The New Rule: According to the USGA, under Rule 13.2a(2), “There will no longer be a penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits a flagstick left in the hole.” Players will still have the option to remove the flagstick or to have someone tend the pin and remove it after the ball is struck.
Can the flag stay in when putting?
2019 rules changes: No penalty for putting with the flag in
Under the 2019 rules, you will be allowed to keep the flagstick in the hole while putting on the green.
Should you putt with the flag in?
As of the start of the 2019 calendar year, golfers of all levels can now putt with the flagstick left in the hole. Caddies can also take the flag out or have it attended – previously the only two options.
Why are players putting with the flag in?
Reasons for Change:
Allowing a player to putt with the flagstick in the hole without fear of penalty should generally help speed up play.
Does leaving the flagstick in help?
Because there is still room for the ball to drop between the flagstick and the edge of a hole—and because standard, fiberglass flagsticks have some give to them—Pelz said the stick can function like a backboard in basketball. “When the ball hits the flagstick, it absorbs quite a bit of energy from the ball,” Pelz said.