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Attending the flagstick

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi. I am new here. I have been playing golf seriously for 3 years. Now that I am going to play competitions I am doing my best to learn the rules. I play every day, and I have a few friends who come out a lot, too. There is one friend who frequently calls penalties on me for things and most of the time he is wrong. At least I think he is. Today, for example, his brother was chipping to get his ball on the green. Since it was a close chip, I attended the flagstick out of courtesy. He didn't say anything. He chipped and the ball rolled past the hole. After he chipped he said "Why did you remove the flag?" That's when my friend said "He didn't ask you to attend the flag. That's a penalty on you!!" I said I don't get a penalty because if he didn't want me to attend, he should have said something before he made his stroke. Who is right?

post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jga226 View Post

Hi. I am new here. I have been playing golf seriously for 3 years. Now that I am going to play competitions I am doing my best to learn the rules. I play every day, and I have a few friends who come out a lot, too. There is one friend who frequently calls penalties on me for things and most of the time he is wrong. At least I think he is. Today, for example, his brother was chipping to get his ball on the green. Since it was a close chip, I attended the flagstick out of courtesy. He didn't say anything. He chipped and the ball rolled past the hole. After he chipped he said "Why did you remove the flag?" That's when my friend said "He didn't ask you to attend the flag. That's a penalty on you!!" I said I don't get a penalty because if he didn't want me to attend, he should have said something before he made his stroke. Who is right?

If I am off the green and am about to play my shot with the flag still in and haven't said anything to anybody yet, you can rest assured it means I want that flag left in.  And I think that is probably true for most people.  If I'm in your position, and I see somebody getting ready to play a shot from off the green I assume he wants it left in and don't say anything.  If I guess he might want it out, I'll ask before I take it out.

 

Definitely bad form on your part to remove it without asking.

 

A penalty though?  I have no idea.  I would guess probably not, but I have never really thought about it.

 

EDIT:  Whoops, your friend is right ...

 

17-2. Unauthorized Attendance

If an opponent or his caddie in match play or a fellow-competitor or his caddie in stroke play, without the player’s authority or prior knowledge, attends, removes or holds up the flagstick during the stroke or while the ball is in motion, and the act might influence the movement of the ball, the opponent or fellow-competitor incurs the applicable penalty.

post #3 of 18

17-1. Flagstick Attended, Removed Or Held Up

Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.

If the flagstick is not attended, removed or held up before the player makes astroke, it must not be attended, removed or held up during the stroke or while the player’s ball is in motion if doing so might influence the movement of the ball.

Note 1: If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a strokeis being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick.

Note 2: If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player’s knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.

Note 3: If anyone attends or holds up the flagstick while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick until the ball comes to rest.

(Moving attended, removed or held-up flagstick while ball in motion – see Rule 24-1)

17-2. Unauthorized Attendance

If an opponent or his caddie in match play or a fellow-competitor or hiscaddie in stroke play, without the player’s authority or prior knowledge, attends, removes or holds up the flagstick during the stroke or while the ball is in motion, and the act might influence the movement of the ball, theopponent or fellow-competitor incurs the applicable penalty.

 

My interpretation would be that there's no penalty on you in that scenario. A good rule of thumb is to offer to tend the flag and only do so if the player consents.

post #4 of 18

From the USGA site:

 

 

Quote:
Note 2: If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player’s knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.

 

http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rule-17/
 

post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by geauxforbroke View Post

17-1. Flagstick Attended, Removed Or Held Up

Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.

If the flagstick is not attended, removed or held up before the player makes astroke, it must not be attended, removed or held up during the stroke or while the player’s ball is in motion if doing so might influence the movement of the ball.

Note 1: If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a strokeis being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick.

Note 2: If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player’s knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.

Note 3: If anyone attends or holds up the flagstick while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick until the ball comes to rest.

(Moving attended, removed or held-up flagstick while ball in motion – see Rule 24-1)

17-2. Unauthorized Attendance

If an opponent or his caddie in match play or a fellow-competitor or hiscaddie in stroke play, without the player’s authority or prior knowledge, attends, removes or holds up the flagstick during the stroke or while the ball is in motion, and the act might influence the movement of the ball, theopponent or fellow-competitor incurs the applicable penalty.

 

My interpretation would be that there's no penalty on you in that scenario. A good rule of thumb is to offer to tend the flag and only do so if the player consents.

I guess the interpretation would have to be on the player's "prior knowledge."

 

EDIT:  wow, you guys are fast!  Looks like krupa found the applicable answer.

 

Still, I say its bad form.  If he doesn't ask you to attend it, don't.  If you think he might want it out, ask him first.  Simple as that.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

I guess the interpretation would have to be on the player's "prior knowledge."

