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Challenge - Flagstick Out/In Putting

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1 hour ago, gmohr said:

So not sure how this plays out with others but I made 24 of 36 with the flag stick in and 25 of 36 with the flag stick out.  I actually found it more difficult with the stick in as it had a tendency to mess up my alignment.

Right, this is where the human element here is going to wreak havoc with the results. One way (flagstick out) is how everyone's putted forever. The other way… they're trying to change their entire mindset in a matter of seconds or minutes.

1 hour ago, tigerrag said:

I think you will see more putts made due to the flagstick being in from longer distances rather than from shorter ones.  You see more putts from distance that hop over the hole due to speed than you do short putts.

Putts from that far out rarely hit the hole enough to count. The sample size on putts that hit the flagstick from 10+ feet will be very, very small. The average 90s shooter only makes 1 out of 5 as it is and that's from just 10'.

1 hour ago, gmohr said:

I think tigerrag is right.  Tomorrow morning I will go and hit another 72 putts from 10 feet which I normally hit firm and when I miss go 3' - 6' past the hole.  This may be a better test.

Please don't. That's not the purpose of this topic.


Again, let's please keep this topic mostly about people posting the results of the challenge issued.

P.S. I added the advice to putt with 4' past speed only when the flagstick is in. Not 10' past speed or other crazy fast putts.

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15 hours ago, Pretzel said:

I went out a second time as I locked up the pro shop this evening. The results were 8/12 for no flagstick and 9/12 for a flagstick. My totals are below:

Flagstick OUT: 17/24

Flagstick IN: 18/24

I think it would be more informative to also record how far the misses are ending up from the hole.  I can't tell from what I've read here so far if the putts hit with the flagstick in the hole are actually being hit that much harder, enough to be a significant statistic.  Part of the theory is that those which hit the stick and don't drop will leave a shorter second putt, but if they miss the stick, the comebacker would be a fair amount longer.  

My question is, are the return putts more difficult and longer because the player is missing the flagstick altogether?  Does that mean that the theory fails for the average amateur because he isn't able to stroke that return putt with enough accuracy to be able to risk trying to use the pin for assistance?  

In essence, banging a 5 footer straight at the flagstick with pace is a losing proposition if you can't hit what you are aiming at.

Edited by Fourputt

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18 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

I think it would be more informative to also record how far the misses are ending up from the hole.  I can't tell from what I've read here so far if the putts hit with the flagstick in the hole are actually being hit that much harder, enough to be a significant statistic.  Part of the theory is that those which hit the stick and don't drop will leave a shorter second putt, but if they miss the stick, the comebacker would be a fair amount longer.  

I don't care about that data right now. It's too multi-variate, and I asked in the first post that people not hit the ball harder than about 4' past speed. That speed is enough to keep the capture width of the hole at about the same width as about 1' past speed while offering up a few benefits.

19 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

In essence, banging a 5 footer straight at the flagstick with pace is a losing proposition if you can't hit what you are aiming at.

I still think it's going to be a benefit, particularly once players learn how to use the flagstick to their advantage… and even if for crappy putters they only hit putts at 2.5' capture speed instead of 1' capture speed or something… but yeah, that's what I addressed above: that this may actually increase the gap between good and bad putters. Good putters may benefit a good bit more than bad putters.

Now again, please, let's keep this topic primarily to the posting of results of the challenge.

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I did this today with two guys I teach and play golf with.-Lesson canceled last minute so we had an hour to fart around with it.

Putted from five feet and we used a flagstick from the shed same as on course.-Greens are like a 10 right now rolling good.

Me: Out - 27/36 In - 31/36 75% 86%

Fred: Out - 26/36 In - 27/36 72% 75%

Gene: Out - 24/36 In- 29/36 67% 81%

Fred kept missing high on his Flagstick In putts and Gene putts too hard normally so he said he did not have to adjust much. Probably true two of Gene Out putts hit the back of the cup and popped up and out.

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Thanks.

BTW I'm just going to do a random number generator for the post counts, and if that post has results, that person will "win" the small prize.

That way I don't have to assign numbers to everyone when they make a results post.

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Everyone seems to be testing for holing mid/short putts.

I reckon the bigger advantage for all grades of player will be gained from the stick just stopping/slowing the ball from longer putts. 

