All private golf clubs have some basic rules in America.Let’s talk about behavior around the club- the key equipment to golf game:

1. The most important: Never throw a club when you are in anger.

2. Do not change your golf shoes in the parking lot. (Perfectly OK at a public course, but the locker room at private clubs is preserved as the last bastion of golfing ablutions.)

3. No blue jeans, even the expensive kind.

4. Take off your hat when you go indoors or when sitting down to eat.

5. No cell phones on the course or in the clubhouse. (One club is very tough on this: Mobile phones are only permissible sitting in your car in the parking lot with the windows rolled shut.)

Missing, of course, is the no-swearing statute. One high-ranking golf official said that profanity is the genius of English elocution, so multifarious is a certain word that it brings unrestrained joy to the act of playing golf. This came up in a discussion over whether certain tour players should be fined.

changing mores and following a deeply down-turning economyGolf needs to keep up with the times and if we don’t, we may not have private clubs to kick around anymore.

Mobile phones and PDAs are part of modern life. I used to think golf was an escape from the clattery world personified by an ear with a cell phone attached. But I now realize it’s unavoidable and maybe even good for the game. I won’t argue that an emergency far from the clubhouse can be averted by a cell call, or even that checking your PDA at the turn allows you the peace of mind to be away from the office on a Friday afternoon. My main point is that young people think of a mobile phone as a natural appendage, and we’re cutting off a generation or two of golfers if we don’t welcome them into the game right now.

Of course, all these are not the license for boorish manners or slow play — the practice should be to minimize use; keep voices low; do it in the locker room, not the dining room; don’t hold up play.

Golf clubs have an opportunity to set the standards for good behavior with these devices. Putting our heads in the sand and hoping they go away is just not a realistic answer.