 

Exactly. If you're standing 5 feet from the hole and never indicate that you're going to tend the flag, then pull it out after the ball is struck, I would say that the player would have no prior knowledge. If you stand beside the hole with the flagstick in your hand and the player sees you, then you might be able to say that the player had prior knowledge. 

 

Just goes back to my point, you should never tend the flag without offering or being asked to. 

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

I guess the interpretation would have to be on the player's "prior knowledge."

 

EDIT:  wow, you guys are fast!  Looks like krupa found the applicable answer.

 

Still, I say its bad form.  If he doesn't ask you to attend it, don't.  If you think he might want it out, ask him first.  Simple as that.


I'm new to golf so don't have any experience to go by but it seems that "knowing but not saying anything implies consent" leads to problems like the OP had.  Explicit consent removes a lot of problems.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I've learned that I will ask from now on, to avoid situations like this. I have another friend who I play with and we always just attend the flag stick for each other unless one of states otherwise.  I guess it is habit. Thanks.

 

Joel

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krupa View Post

Explicit consent removes a lot of problems.

 

Yep.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jga226 View Post

Thanks. I've learned that I will ask from now on, to avoid situations like this. I have another friend who I play with and we always just attend the flag stick for each other unless one of states otherwise.  I guess it is habit. Thanks.

 

Joel

 



You can get a copy of the rules for free (maybe pay for shipping) from the USGA site.  The book is small enough to fit in your bag.  Then when your friends try to penalize you with something you don't think is correct, you can bust it out and prove 'em wrong.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by krupa View Post

 



You can get a copy of the rules for free (maybe pay for shipping) from the USGA site.  The book is small enough to fit in your bag.  Then when your friends try to penalize you with something you don't think is correct, you can bust it out and prove 'em wrong.

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-rules-of-golf/id347349889?mt=8

 

If you are an iPhone user, the Rules of Golf app is available for $3.99. Nice format and a search feature that can be really handy.

 

I'm sure there are similar apps in other app marketplaces as well.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geauxforbroke View Post

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-rules-of-golf/id347349889?mt=8

 

If you are an iPhone user, the Rules of Golf app is available for $3.99. Nice format and a search feature that can be really handy.

 

I'm sure there are similar apps in other app marketplaces as well.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by krupa View Post

 



You can get a copy of the rules for free (maybe pay for shipping) from the USGA site.  The book is small enough to fit in your bag.  Then when your friends try to penalize you with something you don't think is correct, you can bust it out and prove 'em wrong.

 

Awesome! I'm going to get both!!!! My parents could use the rule book. They caddie for me sometimes.

 

Joel

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by geauxforbroke View Post

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-rules-of-golf/id347349889?mt=8

 

If you are an iPhone user, the Rules of Golf app is available for $3.99. Nice format and a search feature that can be really handy.

 

I'm sure there are similar apps in other app marketplaces as well.

 

Meh, save the $4 and just go to the USGA rules site and look real quick.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post

 

Meh, save the $4 and just go to the USGA rules site and look real quick.

 

That works too. Unfortunately, a lot of the golf courses I play have poor/no cell reception.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jga226 View Post

Thanks. I've learned that I will ask from now on, to avoid situations like this. I have another friend who I play with and we always just attend the flag stick for each other unless one of states otherwise.  I guess it is habit. Thanks.

 

Joel

 

As a rule of thumb:

 

If the player's ball lies off the green, don't attend the flagstick unless asked.

 

If the player's ball lies on the putting green, then attend the flagstick unless he asks you to just remove it.

post #16 of 18

Some people may not want you in or near the path of the shot they are getting ready to play. I play with a guy that is always too close for comfort and I constantly have to remind him I'm a 12 handicap because I am inconsistent. I don't want the focus to be avoiding hitting him when I am trying to chip it close enough to save par or bogey. Penalty or not probably better to be safe than sorry. I don't play with anyone good enough to hit the stick regularly, better to be out of the way unless they ask.

post #17 of 18
It also sounds as if this "friend" is a bit of a d*ck... He apparently takes great pride in making sure you get penalized for infractions you may or may not know about, or might not even exist. As mentioned keep a rule book handy (since you shouldn't have the phone with you!), and if there is an argument- there is a provision to call the USGA to decide once and for all.

My second piece of advise would be to not play with this "friend" if he keeps trying to game you all the time.
post #18 of 18

I carried the small rules book for a long time. Not now.  Once in the match and under the pressure of moving fast I found simply no time to search for any rules, let alone various decisions. After the match is complete one can talk it over if the situation warrants. What joel did seems straight forward, hard to argue with what took place. When it's more judgmental, like when in the sand bunker and you think other guy touched the sand on the backswing, nothing but ill will can result if you speak your mind.  Where i play the clock is always ticking, we are allotted 4 hrs 17 mins to finish.

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