Monday, March 16, 2015

Ask Linda #1018-Flagstick gets stuck

Hi Linda,

Playing recently my partner attended the flag as I putted. Sadly it got stuck in the hole and try as he might to wrestle it out it remained stuck. My ball hit the flag as it went in.

It seems unfair to apply a penalty in the circumstances. What do the rules say?

Lou from West Wickham, England 

Dear Lou,

The Rules assess a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play) to the player who hits the ball if it strikes the flagstick when it is attended [Rule 17-3a].

Knowing that, the player who is putting should make sure the player who is attending the flagstick attempts to remove it before he putts. The first attempt to remove the flagstick should always occur prior to the putt. My recommendation would be to take it out of the hole as soon as the request has been made to attend, and rest the bottom of the flagstick at the bottom of the cup but outside the hole.

This penalty is easy to avoid if both players pay attention to their responsibilities. It is not an unfair penalty, as it is only through carelessness that it occurs.

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