Should you Listen to Music on the Golf Course? Of course!

Every few years, Golf Clubs all over America experience what can only be described by some of the more hysterical members as “extinction-level events”. In today’s golf news, we’ve found the latest incarnation – music on the golf course.

Looking back through the ages, you can see different events that have caused havoc, or at least caused people out there to want you to believe there should be havoc, on the golf course.

Several years ago the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle arrived at courses throughout the midwest. Greens Committees and groundskeepers assumed the stance of Marvel’s Avengers locked in mortal combat with Thanos. The beetle lost, but only after many trees were sacrificed in the process. It’s now slinked back into the hole from which it came.

Poa Annua is a more aggravating Joker-type villain, always there, popping up at inopportune times like the Member/Guest, but never really threatening total destruction. Poor drainage and flooding are like those asteroids the internet tells us are on course to collide with Earth. Despite a moment of panic, a few days later, everyone sighs in relief.

Should any of these tragedies occur, there is some comfort in the knowledge that manpower (and an out-sized assessment from the club) can repair any physical damage to the golf course.

But what happens when the mental state of the members is threatened? That’s the issue confronting many golf clubs today. It’s oddly arrived at the golf course in the form of a Bluetooth speaker.

It’s fair to say that music is a delightful enhancement to most activities. Dining, driving, a relaxing cocktail on the deck; all these occasions are made better with the right soundtrack.

The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all have their unique scores ranging from “Thunderstruck” to boat horns. Many MLB teams allow players to choose their own walk-up music.

Music actually enhances the experience at many pro sporting events. Still, it’s hard to imagine Bubba Watson sauntering up to the 16th tee at Augusta with the crowd stomping and clapping in time to the strains of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. That doesn’t feel right.

Golf is more muted and polite than, say, the NHL where the soundtrack includes the wincing percussion of cartilage and bone pounding against the plexiglass.

But we’re talking about a round of golf at your local golf course, not the PGA Tour. For your friendly games, music in the cart is fine but etiquette is to be observed.

Here are some rules for music on the course. Follow these and you will stay out of the “Member Notes” section of the next Board Meeting.

  • Always ask the other players if they care if you play music. It’s just nice manners. You’ll find most will be open to listening to some tunes.
  • On the heels of asking for their blessing, inquire about the type of music they might find agreeable. Yacht Rock, Motown, and Classic Rock are universally acceptable. If you prefer a genre outside these, you might want to give the foursome a heads up or ask for a recommendation. Blasting the Cats soundtrack because you were the one person who actually saw the film could cancel your invite for future gatherings.
  • Keep the speaker in the cart, not on top of the cart. You aren’t the Ice Cream Man. Not everyone is happy to hear you cruising the neighborhood.
  • Make sure the music is low enough that, if you are more than 15 feet away, you can’t hear it. This is a critical rule. Don’t be Al Czervik blasting Kenny Loggins. Fifteen feet is exactly the distance between polite and obnoxious.
  • Turn it off before you pull up to the bag room. Other members congregate here and, while your foursome may not take issue with your music, some other members will use the opportunity to look at you like your Saint Bernard just relieved himself on their doorstep. This is how letters get written to the Board.

Music can cut both ways. Sometimes it can help you ease your mind or find a rhythm after a bad stretch of holes. Other times you can get an earworm that ruins the whole afternoon. Either way, it’s OK to ask the DJ to change it up. Here are some ideas for your next round with accompaniment.

Jazz – Mellow jazz (Stan Getz, not Kenny G) keeps the mind engaged and calm. It slows you down to a good pace and doesn’t clash with the natural environment.

Classical – Not a fan. No rhythm. If you swing to the tempo of “Flight of the Bumble Bee” you’ll pull something.

Grunge – Acceptable to play when your round is shot and you are pounding beers.

Rap – Can help with rhythm and taking your mind off a bad hole. Also good for enjoying a beverage. Hip-Hop can often speed you up or get you swaying – be careful.

Country – For some reason, country music sounds better on a course in the south, or even in Mexico. I can’t explain that.

Pop – Pop music these days stinks and I know a dozen 50-year old white guys who will tell you the same thing.

Reggae – Always a nice choice. Happy music is good for instilling the right attitude. Bob Marley will please any crowd.

Standards – If you can’t enjoy a day on the links with Frank, Dean, and Sammy, you’re no friend of mine.

Golf should be enjoyable. The right tunes on a warm day with three of your best friends can make it even better. Like that reachable par-5 over water, I say go for it.

You might like the result.