Putting with the Flagstick In


Can’t wait for Bryson’s version of the Nike logo moment this year at the Masters when the Bridgestone “B” gets perfectly wedged in between the lip and the flagstick on the 72nd hole.


I played a round Sunday with 4 guys…two were older and didnt embrace the flag stick being in to start the round.

I jokingly said I wanted to make my first birdie of 2019 with the stick in, so i putted as much as possible with it in the hole, unless it had already been pulled for someone else. I didnt care enough to make someone put it back in after it had been pulled.

There were 4 combined birdies between the 4 some, 3 of them came with the stick in and towards the end of the round everyone was putting with it in the hole, just because they could and it was something we joked about.


It hurts my brain


my only legitimate concern about in vs. out is a blind approach… if the group behind me can’t see the pin I don’t want to wear some guys Slazenger on my temple


great point here.


I think it helps pace. I can’t think of all the times I want to tap in with the pin in after a close chip but have to take it out, putt, and put it back in.


I played 9 holes today, leaving the pin in on every single put.

Visually the hole looks a lot smaller on longer putts. Leaving it in causes me to focus on the pin itself rather than on the hole, and that makes sneaking a putt in from the high side of the hole hard to visualize. On putts within 8 feet I don’t really care about it that much, because you can see enough room at the sides of the pin anyway.

I had one putt that was straight on the pin and came to rest on the edge of the hole. I have no idea whether it would have dropped or hit the back of the hole and jumped out without the pin, but the look of the ball ricocheting off the pin and not dropping was just really filthy.

9 holes isn’t enough to write it off completely, but so far I’m not liking it.


Yea that’s exactly my mental issue with it. And one of these days someone is going to hit a putt from long range, have it hit the center of the stick and come to rest just outside the hole, and people are going to think it would have gone in if the stick was out.


Did it pop back out and rest on the green? Or was it wedged with the flagstick? If it was wedged then it counts.


It popped back out on the green, millimeters from the cup. Easiest par of the round, but the “what if” was hard on that one…


Interesting, just visualizing it I’d have to think the ball would need to be rolling pretty fast to pop back out. That would generally mean it wouldn’t go in with an empty cup either, but it’s just one of those things you’d probably have to watch to have a true opinion.


Right. 3.1 MPH is very nearly the max speed for a ball to hit the back of the cup, bounce up, and fall in, and that’s if it’s dead center on the hole.


Eduardo Molinari put together a sort of test for pin out versus in. While it’s certainly not some graduate student thesis level of experiment, what happened is what happened. With whatever variables he was working under it definitely wasn’t always advantageous to have the pin in, and for a certain variety of line/speed combos provides a pretty clear disadvantage. And this was for a very standard and controlled type of putt. I don’t think it’s as clear cut as some of you want to believe it is that it’s essentially stupid to take the pin out while putting now.



this sort of suggests that Molinari’s “sort of test” is more scientific than all of the extensive testing done to date that states utterly and completely that the advantage is to the pin being in though.

A reminder that while SOMETIMES it would be a disadvantage being outweighed by MORE TIMES that it would be an advantage is a factual advantage none the less.

This test of Molinari’s would be the equivalent of flipping a coin ten times, getting 7 heads and saying “Well folks, you’re not going to like it, but about 70% of the time, you’re going to get heads”


But look at his results, you’d rather have the ones with the flagstick out. The “hitting the back rim” speed putts are way more common than the ones that are going so fast they race over the cup and just slow down by bouncing off the back wall.

Basically, that middle column is not at all what I expected to see. That’s a huge difference between makes vs misses. I was ready to believe the other studies, but this at the very least casts a decent amount of doubt for me.


A few quick thoughts:

  • This is the only study so far that shows these types of results (which are close to a wash). Every other study I’ve seen (Pelz, mine, Lou Stagner’s, etc.) has shown that there’s no real disadvantage for the lower speed putts and a clear advantage as you go up in speed.
  • They’re rolling the ball from pretty far away. This can have a surprisingly big effect on the actual spot at which the ball hits the hole.
  • I’m curious as to the specifics - what speeds are they actually using, and did they test both sides of the cup or just always play to one side of the hole?
  • What’s not noted in the study, too, was how far away the misses stayed.

As of right now, this study is the outlier, the oddball.

Another thing… the “bouncing in the air” speed can’t really be very high, because if 81% of them go in, the speed was probably around 3.1 MPH, which is really not that fast. Yeah, they show one putt hitting the back and bouncing out, but 81% of them were delivered with a bit less speed than even that one.

In other words, even though they’re billing it as a study of low, medium, and high-speed putts, these putts are probably better classified as low to medium-high speed putts. If you can make 81% of the putts toward the center region of the hole, it wasn’t a very high-speed putt.


Looks to be like 6 feet at the absolute most, how in the world is that pretty far away? I don’t know the speeds in MPH, but they do show the three speeds in the video and it’s basically exactly what you’d think. Slow being a ball that falls over the front lip, medium being a ball that has enough pace to hit the back rim but will go in every time center cut, and fast being the one that hits the back hard enough it has to pop straight up and either fall in or will hang out on the far lip. They used a device so that the speeds were consistent, which is what matters most I suppose.


You’re not understanding the results. 100 putts were rolled at that speed and 81% of them went in at dead center cut. Not 81% were delivered “with a bit less speed”.


This makes his study even more damning to all the others. If you’re right it’s showing that for normal speed putts that don’t enter exactly at the center of the hole you’re going to make way more of them with the pin out.


I think you’d be surprised at the variance in where the ball actually hits the hole at that type of distance.

I used the same exact device (with a laser for alignment), and rolled probably 3x as many balls as they did. Lou rolled 2500+ putts. Dave Pelz rolled thousands.

This study is the outlier among the studies so far.

I said that 81% of the putts were likely delivered with less speed than the one we saw video of that stayed out. If they were delivered with that same speed, they’d have also likely stayed out.

Sounds like you’ve made up your mind, @WarbirdND. Which is fine… All I can do is share what I know and think.