Golf, like any other sport, values sportsmanship and integrity. The gentleman’s sport, golf is more focused on this though. Players are expected to trust each other when recording scores on each hole and take into account penalties, avoid impeding opponents so they have a clear, quiet swing, and help each other when looking for their balls. When using a range finder, a device to calculate the yardage from the ball to the hole, it is common courtesy to share the range finder and yardage.
I am on my high school’s golf team, and we are told year after year to remember our etiquette. At the beginning of the season, the coaches always go over the key points of etiquette and discuss other schools who are rude and to mind them. We are constantly reminded that we represent the school, coaches, and family, therefore it is important to follow the etiquette. There is no penalty for not following decorum, but it is a very important part of golf.
Some of these formalities may seem ridiculous for other sports players, but they are not for golf players. One thing is that when someone is putting, you should not step on their line of path, because it could alter the roll of their ball. Another thing is that when a player is preparing to hit the ball, all other players should not make any large movements or noises that could distract the player hitting their ball. Also when someone is preparing to hit their ball, you should not stand directly behind them, near them, or cast a shadow on their ball or near it. When someone is hitting, it is also polite to look out for their ball in case they do not see it drop, especially if it is too sunny to see well. These are just a few of the formalities in golf. It may seem ridiculously polite, but that is a major part of golf.
And of course, it is customary to shake the other players’ hands, just like other sports.