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Flagstick Etiquette


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#1 Puttn4dough

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:20 PM

I was watching the DP World Tour Championship and observed a caddy who was holding the flagstick while his player's group putted.  He appeared to be leaning on the flagstick with the base down on the green.  This had to be leaving a dent in the green.  Why is this acceptable?  Even if these guys repair these marks (giving them the benefit of the doubt), I think it sets a bad example for all golfers watching on TV.  It seems pretty common for PGA caddies to hold the flag with the base on the green, but leaning on it is just wrong.

I was taught (some 40 years ago) that it was bad etiquette to even put the base of the flagstick down on the green (while holding the flagstick).  I was told that if I want to hold it upright, I should put the base on the toe of my shoe.

It seems contradictory that PGA players generally take great care to repair ball marks and spike marks while the caddies seem to be careless with the flagstick.


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#2 rogolf

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:51 PM

View PostPuttn4dough, on 23 November 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

I was watching the DP World Tour Championship and observed a caddy who was holding the flagstick while his player's group putted.  He appeared to be leaning on the flagstick with the base down on the green.  This had to be leaving a dent in the green.  Why is this acceptable?  Even if these guys repair these marks (giving them the benefit of the doubt), I think it sets a bad example for all golfers watching on TV.  It seems pretty common for PGA caddies to hold the flag with the base on the green, but leaning on it is just wrong.

I was taught (some 40 years ago) that it was bad etiquette to even put the base of the flagstick down on the green (while holding the flagstick).  I was told that if I want to hold it upright, I should put the base on the toe of my shoe.

It seems contradictory that PGA players generally take great care to repair ball marks and spike marks while the caddies seem to be careless with the flagstick.

These are professional caddies - they are not careless and I doubt they would be "leaning" on an attended flagstick!  Normally any caddie only attends the flag for his player, not the entire group.
Note that repair of spike marks is not permitted until the player has putted out, and to be really safe, until all players in the group have completed putting.

#3 lander215

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:23 PM

View Postrogolf, on 23 November 2012 - 07:51 PM, said:

View PostPuttn4dough, on 23 November 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

I was watching the DP World Tour Championship and observed a caddy who was holding the flagstick while his player's group putted.  He appeared to be leaning on the flagstick with the base down on the green.  This had to be leaving a dent in the green.  Why is this acceptable?  Even if these guys repair these marks (giving them the benefit of the doubt), I think it sets a bad example for all golfers watching on TV.  It seems pretty common for PGA caddies to hold the flag with the base on the green, but leaning on it is just wrong.

I was taught (some 40 years ago) that it was bad etiquette to even put the base of the flagstick down on the green (while holding the flagstick).  I was told that if I want to hold it upright, I should put the base on the toe of my shoe.

It seems contradictory that PGA players generally take great care to repair ball marks and spike marks while the caddies seem to be careless with the flagstick.

These are professional caddies - they are not careless and I doubt they would be "leaning" on an attended flagstick!  Normally any caddie only attends the flag for his player, not the entire group.
Note that repair of spike marks is not permitted until the player has putted out, and to be really safe, until all players in the group have completed putting.

Yes, after all, even professional caddies never make mistakes or do the wrong thing.

Oh wait...maybe they do?

http://sports.yahoo....9709--golf.html

While the majority of caddies may indeed be professional, I for one will not doubt what someone says they saw unless I was watching the same thing and had a different opinion based upon what I saw to offer up.

OP - you are correct, the flagstick should not be leaned upon while on the green as it would indeed most likely cause damage to the green. Also, you must learn to choose your words fairly precisely for the clique on the rules forum, so while most will understand what you mean when you say the caddy was attending the flag for the group, as you can see, you best specify 'for his player" or you will be chastised for this and other minor unimportant points.

Welcome to the forums as a poster! ;-)

Edited by lander215, 23 November 2012 - 08:24 PM.


#4 tmfool

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:35 PM

so we've got a -- i think i saw

a stern admonishment

and a feeble attempt to defend a maybe by pivoting off topic

if this makes 2pgs -- slow day in golf
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#5 lander215

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:40 PM

lol...clique clique clique!!!


