Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ask Linda #1025-Hold flagstick while putting

Hi Linda,
I recently played in a Stableford competition and we had a rulings debate, which I hope you could help me with. I was in the rough by the edge of the green whilst all my playing partners were on the green with their balls marked. I chipped to within a cm of the hole and waited for the ball to drop. It didn't, so I proceeded to get my putter out and walk to tap in my ball. All my playing partners were at the other end of the green so I pulled the flag from the cup and held it in my left hand whilst I tapped my putt in using my right hand. I was then told by my playing partner that I would have no return on that hole as I was using the flagstick to aid my stroke. Can you tell me if this was the correct ruling or not, as I have never heard this before but didn't count the hole anyway just in case he was correct?

Lou from Nottinghamshire, UK

Dear Lou,

The ruling was incorrect, Lou. A player is permitted to hold the flagstick in one hand while putting with the other hand, provided the flagstick is completely out of the hole and the ball does not hit the flagstick [Decision 17-1/5].

However, if you rested the flagstick on the green and used it to steady yourself, you would be disqualified under Rule 14-3 for using the flagstick in an unusual manner to assist you in making your stroke.

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