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England Golf have appealed to clubs across the UK to relax their rules about mobile phone use on the golf course. James Tompkinson (JT) and James Savage (JS) from National Club Golfer magazine debate whether or not clubs should follow the advice.

JT – Surely this should be welcomed as a positive thing if we want to bring the game into the 21st century and make it appeal to younger audiences?

JS – Nowadays, it seems people are constantly glued to their mobile phones during their work and personal life. The golf course should be a retreat, a chance to get away from emails, text messages and social media notifications. They should be left in the locker room.

JT – I think as long as you establish some basic ground rules then there shouldn’t be a problem. There is so much technology out there now that phones are so much more than just phones. Recently I was playing a round with a friend (albeit one who is a PGA pro…) and I just couldn’t get anything going. We got to the 5th tee and I asked him to film my swing to see if we could see anything wrong. Two holes and a minor adjustment later and I felt happier with the way I was hitting the ball. I accept that mobiles on the course won’t be for everyone, and if you have a problem then leave yours in the locker room. Just don’t stop me from using mine.

JS – If you relax the rules, it will become difficult for clubs to decide where to draw the line. I’ve seen people using urinals with their phone wedged against their ear, driving at 80mph on the motorway while texting. “Hang on, I’m just going to put you on speaker phone because I’ve got a tricky eight foot putt.” – It will happen.

JT – It wouldn’t be hard to draw up a set of rules regarding mobile phone use. For example, no phones on loudspeaker, no use when your playing partner is taking a shot, no use in competitions etc. When you are playing casually, or on your own, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to connect to the outside world. It’s another facet of the game that makes it appear archaic and out of touch with modern society.

JS – I just don’t see the need to have mobiles on the golf course other than for a genuine emergency. Give people the option and they will more than likely take up the offer. Checking the phone has become a habit. People will constantly take their phones out of their pockets to check for texts and missed calls. It’s very anti-social in my opinion. We should try and enjoy the company of the people we are playing with and check the phone when the round is finished.