Flag in or Flag out?

In recent blogs i have described the numerous changes to the R&A rules of golf for 2019. These rule changes include the removal of a penalty for hitting the pin when on the putting surface and so now the player has the option to putt while on the green with the flag in the hole and of all the rule changes this is the one that appears to have caught the interest of local golfers. As a low handicap golfer my higher handicap society partners consistantly ask me which is better,flag in or flag out and there is no single answer to this because it is a matter of personal preference. This issue has raised it’s head on the main PGA tours and for instance Bryson Dechambeau has decided that his preference is to leave the flag in the hole for all putts. Me personally for very long putts I choose flag in because I find it easier to gauge the distance to the hole with the flag in position but for shorter putts I take the flag out because to my eye this makes the hole appear bigger. I always remember a saying that my father used to say when I was a junior “a flag in never helped a good shot”. So you can see there are arguments for both options and I am sure that each player will work out which is best for them. In conjunction with the flag in,flag out debate the new rules encourage playing ‘ready golf’ which is only good for the speed of play BUT I have noticed an increased number of occasions where my higher handicap golfers are ‘moving’ while fellow players are trying to play or even hitting shots while other players are in the process of hitting their shots. Remember that the previous rules of etiquette still apply in that you should be still,quiet and out of eye line when someone is playing a golf shot.