Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ask Linda #707-Putt hits attended flagstick

Hi Linda,

Last Tuesday I was putting on the green and asked my fellow competitor to attend the flag.  She did, but neglected to remove it as my ball approached.  My ball hit the flagstick and bounced away.  I was told by the golf pro that no penalty was incurred. Was this ruling correct?

Lulu from New Jersey

Dear Lulu,

The golf pro’s ruling was incorrect, Lulu.

A player’s ball must not hit the flagstick when it is attended. The penalty for hitting an attended flagstick is two strokes [Rule 17-3a]. This penalty is assessed to the player, not to the person attending the flagstick.

As I have mentioned in the past, attending a flagstick is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. The attendee must take care not to cast her shadow over the hole, and should remove the flagstick as soon as the player putts her ball. She should step away from the hole in a direction that will allow the player to view the path of her ball should it roll past the hole.

If the person you ask to attend the flagstick is a novice, be sure to explain her responsibilities before you putt. She will not be happy if she inadvertently causes you to incur a two-stroke penalty, and you will not be happy to receive it.

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