Thursday, December 24, 2015
Ask Linda #1216a-Flagstick confusion
I received a surprising number of e-mails from readers who were startled by the information in Ask Linda #1216-Player removes and replaces attended flagstick.
Apparently, there is a great deal of confusion regarding the flagstick. I will attempt to clear that up for you right now. All of the information below may be found in Rule 17, with the exception of the last bullet – don’t skip it.
• The player may have the flagstick attended, removed, or held up at any time, regardless of where his ball lies. However, once the flagstick is attended, removed, or held up, the player will incur a penalty if his ball strikes the flagstick or the person attending the flagstick (loss of hole in match play, two strokes in stroke play), even if the ball was hit from off the green.
• If someone is standing near the flagstick, he is deemed to be attending it.
• If the player knows the flagstick is being attended, removed, or held up, and he does not object, he is deemed to have authorized it and will consequently incur a penalty if his ball contacts the flagstick.
• If someone attends, removes, or holds up the flagstick without the player’s knowledge or authority, and his action might influence the movement of the ball, the attender incurs the penalty, not the player. Note that there is no penalty to anyone if the ball travels on a path that goes nowhere near the flagstick. So if three balls are on the green, and the fourth player chips a ball that has no chance of hitting the flagstick, there is no reason why one player cannot remove the flagstick in preparation for putting while that fourth ball is still in motion.
• If the flagstick is unattended, there is no penalty if your ball hit from off the green strikes the flagstick. There is a loss-of-hole/two-stroke penalty if your ball hit from on the green strikes an attended or unattended flagstick.
• The following very important piece of information can be found in Rule 24-1b, last paragraph:
If the flagstick is attended, removed, or held up, and the player’s ball is about to hit it, there is no penalty to anyone if any player considerately moves the flagstick out of the path of the ball. This includes a flagstick that has been removed and set aside on the ground.
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