Some combinations were formed in heaven: chocolate and peanut butter; pizza and beer; March Madness and sick days. Others were created somewhere much warmer: toothpaste and orange juice; socks and flip flops. You get the picture.

When Rodney Dangerfield, a.k.a., Al Czervik, cranked up Journey from of his tricked-out golf bag at Bushwood Country Club in 1980, he was considered a menace. Today, however, the practice of bringing music to the golf course is gaining popularity.

Are music and golf a devilish combination or one brought to us by our beloved Golf Gods? Depending on your approach, it could be either. Like drinking at your boss’ party, moderation and awareness are key if you want to listen to music on the course tastefully. If you can’t resist the temptation, here are some tips to keep you and your tunes out of trouble during your round.

Don’t turn the volume to 11. Sure, that speaker you brought to the course has never played a note below full blast, but it’s time to test its low-end capabilities. Picture the hole with the shortest distance between the green and the next tee box. Put your music down and walk that distance. If you can still hear the music, it’s too loud. The wrath of someone who just three-jacked and blames it on your boombox far outweighs the bliss any song can deliver.

Don’t rage. Music and golf is already a fringe combination, but some genres are unquestionably out of bounds. You wouldn’t scream on the golf course – except to yell “fore!” – and your music shouldn’t, either. Keep the tunes calm, cool and collected and save the heavy metal for your post-round temper tantrum.

Don’t bring that Kool-Aid to a gin party. Your co-worker from three cubicles down finally invited you to his father-in-law’s ritzy country club. What could impress him more than showing off your sophisticated Eric Clapton collection? If you’re looking for a repeat invitation, you’ll have to resist. The more exclusive and expensive your tee time, the more you should reconsider your need for Creed. On-course music should be reserved for casual tracks where you can trade your spikeless Nike’s for Teva’s and a collared shirt actually makes you feel overdressed.

Don’t DJ. Stopping, starting and skipping songs can be a distraction to your playing partners, and if your attention is focused on constantly playing the perfect song it’s diverted from playing golf. Make a playlist, start it on the first hole and let it play through the end of the round.

Don’t use headphones. You’re playing as a single and think headphones are the perfect work-around to rules 1-4, think again. To paraphrase Destiny’s Child, voluntarily eliminating your ability to hear what’s going on around you on the course is a definite no-no-no-no-no. Whether it’s because you left your wedge on the green, are in the path of an errant tee shot, are being offered a refreshment, or are being asked to join up, play through, or be played through, you need to be able to hear on the course.

While not traditional, music and golf does not have to be a taboo tandem. Stick to these tips to add a new element to your weekly round… and let the good times roll.

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Nick Heidelberger is an experienced communications professional applying his writing craft to his true passion of golf. Born and raised in Idaho, Nick now lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. He writes about all things related to golf, from the world's best players to the weekend warriors, although he can only relate to the latter. When he's not writing or golfing, Nick is probably hiking with his dogs or rooting for his wife's soccer team. Twitter: @njheidelberger

88 COMMENTS

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  1. I play golf with a guy who plays music in his golf cart but only between shots. He has the decency to turn it off if someone is having a shot. I like playing golf with him because he plays good music and it helps me relax. He also asks his playing companions if they mind and if they do he will not play music. Love the post

  2. The term decorum comes to mind. If you’re on the beach, next to the ocean, relaxing, and someone sits next to you. This someone has decided to bring a speaker. Not headphones…a speaker. Myself being 5’10 225, a former collegiate rugby player, armed skydiving, running, and push up enthusiast is never one to shy away from a pleasant “how do you do sir/madame could you please turn the level of your terrible music down. i’m here to relax and my therapist said this is really bad for my blood pressure and anger issues. thank you.” If they doth protest I invite them to keep listening. At lower volume that I cannot hear and to please be respectful of others on our beach. If not I begin my inquiry into the waterproof rating of said speaker. Because if they keep playing it i’m going to throw it in the ocean. They are then invited to a)stop me b)hide and watch. Same rules apply on the golf course. Be considerate of those around you. If someone outside your cart can hear your speaker, it’s too loud. Always turn it down when on the tee-box or for social interactions. It’s not a problem until it is a problem. I have encountered plenty of jeans wearing/flat billers on the course imbibing whilst taking in some Chesney. Nay, nay I say. Thou are being that guy. Also please keep the “get off my lawn” chatter to yourself. Things change, I am against the use of oncourse GPS/range devices and believe that you fat sons of bitches should trade in the carts for a push cart or caddie. Different strokes for different folks. Be nice to people. They’ll be nice to you. Then we’ll all be sitting around being nice. Then we’ll start laughing. Then hot chicks show up and show us their titties. Don’t say no to titties.

