Is Smoking Allowed On The PGA Tour?
In general, you are still able to smoke at PGA Tour events, both players and spectators. However, there are likely to be restrictions regarding smoking in or near temporary structures that have been built for the event such as hospitality marquees.
For example to quote the PGA Tour website information for the Dell Technologies Matchplay in 2020:
“Smoking & Vaping
Smoking and vaping are permitted on course in open areas. Smoking and vaping are prohibited inside and within 50 feet of all hospitality and public structures.”
Obviously, you should be mindful of other spectators when attending a PGA Tour event. If you want to smoke then move to a quiet area away from any buildings or temporary structures so as not to affect other patrons. Don’t forget that if you upset other spectators you could be ejected as the PGA Tour reserves the right to remove people that are behaving inappropriately.
There have been examples though of tournaments where smoking (for spectators at least) has been banned. E.g. The 108th US Open at Torrey Pines.
PGA Tour Rules On Smoking
The Tour doesn’t have a ban on smoking and smoking-related products but due to the nature of their commercial relationships with sponsors, they expect players to exercise discretion when they light up. Other than tobacco brands I doubt any company wants to see their product associated with the habit.
Interestingly there are probably more caddies that smoke than players. Maybe the stress of dealing with a touring professional leads them to take up smoking! With the amount of money some of them earn they can probably afford champagne and caviar!
Do PGA Tour Players Smoke?
Yes. A number of professional golfers currently smoke or have in the past including:
- Spencer Levin
- John Daly
- Nicolas Colsaerts
- Tim Herron
- Darren Clarke
- Dustin Johnson
- Miguel Angel Jimenez
- Jason Dufner
Can I Smoke On The Golf Course
In general, you aren’t going to run into many problems smoking on the course, although your playing partners might not appreciate it! Try to stay downwind of your playing partners as much as possible and also dispose of your butts appropriately. Should a non-smoker have to put up with a cigarette butt on the line of their putt etc? Given that golf is proud of its rules of etiquette, this is a particularly sore point for me as a non-smoker on those rare occasions when I am playing with a smoker.
Some clubs may have introduced blanket bans but they are likely few and far between. In the UK a few clubs might ban smoking during periods of hot weather as there is always the potential for fire and no doubt some clubs in other parts of the world might introduce such bans when the weather is unusually dry for a prolonged period.
Can I Smoke In The Clubhouse?
In the United States, there currently aren’t any federal laws to prohibit smoking indoors but 29 states have enacted bans in public places such as restaurants, bars and casinos. However, some have given exemptions to certain institutions such as private clubs. This means that you might be able to smoke in a golf club bar/restaurant even though there are statewide regulations banning smoking in bars/restaurants open to the general public. You would need to double-check the rules of that particular club.
Of course, it is possible that if enough club members were in favor there is nothing to stop them from bringing in a club rule forbidding smoking indoors.
Can I Leave The Grounds To Smoke?
Unfortunately, if you are attending a PGA Tour event then you won’t be readmitted if you leave the venue so you will just have to find somewhere quiet to indulge yourself without affecting too many other spectators.
Should Smoking Be Banned At PGA Tour Events?
As a non-smoker, it is easy for me to say that it should but since we are talking about an outdoor activity then it might be considered too draconian! As long as you respect other people’s right not to breathe your secondhand smoke or deal with cigarette butts then I don’t see why it should be banned outright unless there is another good reason such as a risk of fire due to dry weather.
Is Smoking Allowed at European Tour Events?
Yes with similar caveats to the PGA Tour. Smoking will not be allowed in buildings or temporary structures. Since the European Tour (now the DP World Tour) visits so many different countries there may also be restrictions imposed at certain events so you would need to double-check for that specific tournament. Players and caddies are expected to be discrete if they are smoking while on the course.
Is Smoking Allowed On The PGA Tour: Conclusion
So, while it isn’t explicitly banned it is frowned upon by the Tour and no doubt the companies that sponsor the players. In the modern era, brands don’t want to be associated with tobacco products unless they are already part of that industry.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Can PGA Players Smoke On The Course?
The PGA Tour doesn’t have an outright ban on players smoking on the course but they do expect them to exercise some discretion while smoking due to the commercial relationships they have with their many partners.
Can PGA Players Drink On The Golf Course?
No, the Tour Rules prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the golf course during practice and tournament rounds. Breaking this rule could lead to penalties if they are discovered.