The First Call Inbox

The sound of music on course is not always in tune

The First Call readers sing out their praise and disdain for whether music has a place on the golf course

Solheim Cup, Friday, September 3, 2021, Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Jessica Korda, left, and Megan Khang dance to the music on the 10th tee during practice for the Solheim Cup at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, on Sept. 3, 2021.

> Question of the Week [April 4-10]: Should music and music-playing devices be allowed on course?

No! No! No! No!

Alan Saroff
West Caldwell New Jersey

It is often said, "Golf is a good walk spoiled." The frustration of errant shots is bad enough. We don't need loud music blasting as a further annoyance. 

Andre Brysha
Newport Beach, California

I am 64-years-old and find no problem with music being played during a round. I don't do it myself, but don't find the practice annoying or disruptive. Play golf and have fun.

Roy Johnson
Chicago, Illinois 

Should music be allowed on the golf course? My personal opinion is a very strong no.  Primarily because people who play music on the golf course tend to play it at a volume level that other foursomes on the course will hear. My club allowed music, provided that it was kept at a volume such that other foursomes on the course could not hear it. Of course that got abused, so they rightfully banned music all together.

Patrick Butler
Pinehurst, North Carolina

Someone needs to establish a decibel level. Music is OK as long as it doesn't carry more than 25 yards or so.

Michael Schurman
Durham, Ontario


Terry Costin
Naperville, Illinois

As long as the other three players in the group are comfortable with music being played, then I think it is acceptable. In my opinion, any one player in the group has the right to veto music being played, thus there must be a consensus. Music should also be played at a moderate level so that other players are not disturbed.

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Canada

Absolutely, positively not. If you need entertainment, head to your nearest nightclub and  blast your eardrums out. Golf was meant to be enjoyed with the sounds of nature, not 50 Cent.

Dave Parske
Fort Myers, Florida

Yes, as long as it does not impair another group's play. In this age of new musical devices, which were not available years ago, having music brings a fun, light, party-like atmosphere to the game. We all have to remember: Don’t take your game so serious and you’ll be shocked that you will more than likely play better. 

Desmond Martello
Hinsdale, Illinois 

The short answer is no.

One place I can go to enjoy nature, get exercise, be almost totally shut off from distractions and get frustrated is the golf course. Music that can be heard by others has no place on the golf course, in my opinion. The thing we all have in common on the course is playing golf. Our choice in music, we may not.

RJ Wilkins 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No. If someone wants to wear earbuds, fine, but otherwise it is a rude distraction for others on the course.  

Paula Flynn
Newark, Delaware

Absolutely not. The new generation is already etiquette free. Adding tunes to the mix is horrible. The spirit of the game is at stake!

Stan Stevens 
Texarkana, Texas

I am torn on listening to music on the course. I personally do not feel the need to have music playing. The group I play with has plenty of witty comments back and forth. However, the guys do like to play music most weekends. I don’t find the actual noise a distraction, but the conversation of what to play does get distracting. They keep the music very low, but I would say it’s impossible to always contain the music to just our group. I have noticed other groups on the course who are not so considerate with volume levels.  

Rob Anderson 
Ormond Beach, Florida

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Great question. For me, I play golf to get away from being connected from my phone, text messages and the noise of everyday living. I love to listen to good jazz and old school music from the 1960s, '70s and up. I work at a golf course and our GM and I love to play 'Name that tune' on his playlist in the clubhouse. Good music can set the tone for a good day on the course. When I am on the course playing and competing, I prefer to not hear music blaring from the cart whizzing by me. Let me enjoy the sounds of the golf course. I can turn on the jams when I am finished playing. 

Ron Williams
Salem, Virginia

Absolutely not. This is a ridiculous and inconsiderate trend. If you want to listen to music while playing, then gets ear phones. Besides, not everyone enjoys your taste in music. Golf is a game of etiquette — act that way. 

Mike Gosnell
Crestwood, Kentucky.

I do not think music devices should be allowed on the golf course. Most of the time, the music is played too loudly and it is distracting. Oftentimes, the music player does not even ask if it is a distraction or bothersome. If they do ask and you tell them it is, many times they turn it down, but not off.

