Putting With The Flagstick In???

Bryson DeChambeau. Photo by Andrew Snook / Icon Sportswire

Have you putted with the flagstick in yet?  Under rule 13.2a(2), you may now putt on the green without having the flagstick attended or removed.  Some players on tour such as Adam Scott, are taking every putt with it in.  The mad scientist, Bryson DeChambeau, has identified a COR (coefficient of restitution), whatever that is, and declared he’ll putt with it in to take advantage of this calculation (other than in US Opens where the flagstick is made of some different material).  Others are keeping it in or having it removed to suit situations.

Anecdotally, I’ve observed that most shots that strike the pin from off the green end up closer to the hole than if the pin hadn’t been in and this is in the forefront of my mind.  I have not played in 2019 (still rehabbing elbow tendonitis) so I have plenty of time to think about how this will play out.

My initial thoughts:

  • On long putts where I’d normally have the flagstick tended, I’ll leave it in as a backstop. This is definitely beneficial if I am coming in too fast.  The one exception is if the wind is blowing and the flapping of the flag creates a distraction.  Then I’ll ask for a tend.
  • On downhill putts of any length, I’ll leave it in as a guard against too much speed.
  • On short straight putts, I’ll leave it in and use it as a small target to try and bang the ball against. This will help me get more aggressive, which I badly need to do.
  • On short to medium breaking putts where I’m trying to feel the speed, I’ll take it out unless the hole is on a severe slope and I can guard against a runaway.

I have a system I use for putts of 15 feet and longer to judge the distance.  Will this need to change?  I was also planning on getting a professional putter fitting and replacing my 1980s model Ping Answer with something customized to my game, but this may have to wait.  Changing putter and approach at the same time may not be a wise choice.

The most important aspect will be to practice all putts with real flagsticks and not just those skinny little three-foot high metal pins used on most practice greens.  A round on my 9-hole executive course will be just the ticket.

Have you putted with the flagstick in yet?  Please share any thoughts or strategies you have.

Play well!

4 thoughts on “Putting With The Flagstick In???”

  1. Hey Brian,

    Haven’t had a chance to play under the new rules yet (damn you Canadian winter), but I’ll be in Palm Springs at the end of the month and am curious to test it out, mostly from a psychological standpoint. For long putts I’d probably leave it in for convenience of not needing someone to tend it, but I’m still unsure about short to medium putts.

    I think there’s a chance that putting with the pin in could encourage people to make slightly more assertive strokes around the cup, with that sensation of a ‘backstop’. Not sure if I’ll feel that way or if it’ll feel too weird. Time will tell. Interested to hear how it turns out for you.


    1. Josh, I’ve got 67 degrees coming my way on Thursday. May have to head out to the course and test these theories out! Will let you know if I do. Have fun at Palm Springs!



  2. Brian,

    The weather here in Canada is brutal…only a few more months. I’m looking forward to trying this out, my initial plan is to leave it in for longer putts, and to take it out for short ones.

    Even when I watched golf on TV last week it was weird to see, will definitely take some time to adjust.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Sebastien, it was definitely weird watching these guys putt with the flag in. Will take some time to adjust to watching, then we’ll focus on trying it for ourselves. I can’t wait to see if I can leverage some improvement on the greens.



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