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Rickie Fowler

Golf's cellphone policies are evolving

Golf's cellphone policies are evolving

Like gnats, wind gusts and plodding players, cellphones can be surpassingly irritating on the golf course.

"You'll be into your swing, and the phone will ring," said Butch Baldwin, a retired longshoremen, as he paused between holes at Clifton Park Golf Course in Baltimore recently. "I think they should be put on vibrate."

But golf's relationship with smartphones is complicated, as modern convenience clashes with the sport's traditions.

For centuries, golf has been a sanctuary, a bucolic — if occasionally maddening — escape from everyday worries. Quiet was expected on the links so concentration on swings and putts wasn't...