Stepping into the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia is like riding a time machine into the past, where pimento cheese sandwiches cost just $1.50 and customers mingle instead of taking selfies or watching the competition through the lens of a smartphone screen. This is due to the club’s strict policy of not using mobile phones.
This rule is not new and applies to fans, press, players and staff alike. While some patrons don’t mind taking a break from their screens for a few hours to focus on golf, others admit it’s a shock to the system and feel disconnected without it. The fear of getting lost is real.
However, those who need to make an emergency phone call can use one of the 24 touchscreen phones scattered around the stadiums.
In an age where people use their phones not just as a way to communicate with each other, but to take photos and videos, stay connected to the internet, and even to check the time, why are cell phones banned in Augusta?
No mobile zone
Since the Green Zone opened in 1933, no phones have been allowed. This is not going to change any time soon.
When asked in 2017 if former Augusta National president Billy Pine was considering lifting the ban, Pine said not as long as he’s been in charge, explaining that the phones are a distraction.
“You have to ask the next chairman. That won’t change and I’m the chairman. I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said. “Noise is just not a nuisance to the players – the calling and the conversation. It’s a distraction and that’s how we chose to deal with it.”
The club’s current president, Fred Ridley, spoke about the issue ahead of the 2019 tournament, saying the rule would likely never change, noting that most attendees liked the ban.
“I think our customers appreciate our mobile policy,” Ridley said. “I know we’re now the outback, if not the only one in golf, too, in allowing cell phones.”
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What happens to violators of the rule?
The club strictly monitors the use of mobile phones with a zero-tolerance policy. Anyone seen with a mobile phone is removed from the floor. In some cases, rule-breakers were banned for life.
Scott Viet is one of them.
Fayette told The Associated Press that more than a decade ago he bought badges for himself and his father to attend a training course. When they checked in at the gate, security officials found a cell phone in the bottom of his father’s briefcase, who had forgotten the device was there. While they were still allowed to attend the training tour after his father checked his phone, Feight told the AP that a few months later he received a letter from the club informing him of revoking his badge purchase privileges. permanently.
“I am damned for life,” Feight said sarcastically.
In 2010, Tiger Wood was caught with his cell phone in his hand on the 10th green. Fellow golfer and friend Mark O’Meara said Woods was simply helping him by recording a stroke.
While he may have violated the club’s mobile phone ban on the course, an Augusta National spokesperson later said they would make exceptions to the no-phone policy “if players use any type of recording device during a training tour”.
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