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Point Counterpoint

Is It Acceptable to Use Cell YES

The same way baseball follows its rule book by

the letter, and the same way the Su- preme Court uses the Constitution as its guide, when any question of golf integ- rity arises, I seek wisdom from the only true oracle: Rodney Dangerfield’s Al Czervik character from “Caddyshack.” So when the question of whether or not it is appropriate to use a cell phone on a golf course arises, I turn to Danger- field’s interpretation. There, in the 1980 cinema classic, Czervik finds the time and place to use his phone in the middle of a fairway. “Buy! Buy! Buy!” he shouts to a busi-

ness partner of some apparent import. Faced with some conflicting information from his conversation partner, Czervik abruptly pulls an about-face. “Then sell! Sell! Sell!” he memorably

adjusts on the fly. And then he returns to playing golf. And thus shall it be. I understand, many of you would

find the “Buy!/Sell!” conversation a bit over the top for a golf course. Commerce on a golf course done at a ‘10’ volume is, perhaps, objectionable. That is why it is never wise to be a strict fundamentalist about matters. As the great Aristotle— a man who could think his way around a golf course—once said: “All things in moderation.” So, let’s endorse cell phones—in

moderation. There are, after all, appropriate times

and places for cell phones on a golf course, particularly in this hyper-modern time of texting and Internet access and silent ring tones. For example:

The Sporting Conundrum. If you are playing golf, chances are

you are a sportsman. And if you are a sportsman, chances are you have an interest in the sports world. Most of us working stiffs can only play golf on weekends, when big-time sporting

22 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2010

events are happening. So, on a Sunday afternoon on the links, imagine the joy you can get from occasionally checking a score on your smart phone. Making far less of a racket than Dangerfield’s Czervik, you can slide that smart phone out of your golf bag, and through the miracle of satellite technology, have a PGA Tour leaderboard update in mo- ments. Then, when your partner is slowly letting steam trickle out of his ears on a tee box after a costly triple- bogey, you can ease the tension by break- ing the stony silence with a well-timed: “Don’t feel bad. Tiger just tripled 18 and lost the U.S. Open.” Or, if you don’t want to play golf on the same day as a U.S. Open final round: “Don’t feel bad. Kobe just missed three consecutive free throws with no time left and the Lakers lost the NBA Finals by one point.” You’ll take your buddy’s mind off his woes, and appear worldly and modern at the same time. Plus, nobody heard a sound.

The Employment Conundrum. Many times, we like to pull a fast

one on our bosses and sneak out for golf when they think we’re “working” from home. Some would call this deceit- ful and unproductive. I would call it “multi-tasking.” A cell phone on the golf course can create the illusion of full employment, while at the same time you are pulling driver on a wide-open par-5. Just check that phone in between shots, and every haranguing query from your stick-in-the-mud boss can be answered promptly with a text that you thumb out quickly and efficiently, like “I’m all over it, boss!” Or “Let me pull that file, boss!” When he/she presents a problem that requires you to actu- ally physically be present at your home office, you can fall back on the old “I’ve just been stricken with a severe bout of food poisoning, boss” text, and then turn the celly off for the rest of your round.

Either way: 18 holes, cell phone in tow, mission accomplished.

The Domestic Conundrum. This could be the most critical of all,

fellow duffers. Whether you’re a hen- pecked husband fudging the truth to your spouse about how you’re spending your afternoon or, better yet, a henpecked wife fudging to your spouse about how you’re spending your afternoon, the cell phone is mandatory for peace on the home front. In these cases, it’s even OK to engage in actual conversation on your phone, ducking into a grove of trees for a hushed and rushed “I know, honey, yes, I will stop at the grocery store on the way home,” or an olive branch offer of “Hey, sweetie, I was thinking I should get us some take-out dinner tonight; I’ll pick it up on the way home,” to smooth some ruffled feelings. Surely your fellow golfers would understand. They could never cop attitude toward a player who wanted so badly to tee it up he had to engage in some domestic juggling. In fact, it’s an admirable display of moxie and desire. Texts from the golf course can also ap- proximate ETAs for dinner (always over- estimate, please; an early arrival can then only score you endless capital), as well as feigning interest in your significant other’s afternoon (“How’s your day, hon- eybunch?” you might text, insincerely) to show her you still care. You can even jack up the stakes with an unprompted “Love you, my sweet baboo!” text at the turn just to let her know you’re thinking of her. But let’s be honest. She’s married to

you. She knows you’re full of it. At least, though, with a cell phone

on the golf course, you have a fighting chance. And if you feel you’re losing the battle? Then “Sell! Sell! Sell!” Brian Murphy hosts the KNBR

morning show “Murph and Mack” and was the San Francisco Chronicle’s golf writer from 2001-2004.

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