Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 541 - Wed. January 23rd, 2019
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Study Results: Flagstick In or Out?
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Batavia Country Club
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Tom's Featured Tip: Study Results: Flagstick In or Out?

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I'm still getting email asking if you really should leave the flagstick in when putting, since it's now allowed under the rules of golf.

My own position on this has been pretty clear: LEAVE IT IN. I base my opinion on Dave Pelz's recommendations, which are always well tested before they are made, as well as my own experience with some less rigorous testing.

Recently I came across another study on the subject, and one of the points they made was in comparison to a basketball player utilizing the backboard for his shots.

A study of over 1,000,000 simulated basketball shots done by engineers at North Carolina State University showed basketball players shot 20% better by using the backboard.

As golfers, we are looking for every legitimate advantage we can get to shooting lower scores. Thanks to USGA rule change 13.2a(2) leaving the flagstick (backboard?) in while you putt is now permitted.

So naturally the next question is should you leave it in?


Even the tour pro's are split on the topic. Bryson Dechambeau says he will be leaving the pin in whenever he can. Justin Thomas said, "I cant really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in".

Who is right?

Is it possible that by leaving the flag in it will help all golfers make more putts and even improve their misses?

An interesting study was done by GolfSpy on the subject and here's what they came up with.


The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the resulting effect that exists when a golfer leaves the flag in vs. flag out during a round of golf. This was done to ultimately determine the make vs. miss percentage and the resulting distance of putts that missed.

The research showed that
  • SPEED - no matter the distance of the putt or whether it is downhill, sidehill, uphill or flat - it is the speed at which the ball arrives at the hole which affects the result.

  • COR - the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick (stiffness of the flag) can impact the results. The stiffer the flag, the less energy it absorbs from the ball, the more rebound effect.
There are two flagstick types that make up the majority golfers will encounter at their local golf course:
  1. One is less rigid and absorbs more energy from the ball on contact. This type of flag imparts the least rebound effect.

  2. The other is more rigid and absorbs less energy from the ball on contact. This type of flag imparts the most rebound effect.
  1. The two most common type of flagsticks.
  2. Identically rolled putts with the pin in and pin out.
  3. Center strikes and off-center strikes on the flagstick.
  4. Testing with the flag leaning forward and back.
  5. To guarantee the most reliable results, they used a putting machine called the Perfect Putter.
  6. Each test was run at three different speeds.
  7. The speeds were for putts that would roll 3 ft, 6ft and 9 ft past the hole.
  8. The resulting distance of missed putts was collected.
  9. The make and miss percentages from all putts at all distances was recorded.
  1. Leaving the flagstick is ALWAYS an advantage vs. taking the flagstick out.

  2. Leaving the flagstick in also keeps the ball closer to the hole on misses.

  3. The less rigid flagstick has the highest make percentage and least distance after a miss.

  4. The most rigid flagstick is still an advantage for both makes and misses vs. flagstick out.

  5. Dead center strikes on the flagstick provided the best make percentage while leaving the shortest remaining distance to the hole on misses.

  6. Off-center strikes on the flag still provided a higher make percentage vs. flagstick out.

  7. While the advantage is not as significant, leaning the stick forward (toward the golfer) is still an advantage vs. taking the flag out.


Don't let the tradition of pulling the flag out while you putt get in the way of shooting lower scores.

Try it, you'll like it.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

Pre-pay for a 2019 membership now and your membership will apply to the rest of this year!

FISH FRYS ARE BACK AT BCC and other dinner specials with soup and salad bar - starting Friday October 5th, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan