IF IT IS HAPPENING over there you can be confident that it will be over here very soon. What ‘it’ is may well cause apoplexy amongst traditional club members because ‘it’ is the latest wizard wheeze to attract more youthful players to golf in the USA. ‘It’ is the idea of bringing music onto the golf course.
Some clubs in America are allowing players not only to play in headphones but also play music through their ‘boom box’, a portable CD player capable of high volume, in their cart during the course of their round. Driving ranges are also cashing in on the idea and providing musical entertainment of a contemporary nature to delight their customers.
Golf Digest magazine recently ran a story listing the ten best portable headsets for wearing on a golf course. For those readers keen to embrace this forthcoming trend the Bose Quiet Comfort 201, available at £229, came top of the list.
Golf Digest also ran a helpful list of pointers on how to derive maximum enjoyment from a sound system whilst according with golf’s code of etiquette. These include:
‘Music seems to work best during the parts of a round when you’re not hitting shots. Riding in a cart between the holes or raking a bunker? Hit play. But when the situation calls for precision—like on the green—maybe hit mute.’ The list is unhelpful when it comes to how golfers will react on other fairways when the strains of Jay Z or Iron Maiden comes blaring into earshot whilst taking a crucial putt but does say:
‘If you get close to another foursome, roll up and ask if they’re bothered by your music. Who knows? They might even ask you to turn it up.’
There is also the thorny question of how a fourball all wearing headphones will communicate with each other during the course of their round or indeed how they will react if a player behind shouts ‘Fore’ but, then, some may argue that being hit by a golf ball might encourage the players to remove their headsets anyway.
USGA rules prohibits the use of use of ‘Headphones or earplugs to eliminate noise or other distractions’ although it is possibly players elsewhere on the course who would be seeking recourse to the earplugs.
‘Golf needs to be fun,’ says Matthew Hall, director of golf at Hawaii’s Turtle Bay Resort. ‘When I play, it’s usually a scramble format, and there’s a speaker on the back of my cart where I’ve got five hours of mixes that I’ve put together.’
Hall genuinely believes music enriches the game and thoughtfully provides speakers for hire at the Turtle Bay pro shop and often has DJs on various holes during competitions so that players can select their favourite tracks and request dedications.
So there it is; golf’s next big thing? Or just another example of a new horde of barbarians at the gate in the good old US of A? Either way you can stake your mortgage on the fact that, before too long, the holes will be alive with the sound of music somewhere over here. Now there’s a cheery thought to leave you all with.