Rules of Golf – Attending the Flagstick


Question 1: A players’ ball lies off the putting green. a) Is he permitted to have the flagstick attended? b) What is the penalty in stroke play for a ball striking an attended flagstick? c) If a ball hits the flagstick, while the person attending it is looking in another direction, who is penalised?

Answer 1: a) Yes (see below). b) Two strokes. c) The person who played the ball is penalised.  Part of Rule 17-1 states; Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole. Note: With regard to c) above, if the person attending the flagstick failed to remove it for the purpose of causing the player to incur a penalty, they are disqualified in both match play and stroke play for a serious breach of Rule 1-2. In stroke play, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player must replay the stroke without penalty.

Question 2: In the photo above a person is standing close to the flagstick but not touching it. Is there a penalty if the ball is played from off the putting green and it hits the flagstick?

Answer 2: Yes.Note 1 to Rule 17-1 states; If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick. Note: This is a Rule many golfers would not be aware of. Before playing to the hole the player should ensure that, if they want the flagstick attended, the person attending it is paying attention, and if not, that there is no-one standing close to it.