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dedalus101

Do You Putt from Off the Green With Flagstick In or Out?

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Leaving the Flagstick In  

66 members have voted

  1. 1. When putting from OFF the green, do you leave the flagstick in?

    • Yes, I leave it in.
      60
    • No, I take it out.
      6


103 posts / 10097 viewsLast Reply

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I posted a question asking the rationale for a two stroke penalty for hitting the flagstick while putting from the green.

I came to realize that the rationale was to prevent golfers from using the flagstick in long range or steep downhill situations from acting as a backstop thus avoiding a three putt.

What got sticky was the question of putting or chipping from just off the green where your intent is to sink the putt not just to try to stop it close to the hole. My experience and that of most of the good golfers I have played with is your odds go up if you remove the flagstick.

However, some people on the previous post insisted without any real evidence that I was wrong. So just for kicks and giggles I'd love to do a poll to hear what most people on this site do in that situation. To make it specific lets say the ball is resting not more than three feet off the green is relatively level and without a severe break and the distance to the hole is under 15 feet. In other words a putt you can have some confidence you could make.

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I leave the flag stick in and consider it an advantage.  I find it much easier to gauge distance to a tall stick than I do a small, elliptical, hole in the ground.  Could be age...could be habit...but I never pull the pin if I'm not required to.

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I thought there was a two stroke penalty only for hitting an "attended" flagstick. But then, since I live in the "old days" of golf rules, maybe that's another one that changed!

Generally I like the flag out, unless I've hit such a poor approach that I have a hard time seeing the cup unless th flagstick is in it!

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I always thought when pros would say "pull the flag" when they didn't need to - that was basically bravado.  I leave it in if I can . .always.  

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8 minutes ago, dedalus101 said:

What got sticky was the question of putting or chipping from just off the green where your intent is to sink the putt not just to try to stop it close to the hole. My experience and that of most of the good golfers I have played with is your odds go up if you remove the flagstick.

Your experience is not backed by the facts.

In two cases, you have a better chance of making the putt with the flagstick out. Those situations are:

  • When the flagstick is leaning in such a way that the ball won't fit in the hole.
  • When you have nearly perfect speed - i.e. six inches to about a foot past the cup. And in this situation, your percentage make goes up only a tiny percent.

For all other situations - namely, when you don't have 6-12" past the hole speed, you're better off leaving the flagstick in the hole. Most people can't control their speed to within a foot past the hole even from 14', let alone from 20, 25, or 30…

You've contrived a situation by saying "under 15 feet" that's pretty specific (and unlikely). Even at 18" past speed, the flagstick being in the hole helps (a fraction of a percent, but it swings to the positive pretty quickly).

I did some testing after this thread (no surprise, it matched up with what basic physics tells you):

I used a Perfect Putter for rolling the balls. I'm not sharing the data because I'll want to re-do it with someone else, and film it, and so on. If I have the time.

3 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I thought there was a two stroke penalty only for hitting an "attended" flagstick. But then, since I live in the "old days" of golf rules, maybe that's another one that changed!

Nobody's talking about an attended flag stick.

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If I'm on the green, of course I take it out unless I'm just out by myself and don't want to waste time, but off the green I always leave it in.  It will always help you more than it will hurt you.  You putts from off the green and chips will not always being going the correct pace and having the flag get in the way when it's racing across the green is always an advantage, even though it doesn't happen often.

To the OP, have you ever hit a chip, pitch or putt off the green too hard, skulled it, etc., if you have, then do you think it would be a benefit to have the flag in or out?  If it's a benefit off the green, why wouldn't the same benefit hold for being on the green.

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I keep the flagstick in. I've seen too many times the flagstick helping the golfer. I remember a co-worker of mine bladed a bunker shot, the ball hit the flag, and dropped down next to the hole. Almost every time if the ball hits the flag stick it will end up closer to the hole compared to if the flagstick wasn't there. 

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

Nobody's talking about an attended flag stick.

True, but someone (the OP) was talking about a two stroke penalty, and I thought an attended flagstick was the only situation where that applied!

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Short answer, yes, I leave the stick in when I can.  I used to take it out when I had relatively short putts where I was comfortable with my speed control, but after reading some of the discussions here over the past year, I've changed.  So far, the pin hasn't changed the result of even one shot for better or worse, but I'm going to keep paying attention.

 

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If I have a short putt from the fringe I will take the pin out.  Anything else off the green I want the pin in since as my handicap indicates I occasionally chip it with too much speed - I have hit the pin and had an undeserved short putt as a result.

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It may have been mentioned before, either here or on another thread, but originally (or at least at some time in the past), the flag could be left in whether on or off the green. Then, apparently the rules were changed to what they are today. This would seem to indicate that the advantage would be to leave it in. If I can see the hole clearly, I have it pulled, if not, then attended.

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Note: This thread is 1203 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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