Celling out

It is decidedly not the most important issue of our age, or our game, but the use of cell phones on the golf course may be approaching a tipping point: Will clubs that ban the use of cell phones be able to hold the line, or, in 10 to 20 years, will most courses have become the equivalent of today’s coffee shop, where people come to chat, text, write, get e-mails, conduct business and, oh yeah, drink coffee?
Where you fall on this issue depends partly on your age, partly on your line of work, and partly on your level of concern for others’ needs and desires versus your own.
Younger people — let’s say under 30 — grew up in a culture where everyone pulls out their electronic device at the slightest provocation, or merely out of boredom. What’s so different about a golf course? Smart phones have made many occupations more flexible, freeing business professionals from the tether of the desk telephone — and allowing them to play golf while being available to bosses and customers.
So the ultimate question is, which is more important: your need/desire to stay connected while you play golf, or the possibility that your fellow playing companions prefer an electronic-free experience when they come to the golf course.
If we all find the right playing partners, this question can become nearly moot. Four young business executives calling and texting away during a round of golf hurts no one as long as they keep up with the group ahead of them. Four golfers who leave their cell phones off in their golf bags — or better yet, in the car — likewise can enjoy their day. Mix the groups, however, and those who prefer the focus to be on golf will be the losers.
The groups are getting mixed more and more often. Eventually, the freedom provided by cell phones might come closer to tyranny over those who prefer a bit of isolation.

2 thoughts on “Celling out

  1. I feel a person should be respectful of others on the course and put the devices away for a few hours.

    Our society is so disconnected because of all the technology that is available out there. Don’t get me wrong, but I am a middle age adult who knows what it was like before all of the technology and somehow I have survived.

    I do have a cell phone and use it when necessary, but it is not a toy. I feel a large part of society treats technology more as a toy and a look at me thing than a true necessity.

  2. Having people talking on phones or texting during a round of golf has become so common I have given up caring about it. Both strangers whom I might pick up with or partners that I have known for years are guilty of responding to the ringing phones and chatting away while the rest of the group tries to regain their focus and play on. Amazing lack of consideration for others and a healthy dose of self serving attitude seems to be a large part of the character of these “social butterflies”. I believe that allowing the rest of the world to have access via cell phones to what should be an enjoyable social escape from such distractions makes these people the real losers. However, the idea that I must share in their non essential communications while part of a golf group makes me sad indeed.

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