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HOLD EVERYTHING: New scientific study says PUTT WITH THE PIN OUT!


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#1 BenSeattle

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:31 AM

From Golf Digest:

https://www.golfdige...professor-shows

This contradicts what Dave Pelz claims as well as the "test" that another golf equipment website recently conducted.  And I'm with them.  Haven't we all seen plenty of nicely-struck chip shots just graze the pin and stop a foot away?  Chips that would have dropped in had there been no flag?

Sure, having the flag left in could certainly help a chip or putt that was slammed hard enough to go well beyond the cup, but that means you're expecting to hit a crappy shot, right?

Edited by BenSeattle, 06 February 2019 - 11:40 AM.


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#2 RSinSG

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:03 AM

I am not basing my decision to putt with the flag in on any test or someone’s opinion. I am happy for the rule change because putting with the flag in is very comfortable to me. I think because most of my putting practice is done with a flag / pin in I like the look. Some players don’t like it and the times I’ve played this year under the new rule it’s been very easy to take the flag out if someone asks. So far almost everyone leaves it in on putts over 10-12 feet, an a few take it out on short ones. Do what feels best to you.
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#3 Simp

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:32 AM

I tried to putt with the pin in this weekend and it messed me up. After putting for 30 years with it out, I can't do it. I'll take it out going forward.
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#4 Swisstrader98

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:37 AM

For 99% of the amateurs out there, makes zero difference. So why do we care??

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#5 rusty380

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:07 AM

View PostBenSeattle, on 06 February 2019 - 01:31 AM, said:

From Golf Digest:

https://www.golfdige...professor-shows

This contradicts what Dave Pelz claims as well as the "test" that Not allowed because of spam conducted.  And I'm with them.  Haven't we all seen plenty of nicely-struck chip shots just graze the pin and stop a foot away?  Chips that would have dropped had there been no flag?

Yep also seen people luck out off the greens by racing one at the pin which would fly by 7 feet or so if it didn't hit the pin yet instead it's stopped dead next to the hole or dropped. Would have otherwise hopped over the hole and continued on its way.

It works both ways, so each to their own.

A good chip or putt should drop regardless, the flag brings luck to the scenario not particularly skill.

One thing I will say though is i've putt with the flag in from anything above 8 foot, not had anything bounce out that would have otherwise dropped. It does give a small central target to aim at. Works for me as I focus on that target rather than holing the putt, removes some pressure for me.

Edited by rusty380, 06 February 2019 - 09:11 AM.


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#6 Roody

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:21 AM

I've been putting and chipping onto the green with the pin out since 2008 because of a conversation I had with former LPGA player Laura Diaz that year.

I was playing in a pro-am with her. It's a scramble format. Our group got up to our best shot, which was about a foot off the green in the rough. As we were all grabbing our clubs, Laura says to her caddie "take the pin out".

Now, like a dumbass, I look at her and ask "why take the pin out? Golf Digest just did a story not long ago where they had a robot take a thousand chip shots with the pin in, and with it out. The ball went in the hole at a higher percentage with the pin in". (In hindsight, I feel like a tool for even questioning a pro, but I digress)

Her response: "Golf Digest is full of sh!t", which elicited laughs from the group. She goes on to say "ask yourself one simple question: is the hole bigger with the pin in it, or with it out?"

I think for a second. "I guess it's bigger with it out"

Laura says "precisely"

Ever since that day I pull the pin for all chips and putts. However, I still think it's personal preference. Do what you feel is best.

Edited by Roody, 06 February 2019 - 10:24 AM.