Brian Tiffany
Star, Idaho

I love music, anything from Deep Purple to Ray Wylie Hubbard. The louder the better, I turn my guitar amp up to “11” when I play.

But, l love golf.

I play golf to hear my friends and engage in conversations and their antics. l listen to the breeze and nature. Maybe even catch the sweet smell of someone’s cigar. I did not come out to hear your music, no matter what level it is played at. 

If you must play music? Plug in your Dr. Dre headphones into your phone and crank it up to “11” dude! That way you enjoy your music and inevitably miss conversations and nature, and I won’t have to engage the marshal for assistance.

David Foster
Woodstock, Ontario

Music in one cart can be bothersome to others, especially if two golfers get a tee time together with golfers they don't even know. Let's go a step further and create a universal rule that a phone must me on vibrate. This way those who think they are so important can regularly and obsessively check their messages instead of bothering others with their phone ringing. Years ago at the Tuxedo Club in New York had a rule wherein if a guest's phone rang during play, the member was suspended for two weeks. Best rule ever.

Mike Kirby
Schaumburg, Illinois

I found that with the music played low, it stops my friends who have radar ears from hearing every little sound.

Darin Culbertson
Clovis, California 

No. It is distracting. Could be too loud or not the music I like. I play golf to be outdoors and hear birds or other nature sounds. I like to relax, concentrate on the game and enjoy the feel of a well-struck golf ball.

Please don’t play your loud music when I play golf.

Gabriel Guardiola
Cedar Park, Texas

I prefer no music on the golf course, but I know it's a thing now and many people like it, so I'm willing to compromise. I do like music, listen to it all the time in my car, but on the golf course I prefer the quiet and the sounds of nature. Music becomes an issue mostly in group outings where people who don't know each other are paired together. As long as the music lover asks — which most do — if the other players approve, then I will say OK as long as the volume is kept to a moderate level. The thing is, for the player who really would prefer no music, loud music is a very unwelcome intrusion on your round. I think it's a matter of courtesy, and I feel that it's the responsibility of the player who wants music to make certain that his personal interest does not reduce the other players' enjoyment of the round.

John Abercrombie
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Absolutely not, unless it is with a Bluetooth headset. Not only is it distracting, not every one likes the same sounds.

Micheal Poe
Ridgefield, Washington

I realize this is going to make me sound like a "get off my lawn" old guy but in a word, no. I find it distracting.

At the very least, the person wanting to play music should be asking playing partners if they mind listening to music before they get onto the first tee. If they're good with it, then no problem. If they do mind, then the music lovers need to leave it off. I guess a compromise could be to commit to keeping the volume so low it can't be heard outside their cart (presuming they're riding). If they're walking then keep it so low it can't be heard by anyone else. And won't that, barely audible, defeat the reason for listening anyway?

Paul Heanue
Plymouth, Massachusetts

I might be old school, but loud music on a golf course is an absolute abomination. Golf is my peace time to enjoy nature and fantasize about how good I could really be. 

Use freaking ear buds and let me enjoy the calming effects of quietude on the course. Furthermore, there are enough distractions in the game like cell phones, slow play and swing thoughts.

Tom Snyder 
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

I listen to music on my blue tooth speaker while playing and ask others if it is okay, only twice have I had a negative response. We turned it off for those times. Yes, music should be allowed.

Graham Nielson
Dolores, Colorado

Sure, music devices should be allowed on the golf course. However, clarification on when music can be allowed is necessary.

Yes, music is fine at 3 p.m. or after on most days. At that point, players are cruising around, jumping from hole to hole. However, music that interferes with other players on a Saturday or Sunday round should not be permitted and completely ruled out during all competitive events.

Plus, whose music during competitive events? Music tastes widely vary and even those playing music and trying to be courteous cannot prevent it from being heard outside their carts.

Music is great during indoor simulator play. The same does not always hold true for outdoor play when nature’s sounds abound.

Steve Rosenbaum Sr.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

In our heads for tempo and timing, but no to someone else's music. We all have our own rhythm on each shot.

