Mental Golf Tip Mondays: Turn Off The Cell Phone

Mental Golf TipsIt’s a problem that only a modern golfer could have: being bombarded by messages from the outside world while playing a game that requires focus, peace of mind and calm.

This week’s mental golf tip is a simple one: Turn off the cell phone and leave it in your bag. Or better yet, leave it in your car.

A lot has been written about the impropriety of phones on the course, and of the danger of having one go off while you’re in the middle of a swing. But I don’t think that’s the primary problem. I think the primary evil of cell phones on the course lies in informational distraction. The mere presence of the things and their incoming messages takes your mind away from golf.

I’ve ignored my own advice far too often. I’ll forget to switch the phone to silent, and it will ding its new message notification. Then I begin wondering whether it’s junk email or important. Perhaps it’s a text message from my wife. Wondering distracts me from my game. So I check the message. Usually, it’s junk. But often enough, it’s something I need to attend to, so I begin thinking about that instead of the game. And by that point, I’m into a golfing death spiral.

This tip is an excerpt from The Five Inch Course: Thinking Your Way To Better Golf. The complete book is available in Kindle format at

3 thoughts on “Mental Golf Tip Mondays: Turn Off The Cell Phone”

  1. Small warning to those readers south of the Mason-Dixon line (or maybe south of Toledo)-
    Don’t leave a smart phone in your car on sunny days over about 80 degrees or so.  iPhones in particular are very vulnerable to temps over about 100 degrees.  I left my old iPhone in the car on a 85 degree day just during lunch and when I came back I had the temp warning on it and it took an hour to cool down to where it would work again.  Given another hour or so, it may never have come back.

    A couple of the more old-money country clubs in town charge the member a fine if they or their guest use a cell phone in the restaurant or on the course itself.

  2. Not only GREAT advice for the golf course, but for life in general.  We get so wrapped up in our electronics, it would do us all good to take a day off from all of it once a week. 

    I love playing a silent round of golf and leaving my phone turned off, sometimes even at home.  The 19th hole becomes even more enjoyable when my phone stays off, as well.

    I learned this lesson 6 years ago when I was still a higher handicap golfer and was close to breaking 40 (on 9 holes) in league play for the first time.  I was playing great and my phone went off in the middle of my putting stroke.  That cost me a three putt and my phone barely makes it on the course now.

  3. While I have not been interrupted in the middle of a putt like Benjamin, it can be an interruption at many times.  My grandkids cannot get their eyes off their iPhones for more than 10-15 minutes!  While I cannot swear off mine for a full day, I can take an afternoon off without turning it on.  And it goes off during dinner out with my lovely wife!


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