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#7 TerpFangolfer

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:39 AM

not to be a contrarian but maybe you could have asked Laura.... "what stops the ball better - air or a solid piece of fiberglass/wood?" :taunt:

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#8 davep043

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:10 AM

I always like more data, but this isn't any more conclusive for ALL cases than the Pelz or MGS or LSW studies were.  My conclusion so far, based on everything I've read.
For putts going so fast that the would NOT go in, the flagstick can only help, by keeping the ball closer to the hole
For putts that are perfect speed, that would go in every time, the flagstick can only hurt.  That might only be going from 100% make to 98%, but that's still hurting.  On the other hand, the flagstick will help some people line up, so they'll make more putts with it in, even if they miss a couple directly because of the flagstick.
In between speeds, its going to depend on speed, type of flagstick, slope, location within the hole that the ball enters, lean of the stick, too many things to make a definite conclusion.
The tough part is deciding on those in-betweeners.  None of us have perfect speed control, none of us hit every putt on exactly the line we plan, and no green is so perfect that every putt will roll perfectly true.  None of us is good enough to say "I'm going to hit this at "2-feet past speed" and its going to hit 1/2" off-center to the high side, because that's optimum".  You have to play the percentages, and by reading all the published data you can educate yourself on what the percentages really are.

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#9 bobcat88

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:18 AM

I just don't like the look of it being in. Seems like the benefit either way is negligible at best.

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#10 Roody

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:30 AM

View PostTerpFangolfer, on 06 February 2019 - 10:39 AM, said:

not to be a contrarian but maybe you could have asked Laura.... "what stops the ball better - air or a solid piece of fiberglass/wood?" :taunt:

Sure, if you hit the putt too hard it might hit, stop, and drop. But it can also ricochet to the left or right.

I honestly think this is one of those decisions where there isn't a definitive right or wrong answer. Like a lot of things in golf, you do what brings you the most confidence.

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#11 new2g0lf

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:58 AM

I prefer the stick out, logically I feel like the more area available for the ball to go in the hole the better chance I have for the ball to go in.  It makes sense a ball that strikes the pin dead on might go in or roll less that if it wasn't in, but in most of my cases, the ball doesn't strike the pin dead on and ricochets to the left or right which depending on pin placement could leave you in a lot worse position.

I'd much rather putt a ball that rolled over the hole that I observed the break on than a ricochet that makes it a completely different putt.   I could see some benefit on longer putts where hitting the stick could reduce the length of the next putt.  I've been told amateurs tend to leave a putt short so in those cases the pin in or out won't matter.
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#12 andrue

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:59 AM

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 11:30 AM, said:

View PostTerpFangolfer, on 06 February 2019 - 10:39 AM, said:

not to be a contrarian but maybe you could have asked Laura.... "what stops the ball better - air or a solid piece of fiberglass/wood?" :taunt:

Sure, if you hit the putt too hard it might hit, stop, and drop. But it can also ricochet to the left or right.
Yes, but I think it loses enough energy in the impact that it will stop closer to the hole than if you simply hit it too far and would have flown over the empty hole. But..meh. For me it'll be convenience if I can putt out while others are still working around the fringe I might do that to save time.
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#13 Cwebb

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:07 PM

For me, if I feel confident I can get the speed right, I'll take it out.  If less sure about speed control, I'll leave it in.

I'll rarely if ever leave it in for any shorter putts.  I don't want to look at a full sized flag stick on a 6 foot putt.  In addition, that's a "no feedback" type of situation....just clanking putts against a stick.  No thank you

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#14 CasualLie

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:15 PM

10+ rounds in this year.  Nice to have pin in for long putts, the visual helps...like an extra data point.  But no way will I putt anything under 5 feet with pin in any longer.  I won't go full retard like Laura Diaz and say the hole is bigger with the pin out, but it is a better visual...for me.  I find the pin distracting on short putts and I am thinking of things never thought of before.

I know it is just personal preference, but on long putts, I want to zero in on a pin to get a little more precise, but on short putts, I see a wider line to the hole and the pin gets in the way of that.  It's like it is cutting the hole in half.  It is just a visual, but getting to be TMI.

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#15 Cwebb

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:37 PM

Also wanted to add that the small pins on practice putting greens is not the same as a full sized flag stick.  I've heard a few make this comparison about how it feels easier to make putts on the practice green....well it's not the same


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#16 Chrismydawg

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:37 PM

I would venture to guess that 1/2 the amateurs already putt with the flag in.