#6 rogolf

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:18 AM

View Postlander215, on 23 November 2012 - 08:40 PM, said:

lol...clique clique clique!!!
rofl - you must be the anti-clique!

#7 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:50 AM

Interestingly I just witnessed exactly what the OP described by Schwartzels caddy on 10. I'll post the pics of it later.

The clique can enjoy eating crow on this one! LOL

#8 bushy007

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:03 AM

View PostPuttn4dough, on 23 November 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

I was watching the DP World Tour Championship and observed a caddy who was holding the flagstick while his player's group putted.  He appeared to be leaning on the flagstick with the base down on the green.  This had to be leaving a dent in the green.  Why is this acceptable?  Even if these guys repair these marks (giving them the benefit of the doubt), I think it sets a bad example for all golfers watching on TV.  It seems pretty common for PGA caddies to hold the flag with the base on the green, but leaning on it is just wrong.

I was taught (some 40 years ago) that it was bad etiquette to even put the base of the flagstick down on the green (while holding the flagstick).  I was told that if I want to hold it upright, I should put the base on the toe of my shoe.

It seems contradictory that PGA players generally take great care to repair ball marks and spike marks while the caddies seem to be careless with the flagstick.

Hmm, another armchair expert... Just watch and enjoy.

#9 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:25 AM

Bushy007 you fail to understand the purpose of this forum by that response.

#10 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:58 AM

Ok, as promised here is the picture describing exactly what the OP saw yesterday. Clearly poor etiquette on the "professional" caddys part for sure. The caddy placed the flag on the ground and then leaned into it, tough to show with a static picture of course, but I watched him do it.

Posted Image

Edited by lander215, 24 November 2012 - 06:58 AM.


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#11 bushy007

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:00 AM

No I understand perfectly. Picking up things like that to prove what? You have better eyes than everyone else? When your playing partners take the flag out for you do you stare profusely trying to gauge how much downward pressure they're applying to the turf? Much like the people who call tour officials to point out infractions with the beauty of pause, rewind and big screen HD images. Maybe we should all whinge about the players resting on their putters? That was always a no no when I was a junior growing up playing the game. Seriously, critiquing professionals of any sort from the comfort of an armchair baffles me at the best of times but leaning on a flagstick??? Come on...

#12 bushy007

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:02 AM

View Postlander215, on 24 November 2012 - 06:58 AM, said:

Ok, as promised here is the picture describing exactly what the OP saw yesterday. Clearly poor etiquette on the "professional" caddys part for sure. The caddy placed the flag on the ground and then leaned into it, tough to show with a static picture of course, but I watched him do it.

Posted Image

My god WOW! He is really leaning on that stick hard!

#13 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:04 AM

Repeat the forum title to yourself..."Rules of golf and etiquette....rules of golf and etiquette....rules of golf and etiquette".

The OP had an etiquette question. Seems like he asked it in the proper forum and should not be chastised by fellow forum members for doing so.

#14 Newby

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:49 AM

All caddies (and players) should be aware that leaning on a flagstick or club has the potential for making a depression in the putting surface.
The caddy who does it would be very upset if his player missed the big money putt on the second extra hole (18th) because of the hole he made in when playing the 18th to get into the play off.

#15 Socrates

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM

I agree, that caddie should be keelhauled for such an egregious violation of the Rules of Etiquette!!

While I agree that players and caddies need to be aware of the potential damage that might occur, the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  People are going to get all wound up about this and yet they still allow professional golfer to wear steel spikes.  I dare say, more crucial putts have been missed because of a spike mark in one tournament than all the damage made by a person leaning on a club or flag in the history of golf.

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#16 rogolf

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

View Postlander215, on 24 November 2012 - 06:58 AM, said:

Ok, as promised here is the picture describing exactly what the OP saw yesterday. Clearly poor etiquette on the "professional" caddys part for sure. The caddy placed the flag on the ground and then leaned into it, tough to show with a static picture of course, but I watched him do it.

Posted Image
Ah, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I misread the original post, thinking it said the caddie was leaning on the flagstick while attending it at the hole.  Definitely the caddie is showing poor form!

