Leaving The Flagstick In The Hole

You’ve probably heard that in 2019 you may leave the flagstick in the hole while you’re putting. However, did you know that you could incur a penalty in a couple of scenarios?


Rule 13 The Flagstick Be Decisive About the Flagstick Position

Since leaving the flagstick in is all new to us in 2019, it’s important to be decisive about the flagstick position. Be sure to communicate your preference clearly because after you have made a stroke with the flag left in the hole, you cannot ask someone to deliberately move it so that you’ll avoid it. 

In other words, you cannot change your mind after you’ve made the stroke.  If you do, you will incur the general penalty.


“The player must not try to gain an advantage by deliberately moving the flagstick to a position other than centered in the hole.

If the player does so and the ball in motion hits the flagstick, he or she gets the general penalty.”


“When the player has left the flagstick in the hole and has not authorized anyone to attend the flagstick another player must not deliberately move or remove the flagstick to affect where the player’s ball in motion might come to rest.

If another player or his or her caddie does so before or during the stroke and the player makes the stroke without being aware of this, or does so while the player’s ball is in motion after the stroke, that other player gets the General Penalty.”

The General Penalty is two strokes in Stroke Play and loss of hole in Match Play.

You must decide this before making the stroke by either having the flagstick removed from the hole before playing your ball, or authorizing someone to attend the flagstick.

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Marcela launched Girlfriends Guide To Golf and her On-Course Rules Experiences to grow the game, help women learn the rules of golf, and feel more confident out on the course.

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