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Modernized Rules Discussion: Areas of the Course

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

Not much. Slow golfers are going to be slow. Only so much you can do in the RULES to make them play faster. We'll see what effect the 40-second rule has first, eh?

Yeah. And my fixed flag idea wouldn't work because you'd have to putt through the shadow of the flag if you're in the wrong place. That wouldn't be very fair. Back to the drawing board...

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On 3/3/2017 at 5:08 AM, mvmac said:

Ok here's my video testing out the flagstick staying in the hole. All the putts I hit are in the video except for the first 3 because they weren't hit firmly enough and one sequence that where I missed 3 in a row (angle was basically a duplicate of my first sequence and one of the misses is featured below). 

 

Did you have any where the ball hit the flagstick and bounced away? What proportion did and what made the difference? Speed?

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3 hours ago, Rulesman said:

Did you have any where the ball hit the flagstick and bounced away? What proportion did and what made the difference? Speed?

Those types of putts wouldn't go in with the flag out. And they would roll much farther away.

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I'm not really seeing where the flag stick is such an advantage, and always and advantage.  The putts Mike was making with the flag stick aren't usually missed because the golfer hit it dead center but too hard. It's pushed, pulled, short, missed to where a flag stick in would make no difference. Most sticks are round too. Unless struck dead center, the ball is just as likely to ricochet off at an angle. I seriously doubt we'll see a meaningful improvement in putting statistics if the flag rule is implemented.

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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I'm not really seeing where the flag stick is such an advantage, and always and advantage.  The putts Mike was making with the flag stick aren't usually missed because the golfer hit it dead center but too hard. It's pushed, pulled, short, missed to where a flag stick in would make no difference.

1

Think about it this way: if you have a putt that's speeding towards the hole, but has too much speed to go in, would you prefer the flag is there or the flag is missing? If the flag is there, you have a chance at holing the putt. Worst case with the flag in the hole is that you end up with the ball much closer than it would've been had no flag been there to slow it down.

2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Most sticks are round too. Unless struck dead center, the ball is just as likely to ricochet off at an angle.

 

People have done studies on this, actually, and found that you still have a better chance of holing the ball if you leave the flag in. If you hit the flagstick hard enough that it ricochets off and out of the hole, your putt was moving fast enough that it would not have gone in the hole without the flag, but would have either lipped out or skipped across it. Whenever the ball hits the flagstick, it will lose speed and energy (thanks to the fact that the collision is not perfectly elastic). In fact, I'd be willing to wager that the golf ball's impact is fairly inelastic and the golf ball ends up with less than 2/3rds of the energy it had when it initially struck the flagstick. A golf ball with less energy will be going much slower than a golf ball with more energy, and will have a greater chance of ending up in the hole.

Even if it ricochets at an angle, to touch the pin in the first place the ball has to have gone far enough into the hole that it can fall in. If it's gone that far into the hole, forcing it to lose speed while it's suspended above the hole itself (which it does when it hits the flagstick) can only help you. 

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10 hours ago, Rulesman said:

Did you have any where the ball hit the flagstick and bounced away? What proportion did and what made the difference? Speed?

No, I think in order for that to happen I would have had to hit the putt very firmly, like well past the hole. Most of the putts were from 5-6 feet and while I was trying to "bang" them in, I also wasn't trying to hit the putts at a speed that would have gotten them 10 feet past the hole or something.

Like I said I filmed all the putts I hit except for 3 putts as a warm up and one sequence that was a duplicate angle.

6 hours ago, Vinsk said:

The putts Mike was making with the flag stick aren't usually missed because the golfer hit it dead center but too hard.

I disagree, I think I would have missed many of those putts (and left myself a good distance on the next putt). Hitting putts at those speeds effectively reduces the size of the hole.

6 hours ago, Vinsk said:

It's pushed, pulled, short, missed to where a flag stick in would make no difference.

Right, which is why I was experimenting with "taking the break" out and using the flag as a backstop.

6 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Unless struck dead center, the ball is just as likely to ricochet off at an angle.