#17 Newby

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:53 AM

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  

You obviously do not play in British weather conditions. They are not a laughing matter.

#18 KDMullins

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 11:34 AM

Way too many unknowns here.  If we're going to make some assumptions, these are the ones I'd make.

First, he may be putting little or no pressure on the green.  It's not like he's leaning into it.  He appears to be standing upright with all of his weight on his back foot.

Second, he appears to be on the high side of a very short-sided pin.  The chance of a ball coming to rest between the bottom of that flag and the edge of the green is about zero.

Third, they're playing in the desert, and the greens are very likely firm.  Even if he was applying some downward pressure, it would not likely leave a mark.

#19 Socrates

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:34 PM

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 10:53 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  

You obviously do not play in British weather conditions. They are not a laughing matter.
The British Isles don't have an exclusive on bad weather.  I'll grant you that when it's a 4 (or more) club wind you need to take care putting the flag back in because it's hard to hold it steady, but if you are using a flag or putter to keep you upright, there are bigger issues. Time to go in.
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#20 Newby

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 12:34 PM, said:

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 10:53 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  

You obviously do not play in British weather conditions. They are not a laughing matter.
The British Isles don't have an exclusive on bad weather.  I'll grant you that when it's a 4 (or more) club wind you need to take care putting the flag back in because it's hard to hold it steady, but if you are using a flag or putter to keep you upright, there are bigger issues. Time to go in.

It's not the wind, it's the wet (this year in particular). Greens get very soft and take marks very easily.


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#21 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

View PostKDMullins, on 24 November 2012 - 11:34 AM, said:

Way too many unknowns here.  If we're going to make some assumptions, these are the ones I'd make.

First, he may be putting little or no pressure on the green.  It's not like he's leaning into it.  He appears to be standing upright with all of his weight on his back foot.

Second, he appears to be on the high side of a very short-sided pin.  The chance of a ball coming to rest between the bottom of that flag and the edge of the green is about zero.

Third, they're playing in the desert, and the greens are very likely firm.  Even if he was applying some downward pressure, it would not likely leave a mark.

And the one that you completely overlooked was the fact that I watched him put his entire weight on the flag stick, as I described.

This is an etiquette question, and it is very poor etiquette to do what he's doing, regardless of any potential damage or not to the green.

#22 Mr. Bean

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 02:24 PM

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 12:44 PM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 12:34 PM, said:

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 10:53 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  

You obviously do not play in British weather conditions. They are not a laughing matter.
The British Isles don't have an exclusive on bad weather.  I'll grant you that when it's a 4 (or more) club wind you need to take care putting the flag back in because it's hard to hold it steady, but if you are using a flag or putter to keep you upright, there are bigger issues. Time to go in.

It's not the wind, it's the wet (this year in particular). Greens get very soft and take marks very easily.

I find it plausible that Socrates is one of those who claim that letting the flag stick fall on the green does not create any visible mark on the surface.

Leaning on anything by anybody on a green is poor etiquette, period. Nothing to do with spikes, btw. Socrates.

#23 KDMullins

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

View Postlander215, on 24 November 2012 - 12:45 PM, said:

View PostKDMullins, on 24 November 2012 - 11:34 AM, said:

Way too many unknowns here.  If we're going to make some assumptions, these are the ones I'd make.

First, he may be putting little or no pressure on the green.  It's not like he's leaning into it.  He appears to be standing upright with all of his weight on his back foot.

Second, he appears to be on the high side of a very short-sided pin.  The chance of a ball coming to rest between the bottom of that flag and the edge of the green is about zero.

Third, they're playing in the desert, and the greens are very likely firm.  Even if he was applying some downward pressure, it would not likely leave a mark.

And the one that you completely overlooked was the fact that I watched him put his entire weight on the flag stick, as I described.

This is an etiquette question, and it is very poor etiquette to do what he's doing, regardless of any potential damage or not to the green.

Did the flag stick bow?  Do you have a pic?  IF he did put he ENTIRE weight on the flag stick (which is hard to imagine), then I agree with you...I can't imagine any good reason to do that.

