The great escape

It’s time to ditch mobile phones and enjoy playing golf without distractions

Unless you’re a doctor on call, or your wife is in labour and you’ve popped out for a quick nine, there’s no need to have your mobile phone on the course.

For those who do happen to bring it with them, there’s no need to use it unless there’s a major accident out there.

I’m nailing my colours to the mast for golf’s ancient rules here. I’m a firm believer in golf’s need to modernise and I don’t see any problem with using your mobile in the clubhouse, car park or locker room – we’re all busy and our phones are important, but golf is about escaping the real world, isn’t it?

One of my regular playing partners has even taken to wearing his smart watch while playing, so he can receive texts as well as calls during a Saturday morning knock with his friends. This has an interesting effect on his golf as, generally, he’ll receive some irritating notification or message about work and then spend three holes trying to put his game back together. Surely relaxing and resetting is more important than constantly being on the clock?

It certainly isn’t helping his golf. I’ve never received a call from Butch Harmon or David Leadbetter on the 14th tee of the monthly medal to explain what’s gone wrong over the last two holes, so I’m sure I’ll be ok for the next hour or so without any messages from the outside world.

While a phone ringing from someone’s bag is irritating, it happens. What’s far worse is when your playing partners are so obsessed with what’s happening on their phone, they can’t watch you play a shot into the low sun, or keep an eye on where they’re walking as they tread on your line.

When did a few quiet hours on the golf course require any more distraction? I thought we were here to get away from it all? I can barely hold my game together for 18 holes with zero distractions, never mind if I was trying to keep up with every notification on my phone or receive a shopping list for the way home when I’m on the third green.

So, those of you reading this who use your phone too much on the course, for the good of your own game and your playing partners, keep it in your bag. It’ll still be there when you’re finished and you’re sure to enjoy the experience of being on the golf course for a few hours just as much, if not more, when you’re paying full attention.