# Why 2 stroke penalty for hitting flagstick?

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42 minutes ago, SG11118 said:

I'm not going to definitively say the pins caused the ball to deflect this far, but perhaps some combination of the hole adding energy to the ball and the stiff pin deflecting most of that energy might have resulted in the ball ending up further away than had the pin not been there?

Highly unlikely.

• Even if the flags were rubber, the ball will deflect with less speed than it had going in.
• Holes can't "add speed" to the ball - for every bit of energy gained by dropping into the hole, the speed is scrubbed off when it comes back out. For a ball to exit the hole with more speed than it entered you'd need to enter at the uphill part and exit at the downhill part and/or have a really rounded lip at the exit point. That's really rare.

I'm not saying your old flagsticks weren't less accepting than the new ones you've got, but no flagstick can really "add" speed to the ball. In virtually all cases the physics works out simply so that the speed taken off is more than enough to offset the reduction in distance (or time) that the ball has to fall in the hole.

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56 minutes ago, SG11118 said:

but perhaps some combination of the hole adding energy to the ball .

I'm afraid the physics doesn't work that way. Collisions do not add energy.

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Why so complicated?

If there was no penalty for hitting the flagstick, you could lay it down just behind the hole,

perpendicular to your putting line and use it as a backstop.

Discussion closed?

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If there was no penalty for hitting the flagstick, you could lay it down just behind the hole, perpendicular to your putting line and use it as a backstop.

Kinda. That's a bit different than leaving it in the hole.

Welcome to TST.

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Why so complicated?

There are very few topics that the users of this forum can't disagree on and dissect into the most minute subtopics, and this is just one of them.  For better or worse, we can make anything "complicated", and I put myself right in the middle of that, this isn't aimed at "those guys".  But that's part of the fun of the conversations we have here, and for the most part we manage to keep our disagreements civil and respectful.  Welcome to TST, I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

Highly unlikely.

• Even if the flags were rubber, the ball will deflect with less speed than it had going in.
• Holes can't "add speed" to the ball - for every bit of energy gained by dropping into the hole, the speed is scrubbed off when it comes back out. For a ball to exit the hole with more speed than it entered you'd need to enter at the uphill part and exit at the downhill part and/or have a really rounded lip at the exit point. That's really rare.

I'm not saying your old flagsticks weren't less accepting than the new ones you've got, but no flagstick can really "add" speed to the ball. In virtually all cases the physics works out simply so that the speed taken off is more than enough to offset the reduction in distance (or time) that the ball has to fall in the hole.

It was probably more perception than reality.  A lot of times the ball didn't seem to be rolling very hard, and it would hit the pin and run 8 feet away.  Your high side / low side example was one I wasn't thinking of.  I was thinking that what might be happening is the ball is rolling across the ground, hits the flag where it was tapered enough to transfer some of the horizontal energy into vertical energy to have the ball bounce across the green where it is subject to a smaller amount of friction and then have the potential to travel further than if the ball had continued to roll.  Its maybe possible, but a little far fetched, and probably only applicable on very slow greens.  You guys are probably right that it really isn't happening.

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Why so complicated?

If there was no penalty for hitting the flagstick, you could lay it down just behind the hole,

perpendicular to your putting line and use it as a backstop.

Discussion closed?

If it was only a 1 stroke penalty, there are quite a few longer putts I would be willing to take the penalty and lay the stick at a 45* angle to my line making a guide to the hole almost ensuring a 1 putt +1.

Welcome to the site.

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7 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

If it was only a 1 stroke penalty, there are quite a few longer putts I would be willing to take the penalty and lay the stick at a 45* angle to my line making a guide to the hole almost ensuring a 1 putt +1.

Welcome to the site.

What about 2 for a breach of 8-2b

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6 hours ago, SG11118 said:

It was probably more perception than reality.  A lot of times the ball didn't seem to be rolling very hard, and it would hit the pin and run 8 feet away.  Your high side / low side example was one I wasn't thinking of.  I was thinking that what might be happening is the ball is rolling across the ground, hits the flag where it was tapered enough to transfer some of the horizontal energy into vertical energy to have the ball bounce across the green where it is subject to a smaller amount of friction and then have the potential to travel further than if the ball had continued to roll.  Its maybe possible, but a little far fetched, and probably only applicable on very slow greens.  You guys are probably right that it really isn't happening.

If the flagstick is angled down and the ball is rolling slowly, it can't add speed because it would deflect it down into the lip of the hole.

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So, here's a fun video for this topic. A shot from a tournament I was at today that I just happened to catch. Obviously not a situation where the option of removing the flag stick comes into play, but I have a hard time believing the ball would have come to rest closer to the hole had the flag stick not been present...

Note: These are very hard, stiff pins, that taper from the middle out (up and down).

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On 2/10/2017 at 5:43 PM, Rulesman said:

What about 2 for a breach of 8-2b

Or 1-2, come to that.

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1 hour ago, Martyn W said:

Or 1-2, come to that.

Plus the possibility of DQ

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If you hit the flag stick with your ball its will against rule of golf because it probably make game confusing.

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Isn't this a proposed rule change?   I believe one of the proposed USGA rule changes is that one can now putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole.   No penalty.

I like it, because for the average player, it could speed up play.

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31 minutes ago, Marty2019 said:

Isn't this a proposed rule change?   I believe one of the proposed USGA rule changes is that one can now putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole.   No penalty.

I like it, because for the average player, it could speed up play.

It is yes. But I doubt it will make it into the final rules in 2019 due to the issues discussed in the rules proposal threads.

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2 hours ago, Marty2019 said:

Isn't this a proposed rule change?   I believe one of the proposed USGA rule changes is that one can now putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole.   No penalty.

I like it, because for the average player, it could speed up play.

It would hardly speed up play at all. Quality of play and golfers just playing slow account much more.

Imagine you are sitting in the fairway and you see a guy put the flag back in. It would take them what, 20 seconds at most. That's an extra 6 minutes on a 240 minute round.

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2 hours ago, saevel25 said:

It would hardly speed up play at all. Quality of play and golfers just playing slow account much more.

Imagine you are sitting in the fairway and you see a guy put the flag back in. It would take them what, 20 seconds at most. That's an extra 6 minutes on a 240 minute round.

Now that I think of it, you're probably right.   I'm just desperate for anything that would speed up my own regular group.

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On 1/30/2017 at 7:12 PM, dedalus101 said:

Sorry that does not explain the rule. The only evidence I have ever seen for being "statistically" more likely to make a putt by hitting a flagstick was a Pelze study that was frankly very poorly designed since it used putts that would have gone 3 feet past, 6 feet past and 9 feet past the hole. Of course a backstop like a flagstick would help if you are banging putts that hard but for anyone who actually has speed control the flagstick is an obstacle not an aide and I have never seen any evidence to the contrary thus why the penalty?

I've been gone for awhile and saw this thread.

I began playing a certain way, which has greatly improved angular accuracy.  (1) I would allow myself only one putt on the green (once I got on).  (2) I would leave the flagstick in (not in a tournament and I am no pro).  (3) The object was to hit the flagstick, or have the putt go about 5 feet past the hole (but not more than 5 feet).  At first this had little effect, but after awhile I began hitting the flagstick.  The ball would typically not drop but the flagstick acted like a break, leaving a very short putt back (but per my conditions would not make another putt).  After awhile I could regularlly hit the flagstick.  I think pro's would be even more clever and would take advantage of this to an extreme.

I still suck at pace.

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