A recent article in the New York Times examined the changing nature of golf galleries in terms of how much noise fans make and whether the traditional etiquette of the game (essentially, keep quiet when you're watching a tournament) is being compromised.
(Note: the link above may or may not work, depending on one's access to the New York Times, which has a paywall).
The essence of what prompted this post comes from rocker Alice Cooper. An avid golfer, Cooper thinks noise should be allowed. He may be on to something.
Cooper, an avid golfer who was part of the pro-am field at this year’s tour stop outside Palm Springs, Calif., applauds the noisemakers in the crowds. “I think golf is missing the boat by not having everyone yelling at the same time,” he said by e-mail. “When everything is dead quiet and someone clicks a camera, it’s distracting. When everyone’s making noise, there’s no startling noise.”
Cooper is right. It's only golf tradition, and it is of course to be respected (but...) that keeps golf a silent sporting pursuit. But anyone who has ever attended a golf tournament knows that players hit their own shots or putt while a gallery is celebrating someone else's great shot or putt at a neighbouring hole, and nobody seems to be thrown off their game. Players are thrown off their game, sometimes with glares towards the gallery that could kill if looks could kill, if a fan clicks a camera as they are hitting or putting. Yet if a bird chirps during the same circumstance, it doesn't seem to affect them.
What's the diffference? Well, we can tell the humans to zip it, but have no control over the birds and other animals, one supposes.
Still . . . Discussion is open.