modern golf man with smart phone taking score on mobile gps devi

It’s no secret that the denizens of golf can be a stuffy bunch when they want to be. As golf evolved into a game for the more affluent, along with it came a series of rules of etiquette covering everything from what to wear to how loudly you can speak. While some rules arise from simple common sense (few can concentrate on a complex shot against a backdrop of loudly chattering companions, for instance), others are relics of a bygone era (must a golfer be wearing a collared shirt in order to play adequately?). Mobile phones are new enough to be caught in a bit of a gray zone—they’re necessary for today’s 24/7communication needs, but they can also be very disruptive.

Here are some rules to observe when carrying a smart phone with you onto the greens.

#1: Shut Your Cell Phone Down

Mobile phone in hand with "turn off" label

Alternatively, leave your cell phone at home, in your locker, or in your car. This is the best way to prevent cell phone interruptions or distractions—at least on your end (we can’t guarantee others will do the same). There are many mental and emotional health benefits to taking a break from your electronics and focusing on your surroundings.

#2: If You Can’t Turn It Off, at Least Turn off the Sound

Man Showing Mobile Phone Screen And Asking For Silence

The jarring ring of a cell phone, no matter how clever the ringtone might be, is enough to turn even the calmest of personalities into raging beasts after a botched swing. Be considerate if you must take your cell phone with you (and you should have a very good reason for needing to do so) and turn off the ringer and other sound alerts entirely.

#3: No Cell Phone Conversations on the Course

A golfer takes a cell phone call while his fellow golfer asks him to get off his phone and just playIf you know you’re going to need to have a business or personal conversation while on the course, either put off the conversation until later or reschedule your game. If you must talk, have your conversation somewhere other than where your buddy is trying to set up his shot, and consider allowing the group behind you to play through if your phone conversation is going to take a while.

#4: Use Apps and Golf Software Responsibly

Golf Gps NavigatorTechnology can give you an edge in your game, but it can also become a crutch. Overusing it sucks all the joy out of the game, as well, so be frugal in how often you pull out your GPS or other apps—especially if they significantly slow down your pace of play while people are behind you. If you are new to the tech and need time to practice using it quickly, choose a day or two when course population is especially light and your golfing companions are going to be understanding.