In or Out? The New Flagstick Dilemma for Putting in Golf

Fans of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour have witnessed a strange sight since 2019: golfers putting with the flagstick (AKA pin) in the hole. Before 2019, players were assessed a one-shot penalty if a ball putted on the green came into contact with a flagstick. To simplify and speed up play, the governing bodies for the rules of golf—the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A—changed the rule regarding ball contact (Rule 13.2a). The USGA stated that “it is expected that there is no advantage in being able to putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole.”

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