Rules Guy: Is your playing partner allowed to tend the pin for you?

golfer holding flagstick

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Now that the flagstick may be left in while putting, can it be tended and not removed? Specifically, on a day windy enough to bend the pin toward you, is it permitted to have someone hold the stick to keep it centered in the cup? —Dave Boyna, Little Elm, Texas

Having someone attend the flagstick isn’t just a job, it’s an agreement. Its purpose is to allow the player to see the flagstick (and thus the position of the hole below) but not have it influence the motion of the ball after the stroke.

Rules Guy: Can you use the pin as a practice aid on the green?
By: Rules Guy

Thus, under Rule 13.2b(2), you can’t have someone attend the flagstick and deliberately leave it there to affect that moving ball. Were this to happen, the player not only gets the general penalty of two strokes (or loss of hole in match play) but also must replay the stroke from the original spot — a case of the rules sticking it to the uninformed player….

Oh, and the player attending the flag gets the general penalty too. Here, ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s accomplice.

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