Spectators at this month's Farmers Insurance Open will be allowed to bring mobile phones to the course and use them in designated areas, the PGA Tour said on Tuesday.

The shift in policy is part of an ongoing experiment by the Tour to enhance the overall fan experience at events on the circuit.

We understand that mobile devices have become a part of everyday life, PGA Tour Chief of Operations Andy Pazder said in a statement.

There is a balance we are looking to achieve between maintaining the integrity of the competition and allowing spectators to utilize their mobile devices in various capacities. We anticipate our fans will be respectful.

Spectators will be allowed to use their mobile phones to send and receive e-mails and text messages, check on-course data and make calls in designated areas during the January 27-30 Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

In August last year, fans were permitted to bring mobile phones to the Wyndham Championship as long as the volume control was set to silent or vibrate.

Subsequent tests were carried out at last year's Frys.com Open and the unofficial Chevron World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods in California.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Kapalua, Hawaii; Editing by Peter Rutherford)