I haven't presently got the facilities but would be interested in seeing such test results.

 

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15 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

I reckon the bigger advantage for all grades of player will be gained from the stick just stopping/slowing the ball from longer putts. 

 

I think the odds of hitting the hole on long putts are so low that this becomes a non-issue. For example, on a straight 30' putt you have to have the face angle be within .33 degrees of square for the center of the ball to even do so much as touch the edge of the hole. On breaking putts you then have to factor in speed as well as the break, making it a more difficult proposition to hit the hole. 

On short putts, people hitting the ball softly can have a harder time controlling the path of the ball as it rolls. Since it will be going much slower, it will be far more affected by irregularities in the green's surface as well as the break, amplifying the difficulty of the putt relative to if you hit it harder. If you hit it harder, however, you usually will decrease the capture width of the hole. By leaving the flagstick in the hole, you can keep a larger capture width while removing the difficulty and inconsistency that comes with hitting a putt slower.

Reflecting back on my putts from yesterday evening, I doubt that I was hitting the ball much harder at all when compared to my regular putts. I think that next time I am on the course (I'll be there Wednesday for sure, and maybe this afternoon) I will make sure to hit putts more firmly with the flag in to try and gather better data. 

I'd be interested in doing this with a stimp-meter like device. Even a piece of hot wheels track would provide a more consistent method of launching golf balls than most golfers, and could provide cleaner data.

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57 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

Everyone seems to be testing for holing mid/short putts.

Because that's what I asked people to do in this challenge.

57 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

I reckon the bigger advantage for all grades of player will be gained from the stick just stopping/slowing the ball from longer putts. 

I reckon players will not hit the hole all that often, let alone the middle 2.4" or so of the hole, to derive much benefit.

57 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

I haven't presently got the facilities but would be interested in seeing such test results.

I'm not. The primary advantage from 30'+ is that the second putt is going to be easier with the flagstick in.

And again, I'll request for the umpteenth time that this thread be primarily used for the results of this challenge.

34 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

On short putts, people hitting the ball softly can have a harder time controlling the path of the ball as it rolls. Since it will be going much slower, it will be far more affected by irregularities in the green's surface as well as the break, amplifying the difficulty of the putt relative to if you hit it harder. If you hit it harder, however, you usually will decrease the capture width of the hole. By leaving the flagstick in the hole, you can keep a larger capture width while removing the difficulty and inconsistency that comes with hitting a putt slower.

That's it in a nutshell. Pretty much what I typed up in a draft last night, too.

At 1' past speed the capture size of the hole is 2.6" or so. With the flagstick in, the capture width of the hole at 4' past speed is about… 2.6". And yet the latter gives you more margin for error on both your read and the speed you deliver.

30 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

Reflecting back on my putts from yesterday evening, I doubt that I was hitting the ball much harder at all when compared to my regular putts. I think that next time I am on the course (I'll be there Wednesday for sure, and maybe this afternoon) I will make sure to hit putts more firmly with the flag in to try and gather better data. 

Just 4' past capture speed. Though if you're a good player, sometimes playing even less break and REALLY banging it (6-7' past capture speed?) works, too. Depends on how you feel as a player.

30 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

I'd be interested in doing this with a stimp-meter like device. Even a piece of hot wheels track would provide a more consistent method of launching golf balls than most golfers, and could provide cleaner data.

Ultimately, again, golfers will have to hit the putts. So the psychology still comes into play.

Good players, for a long time, have typically played a lower line with a little more speed once they got inside a certain range. That's why Phil sometimes three-putts from four feet. ;-)

Dave Pelz did the study. Throw away the 9' past capture speed data - I'd be curious to see the specifics of his 3' past (not bad capture speed, really), and the way the 6' past data was trending.

Anyway, again, please… let's stick to posting mostly results here. I'll have yet another topic later (half written right now) that will let us talk all about theory and hypotheses and tests and stuff.

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9 hours ago, iacas said:

Please don't. That's not the purpose of this topic.


P.S. I added the advice to putt with 4' past speed only when the flagstick is in. Not 10' past speed or other crazy fast putts.

Okay, I won't hit them from 10'.  But will try to hit them firmly enough that they would go the 4' asked. 

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Made time for 3 rounds of this today. Ummm, I'm a terrible putter. My disclaimer is that I've never really done deliberate practice, and I only recently began to analyze how well I read putts with a level. But really practice 3-15ft putts? Measure them? Nope. And it shows. 

