Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ask Linda #1237-Listening to music

Dear Linda,
I am an officer at a country club in Mombasa. It was brought up at one of our meetings a complaint about one of the new lady golfers always playing with her iPhone and earbuds in her ears. I stated that I didn't think it was allowed - artificial aid maybe - but on searching the rulebook I couldn't find anything to cover it and would be grateful for your help and opinion.
With all best wishes,
Lulu from Mombasa, Africa

My response:
Dear Lulu,
In order to answer your question, I will need to know what she is using her iPhone for (e.g., is she making calls that disturb her fellow golfers, is she texting, is she not ready to play when it is her turn), and what she is listening to through her ear buds (e.g., music, radio broadcasts). I will answer your question as soon as I hear from you.

Lulu’s reply:
Hi Linda,
She uses an iPod and listens to music the whole time so she completely ignores her playing partners and doesn't speak to them at all.

If she had a mobile and was making calls we could deal with it as no one is allowed to use them on the golf course or in the clubhouse. She is not delaying play, as that is also covered in the rules of golf.

She is listening to music only - all I could think about was "artificial aids" - but there is no rule that says that you have to be sweet and chatty and friendly to your playing partners!

Best wishes,

My answer:
Dear Lulu,
This is a violation of Rule 14-3a for using an artificial device that might assist the golfer in her play, and results in disqualification. This issue is directly addressed in Decision 14-3/17. Here is the pertinent section of that Decision:

Player Listens to Music or Broadcast During Round
Q.A player uses a device to listen to music, a radio broadcast or any other type of broadcast during a stipulated round. What is the ruling?
A.Under Rule 14-3a, a player may not use any artificial device or unusual equipment that "might assist him in making a stroke or in his play." Listening to music or a broadcast while making a stroke or for a prolonged period might assist the player in his play, for example, by eliminating distractions or promoting a good tempo. Therefore, the use of an artificial device to listen to music or a broadcast, whether or not through headphones, while making a stroke or for a prolonged period of time during a stipulated round is a breach of Rule 14-3. However, it would not be a breach of Rule 14-3 for a player to listen to a device briefly, for example, to obtain the results of another sporting event or traffic information, while walking between the putting green of one hole and the teeing ground of the next hole.
A Committee will have to consider all available facts and circumstances in determining whether a player using an artificial device to listen to music or a broadcast has done so for a prolonged period such that the action might have assisted the player in his play.

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