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Posts Tagged ‘chipping with the flag in’

Chipping with the flag In or out - that is the question?

Chipping with the flag In or out – that is the question?

Chipping with the flag In or out – that is the question?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

When I watch the PGA and LPGA players, they all seem to do it differently. 

Some like to take the pin out. Others prefer to leave it in.  Which, however, gives the ball the most chance of going in the hole.  World-renowned short game expert Dave Peltz gives us the definitive answer via

Dave Pelz has always recommended leaving the flagstick in the hole if you are off the green. Being Pelz, he researched the outcome of balls headed for the green, with both pin in and pin out. The guru of the short game says, “Leave the flagstick in whenever the Rules allow unless it is leaning so far toward you that the ball can’t fit.”  I agree with Mr. Pelz. I think the pin can also help stop your ball if you have pace or speed problems, which may aid new golfers with distance perception.  Here is Dave’s full take on the subject.

Chipping with the flag In or out - that is the question?

Chipping with the pin in.

A few years ago, I was asked by GOLF MAGAZINE to answer an age-old question: When chipping, should you leave the flagstick in the hole or pull it out? I conducted a test and was surprised by the results.

Chipping with the flag In or out - that is the question?

Chipping with flag out!

Each test was run at three different speeds: On a perfectly flat green, the speeds were fast enough to send the ball three feet past the hole, six feet past, and nine feet past. Each test also had putts that went toward the target at different parts of the hole: dead center; left- and right-center of the pin; left and right edge of the pin. Finally, the tests were run, first on level greens, then on ones where the slope was sharply uphill and downhill. (The speeds would stay the same, but because the slope changed, the balls, if they did miss, would finish considerably farther away on downhill putts and closer on uphillers. But it is the speed, not the final distance from the hole, that matters.)

All told, TruRoller launched thousands of “shots” at the hole, an equal number with the flagstick in and out, on several different greens, at five different parts of the hole.

Once that was complete, PGA Tour veteran Tom Jenkins, the lead instructor at my short-game schools, did his best to duplicate those tests. Although Tom couldn’t control his putts as precisely as the TruRoller, I felt it was important to compare machine and human results. Tom hit more than a thousand putts, and support results of the TruRoller.

Of course, there were variables in conditions, including imperfect green surfaces, the edges of the cup becoming worn, the hole being higher in back than in front and acting as a “backstop,” and so on. What did I learn?

Leave the flagstick in whenever the Rules allow, unless it is leaning so far toward you that the ball can’t fit. Here are a few exceptional cases.

  • Perhaps most surprising, when the flagstick leans either slightly toward the golfer or away, the odds of it helping to keep the ball in the hole increase: With the flagstick leaning away from the golfer, the hole becomes effectively larger; when the flagstick leans toward the golfer, the ball rebounds downward, again helping shots find the hole.

  • Only in the most obvious case, when the flagstick is leaning so far toward the golfer that there isn’t enough room for the ball, is leaving the flagstick in a bad idea. Check the flagstick before you chip to be sure it is sitting properly in the cup. (The Rules of Golf prohibit you from positioning a flagstick to your advantage. But you may leave a tilting flagstick as is or else center it in the hole.)

  • Even if you don’t hit the flagstick dead center, it still will aid you. It proved especially advantageous when chipping downhill and at faster speeds. 

  • The flagstick will help you make more putts unless it is leaning severely toward you or it’s so windy that it is moving and might knock your ball away.

Source:   Dave Peltz

Pictures: Neville Wootton   Tim Evanson

Thanks for reading – Chipping with the flag In or out – that is the question?

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