It’s surprising that the new golf rule allowing players to leave the flag-stick in or out, is causing some soul searching for all golfers. Ultimately the decision is a preference for each golfer but you may want to consider the scientific facts to improve your score. On the other hand putting is a game of feel for the break. That flag stick in the hole may distort your mental feel for putting firmly to minimize break. Leaving it in or taking it out is a serious decision for every golfer.
A recent “Morning Read” blog by By Mike Purkey provided these comments:
1/ “Bryson DeChambeau raised eyebrows when he said that he would leave the flagstick in the hole almost always. He said it is an advantage. While he didn’t use the flagstick all the time at Kapalua, Sentry Tournament of Champions,.he still led the field in strokes gained putting that week.” [Of course his semi-anchored putter up his leading arm is helping too.]
2/ “Recently, European Tour player Edoardo Molinari did some research with three pros from his golf academy in Italy. They used a Perfect Putter training device and rolled putts with three different speeds and three different entry points into the cup, with the flagstick in and out, 100 putts with each combination. Their conclusion was that with slow speeds, there was no difference; medium speed was better with the flagstick out and; and with fast speeds, it was better with the flagstick in.”
Putting is Personal
Brandt Snedeker likes to use his caddie to hold the flag-stick in the hole for most putts as it gives him the feeling for distance and a stopping point.
Jack Nicklaus always tried to “die the ball into the hole” on lag putts. [Unfortunately 100% of his putts that were short, never sank.] On the other hand his short putt strategy was to putt through the hole to give every putt a chance to go in.
You really need to give every putt a chance to sink in order to lower your scores. Putts that are dead on line and stop short of the hole are very frustrating.
Any putt on a slope will break more as it slows down and the slower the putt the more the flaws and minor indentations near the hole will deflect your putt. A high percentage of golfers use their putters for balance as they bend to remove their ball from the hole and that unseen flaw remains near the hole all day long. Some ball speed at the hole gives you the best opportunity to keep your ball rolling with speed over a depression and into the hole.
I subconsciously putt to stop at the flag-stick when I leave the stick in the hole. I know that my short putts are missing because I hit for the flag-stick and not for the break. I need to putt with enough speed to past the hole by 10- 15 inches and plan for a less break at the hole.
In general you can benefit by keeping the flag-stick in for long putts and taking it out for the short ones. Downhill putts can really benefit with the stick in. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to lock your wrists during your putting stroke to hit more consistent straight putts. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com