I overheard Aretha Franklin singing ‘Respect’ while I was waiting on the tee box the other day. When the song was released in 1967, of course, there were no remote speakers, no blue tooths (blue teeth?) and no ear buds. I did have a recording of the song on 8 Track, though and played it religiously in my 1964 Plymouth Valiant on the way to the U of M.

The USGA policy on playing music on the golf course is all about showing “a little respect. Just a little bit”.Read More>>    

In a decision based on Rule 14-3 The USGA declares listening to music to be against the rules in certain circumstances:

Rule 14-3a states that a player may not use any artificial device or unusual equipment that “might assist him 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. 

It’s also against the rules to use ear buds to block out noise.

It is OK to listen to music when you’re walking up to the tee or down the fairway to the ball, but be aware of where you and RESPECT those around you, both with volume and choice of music. (It’s definitely uncool to use country or rap music to try and get into your opponent’s ‘kitchen’).

And speaking of a culture of respect, that’s the driving force behind all of the club policies around cell phones, pace of play and late arrival for tee times.

Cell phones –cell phones are to be either turned off or set on silent mode in the clubhouse or on the course. Step out of the Members Dining Room or off the Terrace when taking a call.

Pace of Play –Niakwa has committed to maintaining a four hour pace of play. This year the average pace of play has been under four hours, although there have been a few exceptions. Again, it’s about respecting your peers. A couple of weeks ago I had a member tell me he should be able to take as long as he wants on the course, because he only plays once a week.  No. That same day I had a discussion with a member who had picked up his son from school, met his wife and had the family game he had been promising all summer. This member only plays half a dozen games a year and his family was unable to complete their round because of darkness and the slow play of the Mr. Once-a-Week in front of them.

Late Arrival – I’ve seen some etiquette breeches this year displayed by Members arriving late for their tee times. If you’re late you have three alternatives (and there are many good reasons for being late – work traffic etc.  – it happens).  If your group has already teed off you can get the pro shop to drive you out on the course, or you can run and catch up. If your group is waiting, and the group behind is ready to play they have priority and you’ll have to wait for the starter to fit you in. If the group behind isn’t ready to tee off, or there is a gap on the tee sheet, your group can go once you arrive.

If your group is on the first green or second tee, it’s not OK to give them a holler and play the first hole by yourself when the next group is ready to go. Get a ride and catch up.

Golf etiquette is all about respect.  Niakwa Members overwhelmingly demonstrate and support a Culture of Respect.  It’s an integral part of what makes our Club the first rate club it is.

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