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Ear Plugs


bkuehn1952
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I played in a tournament with an interesting player recently.  This guy was a bundle of Obsessive/Compulsive mannerisms.  He easily took 45+ seconds to hit every shot as he went through a series of movements.  On top of all that, he talked unusually loud.  Eventually I noted that he was wearing ear plugs.  They were not hearing aids or blue tooth ear pieces, just plain ear plugs.

At first I wondered about how the Rules of Golf might view intentionally reducing ambient noises with something artificial. (ear plugs)  Ultimately, I decided there was no issue.  If he were wearing white noise headphones, that might be a breach but just stuffing something into your ear cavity was okay.  So we just played on and I shouted at him when I needed him to hear. 

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My first thought would have been to ignore the issue like yourself.   There may have been mental issues and ear plugs allowed him to play instead of sitting out.   The rules wouldn't agree with that but unless it's a major tournament, I'm not challenging the issue.    

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3 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I played in a tournament with an interesting player recently.  This guy was a bundle of Obsessive/Compulsive mannerisms.  He easily took 45+ seconds to hit every shot as he went through a series of movements.  On top of all that, he talked unusually loud.  Eventually I noted that he was wearing ear plugs.  They were not hearing aids or blue tooth ear pieces, just plain ear plugs.

At first I wondered about how the Rules of Golf might view intentionally reducing ambient noises with something artificial. (ear plugs)  Ultimately, I decided there was no issue.  If he were wearing white noise headphones, that might be a breach but just stuffing something into your ear cavity was okay.  So we just played on and I shouted at him when I needed him to hear. 

An interesting issue.

Rules do not specifically mention ear plugs but under 4.3a(4) an action not allowed is listening to music to eliminate distractions. As ear plugs are used for the same purpose I would say using them is a breach of R4.3a. Unless there is a medical reason for using them.

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2 hours ago, Ruler said:

An interesting issue.

Rules do not specifically mention ear plugs but under 4.3a(4) an action not allowed is listening to music to eliminate distractions. As ear plugs are used for the same purpose I would say using them is a breach of R4.3a. Unless there is a medical reason for using them.

That's how I would vote.

If you've got cotton in your ears for a medical reason, I'd check with the Committee first, so they're aware and can rule (a doctor's note or something should suffice there).

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(edited)

Good points with the analogy of music/headphones (prohibited) and ear plugs both being efforts to eliminate distractions.  I thought about a person with hearing aids.  He could turn them off (or down) or even remove them and achieve the same result but no one would likely think to penalize that person.

People wear all sorts of items in hopes it will improve their results.  There are many non-prescription sunglasses that claim improved sight.  I wonder if someone went to the trouble of installing blinders (like some carriage horses) on their sunglasses, if the ruling bodies would step in.

I have asked the USGA about ear plugs to see what they say.

Edited by bkuehn1952
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42 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I thought about a person with hearing aids.  He could turn them off (or down) or even remove them and achieve the same result but no one would likely think to penalize that person.

But he/she would never hear the shouted "FORE!!!"  Or the "You're still away."
 

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1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

...  He could turn them off (or down) or even remove them and achieve the same result but no one would likely think to penalize that person.

 

I wear hearing aids with hard acrylic plugs and I have turned my aids off on the course and the aids essentially become plugs.  No one would be able to tell if they were off.

45 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

But he/she would never hear the shouted "FORE!!!"  Or the "You're still away."
 

Depending on how far away someone who yelled FORE was I may not hear anything other than noise even if I had my aids on.

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2 minutes ago, Hohjoe said:

I wear hearing aids with hard acrylic plugs and I have turned my aids off on the course and the aids essentially become plugs.  No one would be able to tell if they were off.

But #1... I want to converse with you on the course instead of getting, "Huh?  What did you say?"

And #2... the guy who shouts "Fore" and then hits you is going to wonder what the deal is.  Legally, you probably couldn't sue.

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5 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

But #1... I want to converse with you on the course instead of getting, "Huh?  What did you say?"

And #2... the guy who shouts "Fore" and then hits you is going to wonder what the deal is.  Legally, you probably couldn't sue.

If I on the course with someone I want to converse with, then I wouldn't turn them off. Once on a crowded course I was stuck with a threesome and they talked among themselves and ignored me. One guy had a really annoying laugh, so I just turned the aids off and watched for nods and hand motions for me to hit.

 

I played this past Thursday, aids on, and I was on the tee box for 11 which is parallel to the green for 10, a short par 3. I hit and turned toward the cart and there was a ball 2-3 yards to my right in the tee box area. I looked at the tee box for 10 and a lady was standing there watching me. If she yelled anything I didn't hear it even with the aids on.

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28 minutes ago, Hohjoe said:

I wear hearing aids with hard acrylic plugs and I have turned my aids off on the course and the aids essentially become plugs.  No one would be able to tell if they were off.

You would.

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I asked the opinion of two experienced referees and both said that using ear plugs to eliminate distractions would fall under R4.3a(4) as being analogous to listening music with the same purpose.

Any comments?

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22 hours ago, Ruler said:

I asked the opinion of two experienced referees and both said that using ear plugs to eliminate distractions would fall under R4.3a(4) as being analogous to listening music with the same purpose.

Any comments?

I would rather wait for one of the RBs to comment.

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16 hours ago, Rulesman said:

I would rather wait for one of the RBs to comment.

So if that would happen in a competition where you are the referee you would wait for the RBs to answer? 

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26 minutes ago, Ruler said:

So if that would happen in a competition where you are the referee you would wait for the RBs to answer? 

You only asked for a comment.

But I would ask the players 'Why?'

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3 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

You only asked for a comment.

But I would ask the players 'Why?'

And he would answer (just as in my post): 'To eliminate distractions'.

Now what?

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