Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ask Linda #1650-Extract ball without removing flagstick

Dear Linda,
I have noticed  that when the pros get a hole-in-one or hole out from off the green they always take their ball out of the hole without removing the flagstick. Is there a reason for this, as they are far more likely to damage the hole this way. When I have done it by taking the flag first and then the ball, I have been threatened with penalties by those who watch golf on TV.

With thanks for your continued help.
Lou from the South of France

Dear Lou,

There is no Rule that governs how to remove the ball from the hole. The Rules assume the golfer has enough sense to figure out how to do that without instructions. There is no reason why a careful golfer can’t remove a ball without damaging the hole, regardless of the presence of the flagstick.

The next time you are threatened with a penalty, hand your rulebook to the misinformed golfer and tell him you will gladly accept a penalty if he can show you what Rule you violated.

I am inclined to recommend that when you hole a ball from off the green you remove the ball before you take out the flagstick, just as you see the pros do on television. If you pull out the flagstick and the ball at the same time, the pressure of the stick against the ball may damage the hole. You are much less likely to cause any damage if you reach in and carefully pull out the ball first.

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