Tending the Flagstick

Rule 17 in the Rules of Golf is devoted to the flagstick.  It’s essential reading. Remember:  no ball that begins on the green may touch the flag stick, whether it’s in the hole, lying on the green, or being held by another player.

Sometimes it’s difficult for a player to see the hole on a green. A player may ask another – often the person whose ball is closest to the cup – to attend the flag stick while she’s putting.

Knowing the rules, possible penalties and basic etiquette is important. Here’s how to attend a flagstick.

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  • Lift flagstick from the hole to be sure it isn’t jammed and then return it.
  • Stand at a distance so your arm is outstretched and grasp the stick firmly.

  • Pay attention to where you’re standing. Avoid casting a shadow and also be aware of the putting lines of other players.
  • Once the ball is in motion, remove the flagstick straight up (that’s delicate territory around the cup) and walk away.
  • Lay the flagstick on the green out of the line of all players.

A few last notes of niceness:

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  • Closest to the flagstick
    Did your shot land closest to the pin? Head over to it and be ready to tend it if asked.  You may ask the putter if she would like you to tend the flag. If she declines, take it out and lay it out of play.
  • First to putt out
    If you are first to putt out, mosey over to where the flagstick is lying and be ready to pick it up and put it back in the hole. Efficiency in all things.
  • Did you leave your wedge back at the last hole?
    The smart golfer places extra clubs she’s brought to the green next to where the flagstick is lying. Hard to forget them there.