I understand it's an etiquette question...hence my response.  With all due respect, absent some damage to the putting surface, I disagree that it's poor etiquette.  I've been playing golf for 30 years, and I've never heard anybody say or read anywhere (before today) it's poor form to allow the base of the flag stick to touch the green.

#24 lander215

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:19 PM

It's poor etiquette to lean on the flagstick with the base on the ground as one may easily damage the putting surface and, technically, any subsequent group through would not be permitted to repair that damage if it were in the line of their putt. That's the whole jist of this thread.

I've posted the pic and provided my word that he did what I said he did by leaning heavily onto it. I'll leave it at that.

Edited by lander215, 24 November 2012 - 04:20 PM.


#25 Socrates

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

View PostMr. Bean, on 24 November 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 12:44 PM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 12:34 PM, said:

View PostNewby, on 24 November 2012 - 10:53 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

the actual chance that a player leaning on a club or a caddie leaning on a flag might create damage is almost laughable.  

You obviously do not play in British weather conditions. They are not a laughing matter.
The British Isles don't have an exclusive on bad weather.  I'll grant you that when it's a 4 (or more) club wind you need to take care putting the flag back in because it's hard to hold it steady, but if you are using a flag or putter to keep you upright, there are bigger issues. Time to go in.

It's not the wind, it's the wet (this year in particular). Greens get very soft and take marks very easily.

I find it plausible that Socrates is one of those who claim that letting the flag stick fall on the green does not create any visible mark on the surface.

Leaning on anything by anybody on a green is poor etiquette, period. Nothing to do with spikes, btw. Socrates.
SInce you haven't seen me play, I'll find it plausible that you are full of it.  Yes, flags will leave marks, especially the thick heavy ones.

My spike contention is that people are worried about something that is rarely if ever a problem whereas, spike marks are a serious problem in the Pro events.  If we are to be overly anal about whether a flag mark has created an impediment to play we should be apoplectic about people who wear spikes.

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#26 PaddyK

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:13 AM

Not all caddies are proffesionals....Carlos Tevez caddied in the Open for Romero this year.

#27 Mr. Bean

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:14 AM

View PostSocrates, on 24 November 2012 - 08:31 PM, said:


My spike contention is that people are worried about something that is rarely if ever a problem whereas, spike marks are a serious problem in the Pro events.  If we are to be overly anal about whether a flag mark has created an impediment to play we should be apoplectic about people who wear spikes.

Spikes are not a problem at all if people using them know how to lift their feet instead of dragging them. Modern plastic 'spikes' leave much worse marks on the green, although they disappear in some minutes, yet they influence the movement of a ball all that time. The worst marks are left by players with plastic spikes twisting their feet on the green. Should they use steel spikes the shoe would not rotate.

I've played with both having started golf 20 years ago and find steel spikes superior to plastic ones in every possible aspect on the golf course.

#28 lander215

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:05 AM

I switched to spikeless shoes this summer purely for comfort reasons (Footjoy Contour Casual) and have found them to be as stable as my previous plastic spiked shoes. Plus, I no longer am as concerned on the green that I may cause damage.

But I still don't put the flagstick on the green. ;-)

#29 Vindog

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 08:39 AM

What do we do when the "anti-clique" sounds just like "the clique"?

There's not much difference from where I'm standing... lol

Edited by Vindog, 25 November 2012 - 08:39 AM.

run of the mill driver with stock shaft
a couple of outdated hybrids
shovel-ier shovels
wedges from same shovel company
some putter with a dead insert and
a hideous grip

#30 rogolf

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:02 PM

View Postlander215, on 25 November 2012 - 07:05 AM, said:

I switched to spikeless shoes this summer purely for comfort reasons (Footjoy Contour Casual) and have found them to be as stable as my previous plastic spiked shoes. Plus, I no longer am as concerned on the green that I may cause damage.

But I still don't put the flagstick on the green. ;-)

Realizing that we're all being "picky" and recognizing that the golf course and greens will never be as perfect as billiard tables, I find the imprint of the shoes that you describe much more noticeable and irritating than soft spikes.
In our part of the world, the vast majority of golf courses have banned the use of metal spikes for everyone's benefit.


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