Instruction

Ask the Rules Guy: Can you wear headphones on the course?

Photo: Jason Raish

Ask the Rules Guy

TUNING OUT
Hey Rules Guy: For a match, my young opponent arrived at the first tee wearing headphones, and he kept them on for the entire round. Is this allowed?
-- Dave Swiosh, via e-mail

Kids these days, with their Walkmen and electric golf carts! Next time, tell Bruce Swingsteen to lose the headphones and pick up a book instead -- the rulebook, that is. Rule 14-3 covers "artificial devices" and holds that using headphones or earplugs to tune out noise or distractions is a no-go, under penalty of disqualification. Decision 14-3/17 further explains why such behavior is illegal: Listening to music or a broadcast "while making a stroke or for a prolonged period of time" might unfairly assist the player -- for example, by "eliminating distractions or promoting a good tempo." There are exceptions. For example, a quick listen between holes is okay, from music to sports to Howard Stern. Just keep the Bababooey!'s to a minimum.
 

The most trusted name in sports is now the easiest way to stay informed—no matter where you are. At home, at work, or on the go, we have you covered.
check it out
This Way To…
Our one-touch menu gives you easy access to your favorite writers and sports, special sections, and more.
go deep…
Use this strip to access scores, schedules, or to lean back and enjoy our iconic photos and videos, daily live shows, and more.
then take a scroll…
We have more great content than ever.