Flagstick out. 17 of 36 made (5, 6, then 6).

Flagstick in. 20 of 36 made (5, 7, then 8).

I used 5ft for every putt, using my putter markings to be consistent. The flagsticks were the small variety that allow you to pick up the ball, and the holes were shallow (if that matters significantly). They seemed to have more "give" in them than a normal flagstick on the course. I also used the guidance in the OP to mix up the order, and I was earnestly trying to make every one (with the different speeds). In general, my misses were going the correct distances past the hole, with the exception of a random few that were downhill that rolled out further than I intended.  I also got a bit better as I went along.

I also spent about 15 minutes to start mapping out which holes on the green to use, which directions to come at them so that the putts needed to be aimed just outside the hole, and getting a feel for how hard to hit each putt based on if the flagstick was in or out.

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1 hour ago, RandallT said:

Flagstick in. 20 of 36 made (5, 7, then 8).

I also got a bit better as I went along.

I expect putters will get better at using the flagstick to their advantage as time goes on. It's tough to make yourself do it right away with just 12 (or 24) putts… but give golfers some time to adjust and they probably will.

Golfers who already hit putts a bit firmer don't suffer from this adjustment as much. They're not adjusting their reads as much.

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Flagstick Out: 8/12 (66%), 9/12 (75%), Total 17/12 (71%)

Flagstick In: 5/12 (42%), 7/12 (58%), Total 12/24 (50%)

I'm vacationing in Palm Springs. This was on the Cimarron Putting green which was putting really true.  Not sure what the grass is but it isn't the Poa Annua that I'm use to in San Diego, definitely less imperfections than Poa Annua.  It was gusty, winds at maybe 5 mph to gust of 20 mph, enough to make the ball oscillate at times.  This made the conditions a bit uneven depending on the timing of the gusts, the Flag In part got the worst of it.  I was using the practice green flagsticks that are narrower than the course flagsticks.

Flagstick in and putting with a speed of going 4' thru was difficult for me as I had maybe 5 or 6 violent lip outs that probably would have dropped at my normal putting speed.  Because of this, given these test parameters, it is harder for me to make a putt with the flagstick in and attacking the hole.

 

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Last night I was 7/12 out and only 5/12 in but the sand gnats we're horrible and I'm also the worst putter in the world.

Tonight 10/12 out and 10/12 in.  Left to right breaks are easier for me with the flag in and harder with it out.  The misses with the stick out were just bad putts that I hit quicker and not longer to get the added pace.

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2 hours ago, No Mulligans said:

I was using the practice green flagsticks that are narrower than the course flagsticks.

I'm throwing out those results.

C'mon. That's not a fair trial.

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30 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm throwing out those results.

C'mon. That's not a fair trial.

I thought all I'd lose for that was the bonus points (from your OP). I did follow your instructions to a tee (no pun intended). Cherry picking the results will make any conclusions suspect.  Would you have accepted my results if they had been different and met your hypothesis?

You should probably throw out all results that used putting green flagsticks.

I couldn't locate anyone that could lend me a flagstick.  I'll try again later this week (rain forecasted for tomorrow here on my vacation in Palm Springs).

I'm not sure how much the width difference in this courses practice to course flagsticks would matter.  Even with the course flagsticks there is a still room to lip out without hitting the flagstick. 

Edited by No Mulligans

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FYIW, my impression from this test and the results so far is this proposed flagstick rule is more advantageous for the more accurate putters and will create more separation between the good golfers and the not so good golfers.  I'm definitely not in favor of that.  My position has changed from why not give it a test try for a period of time to I'm opposed to the change of the rule.

Edited by No Mulligans

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18 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

You should probably throw out all results that used putting green flagsticks.

I imagine he fully intends to. He specified in the OP that he wanted people to not use putting green flagsticks.

On 3/19/2017 at 5:33 PM, iacas said:

(Make sure the flagstick is pretty straight up and down, and ideally, it's somewhat like those available on the course. Bonus points if you can borrow a flagstick like those used on the course for your tests. Ask the head pro or superintendent.)

Technically he said ideally, but some practice green flagsticks can be pretty close to the on course ones. Others, of the super narrow variety like you described, are not.

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