You decided to have the flagstick removed and then your putt struck it. Is it penalty time? Our expert delves once again into the Rules of Golf
We all know you can putt with the golf flagstick left in. But what if you’d decided to have it attended and removed from the hole? What if your putt hits the flagstick?
Is it a penalty? Let’s get stuck in.
Rules of Golf explained: Ball hits golf flagstick or person attending flagstick
This is all covered in Rule 13.2b and it’s a question of intent. If a ball in motion hits a flagstick that you’d decided to have removed, or the person who is attending that flagstick, it all comes down to whether it was accidental or deliberate.
If it’s the former, there is not a penalty and you simply play the ball as it lies. Yes, that means if it’s found the bottom of the cup then the ball is holed.
But if the ball is deliberately deflected or stopped by whoever is attending the flagstick, then Rule 11.2c(2) says you’ve got to replay the stroke.
If the person who “deliberately deflected or stopped the ball was a player or their caddie”, they get the general penalty. That’s two-strokes or loss of hole in match play.
I’ve used the terms deliberately deflected or stopped because that then begs the question: What counts as such? There are three examples in the rule to guide you.
The first is a removed flagstick that’s positioned or left in a place so it might deflect or stop the ball. Like sticking it on a slope behind the hole if you’re worried about going past.
The second is an attended flagstick that the person “deliberately failed to remove form the hole or to move out of the way of the ball”.
The final one is if the person attending or removing the flagstick deliberately failed to get out of the way of the ball.
What do you make of these golf flagstick rules? Let me know with a tweet.
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