Mexico Open at Vidanta

Vidanta Vallarta

Technology: Tweeting, texting, and measuring devices

By Keely Levins Illustrations by Peter Arkle
December 13, 2016

There are people who think of the golf course as a sanctuary free from electronic intrusion -- and there are the guys that are blasting music and making phone calls every other hole. There’s a happy medium, and we’re here to guide you through, gracefully infusing your golf life with the technology you love without annoying those trying to play golf around you.

What’s the deal with phones on the course?
Cellphones are a ubiquitous part of modern life. Thankfully, many courses have relaxed their policies to allow you to take the occasional call. So if you need to check up on whether the kids got home from school OK, have at it. Just be mindful that you’re not disturbing the folks around you. And if you’re playing a course that doesn’t allow phones, respect the rules and don’t go sneaking off trying to make calls in the woods.


OK, and what about just being ON my phone?
So long as the course allows it, you’re fine with a few caveats. 1) Don’t let it interfere with your pace of play. Your primary focus when you’re at the course is to play golf. If you’re not ready for your shot because you’re sneaking in a call or texting, then you’re the problem. 2) The Rules of Golf prohibit using your phone if it influences your round. Any outside information about the course or conditions that you couldn’t have gotten before the round is a no-no.

Are those stat tracking and GPS apps cool to use?
Yeah, we think this technology is really cool. All of the information they provide helps you learn more about your game. We even encourage you to share what you’re learning with your buddies and let them know what you’re seeing on your apps. Just remember certain functions in some of these apps are illegal in competition. Things like telling you which club to hit, or giving you live updates on how far you’ve been hitting your 7-iron all summer aren’t allowed.

What about rangefinders?
Use ’em if you’ve got ’em, again so long as you’re not slowing anybody up and, if you’re playing in a tournament, you don’t use the slope function that some offer, which violates the Rules of Golf.

I wear a fitness band to track my steps. That’s not a problem, right?
Only if you’re playing in a tournament and the fitness-band measures heart rate, which, say with us, is prohibited by the Rules of Golf. In a casual round, though, check that ticker as much as you want. Beats per minute aren’t worth getting in an argument over during a skins game.

Playing music during the round makes golf so much more enjoyable for me. Is that OK?
When it comes to playing music on the golf course, we’re good with it. As with most things in life, though, just don’t be a jerk about it. If you’re playing in a group, ask your playing partners if they’re OK before you start blasting Adam Levine’s latest single. And, be courteous to players on other holes. They’re not in your group, so your music shouldn’t be loud enough for them to hear.