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