It’s called the gentleman’s game for a reason. Proper etiquette lies at the heart of golf, and there are some unspoken principles that are incredibly important to the game. The next time you’re on your way to make a tee time, remember these unwritten rules of golf:

Avoid Others’ Putting Lines
The putting line is the path on the green that the golfer’s ball will take to make it into the hole. Take a large step over it, or just walk around the line entirely. Any footprint you leave behind can alter the ball’s path—and you don’t want to be blamed for a miss.

Stop Talking to the Golf Balls
The golf balls can’t hear you, but you know who can? The people you’re playing with. We understand that you’re trying to offer some encouragement, but your comments and pleas can quickly become bothersome for your companions. When in doubt, just stay silent.

Remember to Tip
Be sure to tip anyone who helps you at the country club or while you’re out playing. This goes for your caddies, beverage cart attendants, cart jockeys, etc. It’s a sign that you respect the sport and those who contribute to it. Plus, your generosity will mean a lot to the high school and college kids working these jobs.

Silence is the Golden Rule
The game of golf is equal parts socializing and concentration. According to golf rules and etiquette, the socializing belongs between swings—so remember to stay silent when someone else is hitting. When you’re talking to another player (or worse, on the phone) you’re a distraction to those around you.

Watch Your Temper
See, when Happy Gilmore uses foul language and throws his clubs in rage, it’s funny. When you do it… not so much. Not only could you possibly hurt yourself or others, but golf courses have the right to kick you out if you’re acting up. It’s always better to take the high road and save yourself the embarrassment.

Mind Your Shadow
Similar to the putting line rule, be careful that your shadow isn’t blocking another player’s shot. If you’re in their line of sight or over the hole, you will get dirty looks. Your best bet is to just stay still when someone else is hitting.

Clean Up Your Mess
Nobody likes the person who refuses to fix their ball mark, ashes their cigars, and leave sunflower seeds all over the green. You’re playing The Game of Kings, and it’s inconsiderate to leave your mess behind.

Dress Appropriately
We beg of you, please don’t show up to the course looking like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. A collared shirt and khakis are almost always the dress code. Keep your look clean, understated, and tucked in.

The unwritten rules of golf demand a lot from players. They may seem a little strange, but they’re part of the sport’s identity. With that in mind, remember to be on your best behavior and keep the experience enjoyable for all involved by following these golf rules and etiquette tips the next time you’re on the course.