  3. what is really bad is when two tees are next to each other..you are ready to hit and here comes dudes with backwards hats and playing crappy loud music…I know there name is dude because every sentence is ‘hey dude, what are you hitting”…I am hitting a driver dude….dude, you really hit that one..

    gads…go back to the video arcade

  4. Music has no place on the golf course. End of story. If you want to listen to music that badly, do it at home, in your car, or at a concert. Literally anywhere but the golf course.

    Also, the idea that “growing the game” has to necessitate lowering standards by allowing things like music to keep people with short attention spans, and no appreciation of nature entertained, is truly pathetic.

  5. It is funny. I live down here on the Grand Strand on the south end and mostly play on this end. Seriously from what most of you are saying with the tourist golfers we get from all over the country of various ages I have never heard any music on any of the courses I have played or seen anyone with Bluetooth speakers etc. In case anyone wonders I ain’t blind or deaf either I have not seen any signs posted prohibiting it either. Just makes me wonder what is going on elsewhere in the world

  6. The thing that bothers me about people playing music on the course isn’t the music. It’s that the people in a cart with the music will talk louder to each other because they have to talk over the music. I’ll be over a shot and hear them yapping when if they didn’t have music going, I wouldn’t ever hear them. That’s the problem that it causes. With that said usually constant noise isn’t really a problem during the swing. Just think about how you can hit balls on a noisy range without issue. The problem comes when it’s silent and something makes a noise that distracts you.

  7. I like music in a beer drinking charity 4 man scramble….. When I’m playing my own ball and playing money games I don’t want to hear it…. And when drinking and playing a scramble , I love to rage(Clutch, Gogira, Opeth, and Machinehead)…… Besides if people are taking beer drinking charity scrambles serious, they got issues…..

  8. It is not the custom to have music while golfing so simply ask those who you are playing with if they mind and don’t play so loud that you offend other groups. I don’t play golf to hear music or nature. I play to be with friends, compete, for the thrill of a well struck shot and to enjoy the outdoors. If you like to spice that up a little, I understand. I’d rather not hear music but if you ask first, I’ll acquiesce because after all it’s the gentlemanly thing to do and golf is a gentlemen’s and gentleladies’ sport. That is a part of golf that should never go away.

  9. Simply against the rules…. From the USGA….
    Rule 14-3

    Wearing Headphones or Earplugs During Stipulated Round

    Q. May I wear headphones or earplugs while playing in the state amateur?

    A.
    The use of headphones or earplugs to eliminate noise or other distractions is prohibited under Rule 14-3.

    Decision 14-3/16 covers listening to music or some other broadcast during a round. Here is the text of that Decision:
    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. However, it would not be a breach of Rule 14-3 for a player to listen to a device briefly, for example, to obtain the results of another sporting event or traffic information, while walking between the putting green of one hole and the teeing ground of another hole.

    There is no restriction on listening to music or other broadcasts while practicing (whether on the practice ground or on the golf course, and whether by oneself or while playing with others), although club rules and disciplinary codes could apply in such circumstances.

  10. Good rules of thumb if you want to play music I suppose. But you missed rule #1… as your group if its even okay by them to play music. Otherwise shut it down. Don’t ruin everyone’s time there and waste their money because for some odd reason you can’t live 2-4 hours without some music. Is someone’s addiction to it that strong like cigarette smoking that they can’t go without without shaking or something? If so, get a live… This also is no different than those who want to talk on the phone during the round. i realize a lot of younger people don’t mind and that’s fine, but find out if everyone in your group thinks like that AND don’t slow up play (worst part of it) so other groups are effected by your selfishness.

  11. Apparently most of you have never played with some fool that insists on yammering throughout the round. Music is played to drown out the non-sense that continually comes from mouths of other golfers.

  12. I am 59 years old and I play golf occasionally with my old college roommate who is a member at a very nice course. He brings his speaker to play music in the cart. I can’t stand it. What a distraction. The music would be fine in any other setting. Not on the golf course, please.