I made putts in the video that weren't struck dead in the center of the flag. If I had that kind of control than I'd be a really good putter :-D

@Vinsk, experiment with it yourself from relatively short distances. Let us know what the results were.

3 hours ago, Pretzel said:

If you hit the flagstick hard enough that it ricochets off and out of the hole, your putt was moving fast enough that it would not have gone in the hole without the flag, but would have either lipped out or skipped across it.

Yep.

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On ‎3‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 1:07 PM, Rulesman said:

Next, someone will be suggesting the trees should be felled. That'll save on red paint

Yeah, but think of how many stakes you can make out of those felled trees!

 

6 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I'm not really seeing where the flag stick is such an advantage, and always and advantage.  The putts Mike was making with the flag stick aren't usually missed because the golfer hit it dead center but too hard. It's pushed, pulled, short, missed to where a flag stick in would make no difference. Most sticks are round too. Unless struck dead center, the ball is just as likely to ricochet off at an angle. I seriously doubt we'll see a meaningful improvement in putting statistics if the flag rule is implemented.

Assuming a level surface where there's no slope that'll make a ball travel farther in one direction than another, it won't ricochet farther away than it would have gone if you missed the flag because of basic physics. You can't get more out of a collision than you put in.

___

I personally like putting with the flag in; it saves me time (not a ton, but when I'm playing alone and trying to get done before dark, I never bother with taking out the flag, save for the rare birdie putt), and the math says I will putt better because of the help. I think this rule as stated will lead to a lot of messing around, but I wouldn't be opposed to the earlier suggestion of having the flags be fixed to the cup so they wouldn't move on their own or be player removable (I'm assuming the groundskeepers would want some locking mechanism as a way to get the stick out for maintenance and moving hole locations).

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55 minutes ago, mvmac said:

experiment with it yourself from relatively short distances. Let us know what the results were.

Good idea. I must say I'm quite awful at putting...but at least I don't shank a putt.

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An email (draft) that I plan to send to a few people at the USGA…

Quote

I hope this email finds you well. I was in your Rules Workshop in January in Parsippany, NJ.

I'll cut to the chase, as I'm not one to beat around the bush or waste anyone's time.

Though I support almost all of the proposed rules changes for 2019 in the "Modernized Rules" initiative, I must voice my strong disagreement with the rules re: leaving the flagstick in while putting from on the putting green.

This proposed rules change fails on two counts.

First, though while this change seems to have been made in the interests of picking up pace of play, I think that in practice the opposite may occur as players are more likely to take the flagstick out, put it back in, take it out, and put it back in far more often than we see players putting from 60 feet away with nobody to attend or remove the flagstick.

Secondly, and far more importantly, the USGA and R&A seem to be completely unaware of the fact that putting with the flagstick in makes it significantly EASIER to make putts, particularly those "testers" from 3-6 feet. Several studies have all proven this fact out, and should the rule be passed, I have no doubt that flagstick manufacturers will find coatings or surfaces or materials that further benefit golfers while still adhering to the Rules regarding "dampening" materials, etc.

No collision between flagstick and ball will be an elastic one, so as long as the Rules allow a flagstick to be 0.5" or thinner at the level of the green, it will be easier to putt from shorter distances with the flagstick in than out.

I believe I heard Thomas Pagel (CCed) suggest on Morning Drive a few weeks ago that "PGA Tour players have caddies, so they won't have an unattended flagstick" or something like that. PGA Tour players will *instruct* their caddies not to attend the flagstick because making putts will be easier.

Additionally, while a round hole is relatively "fair" regardless of the direction from which you're putting a flagstick that leans slightly in the hole favors even more the player putting from the opposite direction the flagstick leans, while penalizing (to the point where removal of the flagstick is advisable) the player putting at a flagstick leaning toward them. This is inequitable much more so than a round hole, and will slow the pace of play as players, again, take the flagstick out and put it back in depending on where they're putting from on the green.

Thoughts?

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As you know these people personally, they might actually read your message and react. It can't hurt.

 

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In the paragraph that mentions that this makes putting easier, maybe add that in effect it will reduce the difference of make percentage between 'properly' and 'improperly' struck putts which benefits the lower skilled putter more than a higher skilled putter. That seems to be a fundamentally unintended change.

