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Thread: Flagstick - Science says you should pull it 99.9% of the time.

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    Flagstick - Science says you should pull it 99.9% of the time.

    Interesting article explaining why leaving the flagstick in will result in more putts missed. The science in this article makes sense to me and I’m glad someone took the time and effort to use the scientific method to measure this.

    A quote from the summary section:

    “Leaving the flagstick in may have some benefits but from a physics standpoint, there is zero evidence to suggest that the flagstick helps in any but the rarest of situations. What the flagstick may do is occasionally reduce the length of a second putt and therefore possibly help reduce three-putts. Of course, it also will clearly and substantially reduce the number of one-putts. It’s also clear from our research that the fiberglass type of flagstick is the least detrimental (but still nowhere near as good as taking the flagstick out).”

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    Quote Originally Posted by tahoebum View Post
    Interesting article explaining why leaving the flagstick in will result in more putts missed. The science in this article makes sense to me and Iím glad someone took the time and effort to use the scientific method to measure this.

    A quote from the summary section:

    ďLeaving the flagstick in may have some benefits but from a physics standpoint, there is zero evidence to suggest that the flagstick helps in any but the rarest of situations. What the flagstick may do is occasionally reduce the length of a second putt and therefore possibly help reduce three-putts. Of course, it also will clearly and substantially reduce the number of one-putts. Itís also clear from our research that the fiberglass type of flagstick is the least detrimental (but still nowhere near as good as taking the flagstick out).Ē

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    You need to send this to Bryson D! lol

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    Unless I missed it, the study didn't take into account breaking or up/downhill putts. It so didn't take into account putts that grab a varying amount of cup, possible lip out situations etc.

    The situation where it hurts you make sense, situations where it makes glancing hard impact. Definitely something to take into account. But it doesn't seem complete yet.
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    All these studies are cracking me up.

    Never thought a flagstick would lead to so much debate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jman View Post
    All these studies are cracking me up.

    Never thought a flagstick would lead to so much debate.
    Me either, itís such a topic these days. Every round at my club, someone will bring it up. I can tell you that leaving it in doesnít speed some people up. Slow is slow no matter what you do



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    This should say "one scientific experiment says you should pull it 99.9% of the time". There have been others that have had different results under slightly different conditions. But that's the nature of experimentation.

    The one interesting thing they did not is 3 putt avoidance with the flagstick in - if the ball hits the flag, it's likely to stay (reasonably) close to the hole, and a good deal closer than it would have otherwise. To say there are a lot of moving pieces/conditions to measure here is an understatement.

    Me, I keep it in most of the time when coming in with a long putt, take it out when I'm close if I think it's going to cause problems. Anecdotally, I haven't had a putt bounce off the stick yet that didn't go in, but I tend to be a dead weight putter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wake View Post
    Unless I missed it, the study didn't take into account breaking or up/downhill putts. It so didn't take into account putts that grab a varying amount of cup, possible lip out situations etc.

    The situation where it hurts you make sense, situations where it makes glancing hard impact. Definitely something to take into account. But it doesn't seem complete yet.
    It did take into account putts that didn’t hit the center of the hole, which is about 72% of all putts. Putts that would close enough to the edge of the cup to lip out would not be hitting the pin at all until they were below the surface of the green. I don’t think from a physics standpoint that it matters much if it’s a breaking putt as the ball is rolling end over end and not spinning into the hole.

    They definitely proved that for the flagstick to help you would have to hit center cup(only happens 27.6% of the time for a PGA Tour quality putter) and also have to have the ball traveling fast enough to finish 9+ feet past the hole which happens only 1.27% of the time. Us amateurs don’t putt as well so that 27.6% would be even lower. I personally don’t hit many putts past the hole more than 9 feet and if I do I’m putting from beyond 40 feet and certainly not likely to be anywhere near center cup or hitting the hole at all.

    I thought it was interesting that with a putt hit at a speed that would finish 2.5 feet pass the hole 100% of the putts went in wether the flagstick was in or not. But when hitting a putt at a speed that would have it finish 4.5’ past the hole, leaving the flagstick in cut your chances of making the putt in half! Double the chance of making on those 72% of putts that hit the hole and don’t hit center cup is a big deal to me. I certainly hit a lot of putts like that, maybe one or two per round. If it’s once per round that means leaving the flagstick in on all putts would raise my index .5 strokes.

    Before reading this I was planning on leaving the flag in on longer putts(unless someone has already pulled it) and having it pulled when I get inside of about 15 feet as I find the shadow and the flag moving visually distracting especially short putts. Now I will likely always have it pulled when I’m inside of 30 feet unless I’m playing alone.
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    I like it in on long putts...out on short. Its a mess on the greens...some want it in, some out, How about if the ball is ejected by the big fat pin no one pulled for you...count it as a holed putt! FWIW leave it in for the first putts, then out for 2nd putts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahoebum View Post
    I donít think from a physics standpoint that it matters much if itís a breaking putt as the ball is rolling end over end and not spinning into the hole. They definitely proved that for the flagstick to help you would have to hit center cup(only happens 27.6% of the time for a PGA Tour quality putter) and also have to have the ball traveling fast enough to finish 9+ feet past the hole which happens only 1.27% of the time. Us amateurs donít putt as well so that 27.6% would be even lower. I personally donít hit many putts past the hole more than 9 feet and if I do Iím putting from beyond 40 feet and certainly not likely to be anywhere near center cup or hitting the hole at all.

    I thought it was interesting that with a putt hit at a speed that would finish 2.5 feet pass the hole 100% of the putts went in wether the flagstick was in or not. But when hitting a putt at a speed that would have it finish 4.5í past the hole, leaving the flagstick in cut your chances of making the putt in half! Double the chance of making on those 72% of putts that donít hit center cup is a big deal to me. I certainly hit a lot of putts like that, maybe one or two per round. For me that means leaving the flagstick in on all putts would likely raise my index .5 strokes or more.

    Before reading this I was planning on leaving the flag in on longer putts(unless someone has already pulled it) and having it pulled when I get inside of about 15 feet as I find the shadow and the flag moving visually distracting especially short putts. Now I will likely always have it pulled when Iím inside of 30 feet unless Iím playing alone.
    I think it does matter very much, if the cup is on a grade it's also going to matter which side of the flag you hit. I also think not addressing how much you miss the center by leaves alot of potential results out. It doesn't even address uphill vs downhill putts, which we know makes a difference.

    I do think this study has some validity, it just isn't nearly as far reaching as it claims.
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    The easiest way to measure this is not some scientist rolling balls at a stick. It's by measuring putting statistics on tour over time. The PGA Tour will know by the end of this season.

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    The Bryson logic still cracks me up. "If I smash it into the pin dead center from three feet away, there's no WAY it would go in without the pin" lmao

    Team flag pull 100% within 30-35 feet. Love the debate, love the science behind some of it.
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    I'm good either way. I have had a couple hit the pin and go off but stayed with in two feet. For those instances they where just to fast of putts. I don't think it speeds play at all but that is another discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadan View Post
    The Bryson logic still cracks me up. "If I smash it into the pin dead center from three feet away, there's no WAY it would go in without the pin" lmao

    Team flag pull 100% within 30-35 feet. Love the debate, love the science behind some of it.
    Letís you be aggressive on short putts, which is a big deal for a lot of golfers. Has been huge for my HS girls from that range.
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