  13. What is the difference, here in California the lower end public courses are dying off daily…music coming out of carts is getting to be way beyond common…and with no marshals at most courses you have everyone driving carts right up (yes in the fringe a lot) to the greens…..and these are men in their 20’s and 30’s…half the time. But by far the worst is the over 60 crowed that think they have the right to drive and park their cart any where they please…yes maybe 1 out of 30 or so is handicapped and should be allowed the better access to his or her ball but when you see 12 out of every 15 carts carrying a blue flag for access it is just plan lazy….

  14. Unless your name is AL Czervik I don’t want to hear any music on the course. Go to the bar after to hear it.
    Thankfully I have not heard anything on my home course, but if I did I would be more than happy to buy you a replacement speaker after the round.

    I there to relax and focus on golf, not somebody clowns boom box.

  15. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  16. Want good music at the course, check out UE Boom or UE Roll.

    UE = Ultimate Ears

    In my opinion, they are the best bluetooth speakers for golf.

    The Boom fits perfectly in the cart cupholder, and the Roll straps on to just about anything.

    Thank me later.

  17. Is the genie out of the bottle & there is no turning back?

    If music is allowed & someone doesn’t like it then they just suffer?

    If music in not allowed & someone wants to have it, then what…They’re bored? Might want to rethink why they’re out there.

  18. If you like TV in restaurants, you’re going to love music on the golf course. I consider it the height of boorish and rude behavior. As if, everybody’s got to endure your taste in music for five hours when they’ve paid the same rate as you. What’s going to happen when everyone wants to bore the world with their own playlist and you’ve got four soundtracks competing for earspace on every hole? It’s a ridiculously selfish endeavor but not surprising in our current society. Re the hi/lo division…same reason there’s TV for every table at Buffalo Wild Wings and none at the French Laundry. It seems inevitable, but very sad that this incredibly douche-y behavior is even being argued here. More rude millennial garbage being shoved down our throats and then shouting down any blowback. Rude, at every level. Why should I have to listen to your music? How bout I bring my speakers to your wedding, or to the movies, or to a restaurant, and play what makes me happy there? How bout everybody brings their own music to your favorite restaurant? There is no level at which this isn’t rude and annoying. Ban it, for everyone’s sake.

    • To be fair, I’m a millennial and HATE music on the golf course…I’ve seen (or heard rather) plenty of guys my grandfather’s age with way too loud music coming out of the cart. You can’t just blame the younger generations, although that’s most likely where this awful trend started.

  19. For me, golf is like fishing. The last thing I want to hear is somebody’s boom box. I like hearing birds, the breeze through the trees, etc. It’s fine having music at a venue like Top Golf. But I’m over 60, before the age of movies on demand and instant/constant entertainment. Guess I’m a grumpy old man . . .

    • Makes sense, and anyone playing with you who wants to put on music should ask you first and respect your decision if you say no. And if someone is playing music who is not in your group, it should be at a volume where you can’t hear it. Personally I listen to music every once in a while on the course but always ask permission first within my group and make sure the volume is low enough so other groups won’t hear it. Imagine that, if everyone has some common courtesy, everybody wins! What a crazy concept.

      • The funny thing, is that all the people who say “no one does it at my course” blah blah blah, probably don’t realize that there have been people, playing concurrently, that did have music.
        I can hear mine on the tee box, in the fairway, and only on the green if it’s close enough to the path. I also pause if I’m driving by any other group.
        If you don’t hear it, then, like magic, it’s not there!
        “I want to hear nature ” doesn’t fly if you’re flying down the path listening to the engine whine and your clubs clatter at every bump.

  20. What about music being heard across the hole? If i can hear the previous/next group’s music from tee box/green, there is seriously something wrong. It’s as obnoxious as being able to hear what everyone shot and how well they putted and what their kids are doing from a different group on the course while putting or teeing off.

  21. Wow, some of these comments are ridiculous. None of you are good enough at Golf to say if music is good or bad on the golf course. To those of you that constantly reference the rules of golf, and blah blah blah. Only a handful of golfers actually abide by the rules and almost everyone really even know the rules. All these comments from one post to another are the exact reason why golf continues to fade away. Music and loud noise is a part of most other professional sports, and it’s what makes them fun to play and watch. Get your heads out of asses and stop taking this game so seriously. I bet you all talk about your handicaps as well. Well, that is also one of the things that is ruining the game. You are either better than someone or not, no one deserves strokes when playing another person. That is cheating! Take some lessons and invest in your game. I am sure I will have wonderful responses. I hope you enjoy the time trying to correct me. My opinion won’t be changed by what you say, most likely will support it.