Dean Dodge
San Francisco, California

Absolutely not.

Larry Guli
Waxhaw, North Carolina

I say yes, as long as it is only loud enough for the group to hear — which is assuming everyone in the group has agreed to having music during the round.

Jeff Swanson
Bend, Oregon

No, not unless they have earbuds on. Even then I feel the beauty of the game is its serenity. 

Robert Vercillo 
Guilford, Connecticut

Yes, music absolutely. Golf is entertainment and music makes it more fun!

Jay Riger
Elgin, Illinois

No way. It’s a distraction for other foursomes, as well as a possible distraction for someone in your foursome.
Bill Curry
Bonita Springs, Florida

In my opinion, music should be allowed on the course for non-tournament play. I do listen to music when I play. Why not make the game as fun as possible? By the speaker playing, it makes the game more relaxing and fun for myself, my kids and my friends. Again only for regular play, needs to stay away for tournament play. 

Steve Ftacek
Plainfield Illinois

What seemed to be a fad 10 years ago has now become de rigueur. Obtrusive to some, pleasant to others, music does get noticed. Should it be? Our group includes both music fans and haters. We work it out by keeping it low. Most of our group are walkers, so the music comes together only on the tee box. And if asked, players turn down the volume to a level that satisfies the purist.

Tommy Jennings
Winder, Georgia

I don’t like it, but I feel it helps grow the game. I’m waiting for a device that stops the music when the cart stops so everyone can hit in peace. 

Harry Tarpley
Hendersonville, Tennessee

These devices absolutely should be allowed on the golf course. We are not professionals and want to enjoy our rounds of golf. The one caveat that should be followed is this: if you are playing with a stranger, then you should ask if that stranger does not want the music device on while playing and you should honor the answer. One potential result of someone not wanting music during their round with other golfers is that the person who enjoyed the music may choose to use an ear piece during the round. This may result in a decrease in the social aspect of golf between strangers who are playing together.

Craig Whaley 
Tucson, Arizona

Absolutely not. I play golf to get away from all the noise. To compete with my friends and have some good conversations. When I’m playing a course on the coast, I want to hear the ocean waves, not music. Why someone thinks it’s OK to blast their music — and that everyone is going to like it — is absurd. I think those same people wouldn’t like it if I played music they didn’t care for either. The last time I asked someone to please turn off their music was because a car commercial was playing in my backswing. Golf is hard enough without trying to block out the noise of someone who thinks his music is what everyone enjoys. Could you imagine Dustin Johnson trying to hole a putt at the Masters and some guy is blasting opera or hip hop or '70s rock? You want to listen to music on the golf course? Where ear buds! 

David Phillips 
Portland, Oregon

In a word — no. While I learned to play golf in a quiet and respectful setting, I recognize times and habits have changed, so music is a reality. However, when you can sometimes hear music two fairways over, I would ask that those who wish to play music on the golf course be respectful of others and use earphones / ear buds. Thankfully, modern technology allows those who want music to have it without bothering those who do not. 

Greg Schenkel
Indianapolis, Indiana 

Music on golf courses? Yes, definitely. Lots of it. And all of it loud. And tuned to lots of different stations at the same time. In-ground speakers around every green and tee as well. Next level tech — when the ball drops into the cup, a simulated invisible crowd roars its approval. Same for tee shots, only there it blares “you da man.” 

Grow the game. 

Robert Durkin
New York, New York 

Absolutely. I play better when I have rock-and-roll playing on my golf cart's bluetooth sound system. And I have 50 live albums on my phone. 

Bret Jacobowitz
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The newest trend — music on the course — by the younger folks is ignorant, distracting and unnecessary. It's bad enough I have to listen to people on their phones in restaurants, listen to piped-in music at the grocery store or in traffic. Now, on the golf course, more noise. It should be banned.

But some woke golfer will says it's a violation of his civil rights and some woke judge will agree and the merry-go-round will keep spinning. Music and cigars don't belong on the links.

Larry Ashe
Chicago, Illinois

NO NO NO!!!!!!!

David F. Flynn 
Duxbury, Massachusetts

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