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11 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

In the paragraph that mentions that this makes putting easier, maybe add that in effect it will reduce the difference of make percentage between 'properly' and 'improperly' struck putts which benefits the lower skilled putter more than a higher skilled putter. That seems to be a fundamentally unintended change.

I don't know about that. The higher skilled putter may be better at aiming at the flagstick and taking the break out. Try to bang it in and miss the flagstick entirely and you can be 12'+ past the hole.

On the whole, it benefits all players to have the flagstick in, even if you simply play a little less break and hit the ball with 5'-past capture speed.

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56 minutes ago, iacas said:

An email (draft) that I plan to send to a few people at the USGA…

Thoughts?

Well written.

I don't know that I necessarily agree with the "inequity" argument regarding the possibility that the flagstick may be leaning away from one line and a bit towards another.  Generally, I've always understood "equity", when used in discussing the principles, refers to treating the same situation in the same manner for all players.  I don't know that I see this as "inequitable" under that definition.  I absolutely agree with the premise that the time spent analyzing the benefit or detriment to keeping the flagstick in, and then either removing or replacing it for each stroke, could have an unintended negative impact on pace of play.

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41 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't know about that. The higher skilled putter may be better at aiming at the flagstick and taking the break out. Try to bang it in and miss the flagstick entirely and you can be 12'+ past the hole.

On the whole, it benefits all players to have the flagstick in, even if you simply play a little less break and hit the ball with 5'-past capture speed.

Understood. I had a perception that with the skill factor going down the separation value of putting seems to go down even more than it already is thus making a less skilled player benefit more.

But yeah, beyond that your write up makes apt points from my POV.

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1 hour ago, Dick Kusleika said:

You might consider citing a study or two, even if it's in a footnote.

Citing the studies would be a good plan. Corroborating your statements with the studies that back them up can only help lend credibility to your statements.

I'm curious though as to why making the game slightly easier would be such a negative? It seems to me that making the game slightly easier (with regards to those short putts) would speed up the pace of play if people are taking less putts. I do realize, however, that this would be more than offset by the constant in and out of the flagstick on the putting green. Does it have to do with comparing records set after the rules change versus before it?

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I think overall the flagstick rule will save time.  I played a 9 hole round on Saturday with a threesome and an 18 hole round on Sunday with my wife and experimented with the proposed rule.  I had many opportunities to increase our pace of play.  An example would be:  I'm on the green getting an Aimpoint read while my wife chips from off the green, she chips through the green and ends on the far side green's fringe.  As she is approaching her next shot, I take my (long) putt leaving the flagstick in.  She chips a matter of seconds after I putt.  I removed the flagstick and we finished putting out.  Playing under current rules I wouldn't have putted before her second chip as I would have slowed her down by taking the flagstick out for my putt and replacing the flagstick for her chip.

These type of situations are not outliers.  I saw it with my twosome and more so with my threesome.  With a foursome I foresee many additional opportunities to putt before everyone is on the green if I can leave the flagstick in.

I think the pace downside of pulling and replacing the flagstick will be mitigated as people learn to manage it well.  For example, I'm closest to the hole with a 2 footer.  I quickly putt out while others take their reads and I then tend the flag.  No time lost.  Or, one player tends the flag, probably the one closest to the hole, as others putt out and then takes his putt/putts.  Certainly systems to quickly manage the flagstick will evolve and spread through the golf community.

My opinion on this has changed.  I'd like to see it taken on for a probational period and then evaluate whether it helps pace of play and by how much.  If it doesn't help pace of play, since that is the objective, then get rid of it.

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1 hour ago, Dick Kusleika said:

You might consider citing a study or two, even if it's in a footnote.

I plan to simply link to a quick site I'm putting together.

1 hour ago, David in FL said:

I don't know that I necessarily agree with the "inequity" argument regarding the possibility that the flagstick may be leaning away from one line and a bit towards another.

It creates inequity across positions on the putting green, different courses with different types of flagsticks, and all sorts of other situations where the advantage offered can vary a substantial amount.

