At a golf outing last summer, my cart partner asked if I’d mind if he played some music in our buggy during the round. Though my first thought was, “Yes, I would mind,” I told him no, in the interest of congeniality.
And so I spent the next four-plus hours mildly distracted and annoyed by the sounds and selections of an on-course DJ.
Don’t get me wrong. I love music. And I love golf. But in my view, the two don’t mix.
You’ll excuse me, then, as I bristle at the news that the European Tour is allowing the playing of music on the range at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. According to an Associated Press story, the tour also intends for music to be played on the walkway to the first tee, “giving it a feel comparable to the build-up to a boxing match.”
The music is the latest effort by Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive and golf’s version of P.T. Barnum, to invigorate his tour’s product. But this is golf, not boxing.
“There will be a time in five years when you’ll say, ‘You mean there was a time when music wasn’t on the range?’ ” Pelley told the AP.
Players such as Henrik Stenson and Thongchai Jaidee are quoted in the AP piece saying they like the musical accompaniment to their pre-tournament paces.
But You Shook Me All Night Long on the range at Augusta National? Somehow, I think not.
Call me a traditionalist. And yes, golf needs to consider ways in which it can court those coveted millennials.
But to me, music just ain’t the ticket.