    • +1!!!

      If golf is an individual sport then the individual should be able to play however they want. Playing with a group? Ask prior to the round if everyone is okay with your music. It’s pretty simple really, just be respectful with it. I’ve had more distractions from obnoxious beer-guzzling foursomes than I’ve ever had from music. Those of you arguing that we should just enjoy nature and not bring music to the course probably have no idea how much the RIGHT music can add to the experience and enjoyment of being outside. I personally find the music genres I’d normally listen to in my car distracting on the course. I typically play by myself and walk. My preferred choice of music is some form of acoustic and relatively mellow. If I think other players are within earshot, I’ll turn it down a bit more to make sure I don’t disturb anyone. There will always be someone that’s disrespectful and abusive, but that’s no reason to ban music on the course. Otherwise, you guys can just stop putting beer in your carts and smoking on the course. All have the potential to create distractions for someone else.

    • You do realize that giving someone strokes is more just a gambling thing, right? As a 3.6 index, playing with a buddy who is a 19.2, I’m going to beat him most times we play if we’re just playing straight up……but giving him strokes makes the match more even and, quite frankly, more competitive for me.

    • What does ability have to do with being forced to hear someone else’s music? I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone to blast music from his phone as you’re shopping in a store or eating in a restaurant.

  22. I played at TPC myrtle beach a few years back, had the pleasure of playing behind the new number 1 player in the world. I think all 18 holes could hear Biggie Smalls, and Snoop for 4 hours. i personally loved it, but can see why others hate it

  23. I’m regaining faith in GolfWrx commenters. It seems like we all agree that playing music on the course should be banned. Being at peace and surrounded in nature is a lost art these days…

  24. I loathe music on the course. Ran into it a couple times. First group didnt give a crap how loud it was or who they were bothering. 2nd group was more mindful (turning it way down around greens and nearby t boxes). Both times it was equally as distracting. Drive around town with your crap blaring if you wanna listen to music, dont play golf.

    • Sounds like you’re a headcase. What do you do when a house on the course is having a party and have music blaring? I agree with others that music should be done respectfully (turning the volume down when others are around). But it sounds like you need to clear the mechanism and stop blaming rhythm and harmony for your poor play.

  25. This is my BIGGEST pet peeve in golf right now, I absolutely hate this trend. I’ve literally gotten into multiple arguments with clowns playing music on the course. I dont get it, never will, I HATE music on the golf course. Call me old fashioned but if I wanted to hear your music I wouldnt be on a golf course.

  26. Nick, I 100% disagree with the no head phones comment. Not everyone wants to hear your taste in music. Even at low volumes, music tends to carry at a number of courses, especially courses in subdivisions. It is sometimes hard to ignore. I can be too much of a mental midget, I get distracted and want to know what music is being played. If you want to listen to music, just use your headphones and make everyone happy.

  27. So your saying as far as one listening to music that they should be respectful to those around them and use some common sense … didn’t realize that these concepts are so foreign that the obvious needs to be said … since it did need to be said it is clear what will happen – people will be self centered and totally ignore others, starting a rash of iron sword fights across the fairways and greens and the rise of battle golf – better dig out that hockey/football gear before heading to the links – just in case :o)

  28. the only issue i have with this is the pretense that the more expensive the round the more likely your music will be frowned upon. as if music on the course is reserved to the low class goat track hackers….If anything, i’ve seen many of the private club members be perfectly ok with and encourage music as long as you’re respectful and following the other rules mentioned.

    Music should be heard in the cart while you’re driving from shot to shot. you don’t need to be rocking out to anything while standing on the tee bed and your cart is 20-30 yds away.

    • Agree with this. Out on the west coast most people at high end clubs that have their own golf carts have speakers and a head unit installed in their cart. No one cares and everyone enjoys it. Usually a variety of music (I agree with more calm beat) works great.

  29. Played some music for the first time on the golf course a couple days ago. I was playing by myself and made sure the music wasn’t a distraction to others around me. I listened to country which is what I love, but I think it helped me maintain some tempo. Often times when I play by myself I tend to play incredibly fast like I have played 18 in 1:15 fast with no one stopping me. What can I say I just can’t wait to hit the next shot.

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