1 hour ago, David in FL said:

Generally, I've always understood "equity", when used in discussing the principles, refers to treating the same situation in the same manner for all players.

The principles aren't really at play here - a hole is a hole, and is thus about as equitable as it gets. A bunch of different flagsticks of different thicknesses, materials, and alignment in the hole are going to behave very differently.

And this isn't really a rules situation per se… I'm talking about the standard definition of equity.

27 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

Citing the studies would be a good plan. Corroborating your statements with the studies that back them up can only help lend credibility to your statements.

There aren't a ton of published studies (there's Dave Pelz's, my unpublished stuff from last fall, Mike's video, the video @david_wedzik and I will make as soon as we can, and…), but it won't take many to make the point.

27 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

I'm curious though as to why making the game slightly easier would be such a negative?

It fundamentally changes the nature of the game and de-values (lowers the separation value in) putting. We play to a hole, not a hole with a backstop/blocker/dampener in it.

27 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

It seems to me that making the game slightly easier (with regards to those short putts) would speed up the pace of play if people are taking less putts. I do realize, however, that this would be more than offset by the constant in and out of the flagstick on the putting green. Does it have to do with comparing records set after the rules change versus before it?

I don't think it will make the game faster. I think the opposite is true, particularly at courses where the flagstick isn't solidly sticking out of the middle of the hole.

It has more to do with the fundamental change to how golf is played, and how much easier it will become to make putts from inside 6', and the ripple effect of every putt outside of that range - if a 6' becomes almost a gimme, you can be even more careless about your putts from outside 10' and more.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

I think overall the flagstick rule will save time.

I don't.

The purpose, as stated by the USGA, is to allow someone who is 40' away to putt up to the hole without having to walk 40', take the flagstick out, and walk 40' back.

They've completely - it seems - failed to consider:

  • the changes to the ease of putting relatively short putts
  • the fact that golfers will now take the flagstick out, put it back in, and repeat, perhaps up to four to eight times per foursome.

Taking the flagstick out once per hole and putting it back in once per hole is as fast as it can get, except for those rare times when someone could benefit from not walking 80'.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

I played a 9 hole round on Saturday with a threesome and an 18 hole round on Sunday with my wife and experimented with the rules.  I had many opportunities to increase our pace of play.  An example would be:  I'm on the green getting an Aimpoint read while my wife chips from off the green, she chips through the far side of the green's fringe.  As she is approaching her next shot, I take my (long) putt leaving the flagstick in.  She chips a matter of seconds after I putt.  I removed the flagstick and we finished putting out. Playing under current rules I wouldn't have putted before her second chip as I would have slowed her down by taking the flagstick out for my putt and replacing the flagstick for her chip.

She could have tended the flagstick on her way past.

And what if she wanted the flagstick in because she realizes it's an advantage, but you wanted to take it out? Then you get into this song and dance of putting, then the other person putting the flagstick in, putting twice, then you taking it out so you can finish up… then putting it back in when you're done. And that's just with two people.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

These type of situations are not outliers.

Nor is what I'm suggesting.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

With a foursome I foresee many additional opportunities to putt before everyone is on the green if I can leave the flagstick in.

And exponentially more opportunities for the flagstick to go in and out of the hole.

Hell, players take the flag out when they're OFF the green now. What if your wife wanted it out to chip, but you wanted it tended while you putted so you could see the flagstick? That is slow, and I just used your own situation.

I've seen my college kids put the flagstick in to putt from the fringe (as they should) after two players removed it to hit chip shots. This rule would just extend that stupid dance onto the putting green.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

I think the pace downside of pulling and replacing the flagstick will be mitigated as people learn to manage it well. 

I don't. Slow players are slow. If they're slow removing the flagstick ONCE now, they're going to be SLOWER removing it and replacing it.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

For example, I'm closest to the hole with a 2 footer.  I quickly putt out while others take their reads and I then tend the flag.

People don't putt two-footers before they putt 10-footers because you're stepping all over the line.

9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

No time lost.

Maybe in fairy tale land. In the real world, it's going to slow down play.

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