyone take a call, stop playing immediately, and rush off the course to deal with a crisis. I’ve overheard plenty of calls to buddies about last night’s ball game and more than a few to the office by someone trying to cover their tracks while playing hooky, but never anything so important it justifies ruining everyone else’s game.--Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds