The game of golf is unusual in the fact that referees and officials are normally absent when the game is being played, this relies on honesty and integrity by the players to obey the rules and show consideration to other players, sportsmanship and courtesy is the spirit of golf, and this should be emphasized to all new golfers. Etiquette on the golf course is not just for good manners, it is also for safety and this should be remembered at all times.
Golf is a game of concentration, so distractions should be avoided. Cell phones should be turned off on the golf course. Raised voices should only be used to warn other players of impending peril. Rustling money or papers, whispering, or removing or replacing golf clubs in the golf bag should be avoided while another player is taking their shot. Unnecessary movements can be a distraction especially if within the peripheral vision of a player taking their shot. Do not stand close to another golfer that is taking a shot or even just practicing, this is not only distracting for the player, it is also dangerous.
Players should never hold up play unnecessarily, sometimes it is unavoidable but care should be taken to avoid holding up golfers behind them. To this end they should endeavor to be ready to take their shot when it is their turn to play. In the normal course of events the golfer whose ball is furthest from the hole is the next player to take their shot. Always wait for the group in front to be out of playing range before taking a shot. If you think that your golf ball has gone out of bounds or is in a water hazard then you should play a provisional ball, if you find your original ball and it is playable, then you simply pick up your provisional ball, however if your ball is lost then you will not have to return to your previous position to retake the shot.
Players should be careful to replace and repair any divots made by them on the fairway and any pitch marks (indentations) made by the golf ball impacting on the putting green. Sand should be raked after bunker shots to remove any traces of your presence, the rake should be replaced at the side of the bunker, not in the bunker. All damage on a golf course by a golfer should be repaired.
On the Green
Care should be taken not to damage the putting surface of the green, golf bags and golf trolleys should not be on the green. Players should take care to avoid standing on the line of play of another golfers shot, impressions caused by golf shoes on the green can cause the golf ball to roll off line. Casting a shadow on another player or on their putting line or the hole when they are putting can be a distraction and should therefore be avoided.
Golf etiquette is an important part of the game of golf, it should be learned and adhered to at all times.