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#17 davep043

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:59 PM

View PostChrismydawg, on 06 February 2019 - 12:37 PM, said:

I would venture to guess that 1/2 the amateurs already putt with the flag in.
I'd guess that half the amateurs take mulligans, and drop a ball near where theirs went OB (with only one penalty stroke).  I'm not sure anyone should consider that group of golfers when discussing rules.

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#18 golfr19

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:10 PM

I continue to believe the pin helps with visual alignment on longer and/or sloped putts as well as backstop and those that you crush. Aside from that, I think it can hurt you.

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#19 TerpFangolfer

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:25 PM

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 11:30 AM, said:

View PostTerpFangolfer, on 06 February 2019 - 10:39 AM, said:

not to be a contrarian but maybe you could have asked Laura.... "what stops the ball better - air or a solid piece of fiberglass/wood?" :taunt:

Sure, if you hit the putt too hard it might hit, stop, and drop. But it can also ricochet to the left or right.

I honestly think this is one of those decisions where there isn't a definitive right or wrong answer. Like a lot of things in golf, you do what brings you the most confidence.

If it hits and ricochet's away - then I would think most of the time (90+%) that means it was moving too fast to go in as well?
And the ricochet keeps it near the hole instead of going way past?

Anyway, we've all seen both things happen - hits the pin hard & drops, or hits and bounces away...or if no pin, hits the back of the hole and pops up and drops, or goes right over the hole....of those 4 things by far the worse is "goes over the hole", right? That's the only one that leaves you 10+ feet past. Just my thoughts...
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#20 sprcoop

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:35 PM

After all the "do you want it in or out?"  this weekend after the 3rd hole I let the foursome know that if it's in, just leave it in for me.  If it's out, just leave it out for me.

I would rather have it in under all but VERY few circumstances (pin leaning toward entry point) but I just couldn't take it and do not believe it makes a difference for my putting.


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#21 Roody

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:55 PM

View PostCasualLie, on 06 February 2019 - 12:15 PM, said:

I won't go full retard like Laura Diaz and say the hole is bigger with the pin out

Can you fit more into a cup that has nothing in it? Or one with a pin jammed into it? I think that's what is meant by "bigger". At least that's how I took it to mean.
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#22 golfgirlrobin

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:02 PM

There’s never going to be a really valid study of this because you can’t account for the human factor.  The player’s comfort level is the unknown factor.  Hit a million shots with a robot at a million different pins, at a million different speeds, from a million different lies, in a million different weather conditions and you’re still never going to know what’s going on in a player’s head and how it impacts the shot.

Do whatever you’re comfortable with, just don’t, as I experienced recently, stand on a green and explain to me how I’m doing it wrong.
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#23 davep043

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:03 PM

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 01:55 PM, said:

View PostCasualLie, on 06 February 2019 - 12:15 PM, said:

I won't go full retard like Laura Diaz and say the hole is bigger with the pin out

Can you fit more into a cup that has nothing in it? Or one with a pin jammed into it? I think that's what is meant by "bigger". At least that's how I took it to mean.
I'm sure that's what she meant, but she could have been wrong.  As speed increases, the portion of the hole that can "catch" the rolling ball becomes smaller.  Faster putts will lip out more often than slower putts when they're not dead center.  When you stick a pin in there, a pin that will slow the ball down, you might expect the "capture region" to increase.

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#24 alarson

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:14 PM

I played a round last Sunday.  Some pins were frozen into the cup and couldn't be pulled.  Others had holes somehow froze over where the pin couldn't even be placed into the icy frozen hole.  So I was forced to put with both the pin in and the pin out.  I didn't hit the pin or the hole on any of my initial puts.

Hope that helps.  :slow_en:

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#25 Loki

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:57 PM

I think the 30" holing speed is a little long. I like Pelz's 17" better and wonder how those results fare?

Gotta use the right data in my book.


