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Posted April 3, 2012, 4:33 pm
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Masters' cellphone ban isn't hang-up for everyone

For Masters Tournament patrons, learning to spend a day unattached to technology has its pros and cons. Sometimes, opinions differ even within a family.

Augusta National Golf Club posts regular reminders that cellphones are not permitted, from signs in the parking lot to an electronic message on the way to the gate. When tickets are mailed, an accompanying letter notes the strict rule.

In a world of texting, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook on cellphones, spending most of a day disconnected is a rare occurrence.

“I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have my iPhone attached to my hip,” said Jeff Spade, from Vail, Colo.

Spade is a contractor and spends most of his day answering questions from clients and employees. He said on an average day, he spends about 15 to 18 hours on his phone.

“It’s nice in a way to be able to reach anyone at any time. It allows my clients some piece of mind to be able to reach me,” he said. “But on the other hand, it’s really annoying.”

Spade was at the course Tues­day for the second practice round with his wife and two kids.

“Everyone who calls me is standing right here,” said his wife, Kelly. “So I don’t mind not having my phone. In fact, Jeff got me an iPhone for Christmas and I’m still not sure how to use it.”

Jeff Spade said it was nice to be unattached for a day, but he was a little worried about when he picked up his phone Tuesday night.

“My guess? Thirty to 50 messages,” he said.

His son, 16-year-old Jeffery Jr., had a different opinion.

“A whole day without posting anything on Facebook?” he said. “My friends probably think I’m dead.”

His sister, 14-year-old Robin, said she was in "panic mode."

“I’m freaking out,” she said. “Three hours without my phone has felt, like, forever.”

Their father laughed at their responses but also expressed concern.

“Maybe we should take their phones away more often,” he said. “You two are ridiculous.”

The Spades were enjoying their first trip to the Masters. They said they did not have a plan to get around the course but had seen Tiger Woods, which was the goal of the trip.

“I guess my only concern is if we lose each other. We said to meet back at the first tee if that happens, so we should be OK,” Jeff Spade said.

Standing by the ropes on the first hole, Billy Won and his friend from college Mel Freeman said they had lost each other earlier in the day.

“We lost each other around the refreshment stand,” Won said. “It took us about 30 minutes to hook back up. Good thing Mel is like 7 feet tall and wearing an orange shirt, or I might still be looking.”

Won said they had learned their lesson and decided on a meeting spot for the rest of the day.

“It’s so weird that you don’t have to plan anything anymore,” Freeman said. “It didn’t even cross my mind that we couldn’t call each other if we got separated. We’re so used to that.”

Won and Freeman both said they didn’t mind not having their phones. Won, a business analyst from New York, was happy he could not be held accountable for answering e-mails.

“That’s probably why I have a beer in my hand at 10 a.m.,” he said.