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#26 DK<80

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:07 PM

Speed seems to have quite a bit to do with this.  If you're aggressive, you might not want it in.  If your putts roll in just right or barely it might help more.  I've noted this in another forum before....my #1 issue is that the pin is becoming a false sense of security for me on downhill putts.  I've definitely hit a few putts over the past few weeks that were too firm, simply because I'm assuming I'll hit the pin!
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#27 CasualLie

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:35 PM

I have not read the studies that closely; just a scan.  I get the "theories."  But let's talk reality.  As others have mentioned before, "holing speed" is going to be a big factor.  Pelz came up with his 17" speed theory to overcome the "lumpy donut" and he knows from lots of data that most weekenders are leaving the putt short (not including the people who can't putt to begin with and jam everything 5 feet by).  

The 30" holing speed is interesting to me.  I wouldn't mind seeing the logic behind that.  It seems to me, generally speaking, tour players may have more speed to hold a line better and they practice so much on the short putts they do not mind being 2 1/2 feet by.  That kind of speed freaks out most weekenders.  

I don't know how you measure having the pin in gets you better chance through improved alignment, feel, data point...whatever you call it, but more information generally should be better than not, right?  Still, through the course of a year, for tour players, 25 tournaments, and let's just say they make all the cuts, so 100 rounds...1800 holes, roughly 3000 putts. How many will miss by being "robbed" by the pin?  i.e. ball hits pin and deflects off and stays out of hole.  And of the ones that do that, how many can you say would definitively not gone in anyway if the pin was out?  Conversely, how many putts of the 3,000 were definitely not going in but the pin helped?

Are we talking an average on one putt per player per year?  That's what it feels like to me, but I don't have the data and really neither does anyone else.  And on top of that, how are the studies being done?  With the "perfect putter".  Well, guess what, not even Tiger Woods in his prime was the "perfect putter".  As consistent and great of a putter someone like Faxon or Crenshaw was, do you think they had the same holing speed on every putt?  Of course not.  The human factor makes this very hard to pinpoint.

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#28 CasualLie

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:39 PM

View Postdavep043, on 06 February 2019 - 02:03 PM, said:

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 01:55 PM, said:

View PostCasualLie, on 06 February 2019 - 12:15 PM, said:

I won't go full retard like Laura Diaz and say the hole is bigger with the pin out

Can you fit more into a cup that has nothing in it? Or one with a pin jammed into it? I think that's what is meant by "bigger". At least that's how I took it to mean.
I'm sure that's what she meant, but she could have been wrong.  As speed increases, the portion of the hole that can "catch" the rolling ball becomes smaller.  Faster putts will lip out more often than slower putts when they're not dead center.  When you stick a pin in there, a pin that will slow the ball down, you might expect the "capture region" to increase.

Oh..I was just giving her a hard time with the fact the cup is the same diameter with or without pin in.   She's cool...But I get the point.  I have heard the theory both ways from tour players.  Pin out to get more cup access, pin in to help catch the ball.  Like I alluded to in my previous post, it really is personal preference, and it goes by each shot.  Sometimes you will aggressively go after a hole, sometimes you die it in.  And I am talking about short chips/pitches.  Now the question is, given your choice to die it in, or go at it aggressively, when do you take pin out or leave it in?  ;)

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#29 larrybud

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:45 PM

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 10:21 AM, said:

Her response: "Golf Digest is full of sh!t", which elicited laughs from the group. She goes on to say "ask yourself one simple question: is the hole bigger with the pin in it, or with it out?"

I think for a second. "I guess it's bigger with it out"

Laura says "precisely"

Most golf pros aren't physicists.

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#30 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:50 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 06 February 2019 - 08:45 PM, said:

View PostRoody, on 06 February 2019 - 10:21 AM, said:

Her response: "Golf Digest is full of sh!t", which elicited laughs from the group. She goes on to say "ask yourself one simple question: is the hole bigger with the pin in it, or with it out?"

I think for a second. "I guess it's bigger with it out"

Laura says "precisely"

Most golf pros aren't physicists.
At least not trained ones.

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