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revkev

Flag stick revisited

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I’m surprised that there’s not or else I’ve missed a thread commenting on the Golf Digest article claiming to have data that suggests we should always leave the flag stick in.

 

This article contradicts findings from MGS and Dave Pelz. Honestly in reading the article I thought there were times where the author reached conclusions that weren’t supported by his data. What he did that I liked was attempt to test proximity to the hole based on in/out. He claimed that this test was inconclusive. I’d have liked to have seen the data. I’d also like to have someone whom I trust - MGS or Pelz do a study with real golfers on flag in or out proximity to the hole on 30 footers.

 

I also wish that the MGS team would comment on that study from Golf Digest. I’m still going flag in but it has caused lots of people who might to refuse to leave it in thus defeating the USGA’s purpose for establishing the rule in the first place. Increased pace of play.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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Rev: the discussion (including Adam Beach's direct challenge to the professor involved) picked up in an older thread in this post: 

 

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Adam did post a video on Twitter.  You'll probably see it to the right towards the bottom of all the ads.  They want to bring "Professor" Mays out to the MGS HQ to go over what he tested and how...hands-on style.  

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Adam did comment about the situation and I believed invited Professor Mase to come to the test facility and conduct research together and come to a final conclusion regarding the situation. 

 

 

 

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I've tried the flag stick in. I prefer to take it out. On very long putts, I think it is beneficial to leave it in for no other reason than knowing where the hole is. Other than that, I honestly see no benefit to leaving it in.

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Since I can remember I’ve left the stick in while playing alone. I will say it had never made me miss a putt.

Backboarded a few chips and approach shots off it, but never got “pinned” on a putt.

Helps with my depth perception too.

So this new rule really doesn’t apply to me because I’ve been doing it for years....

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I've been leaving it in for years when I play alone and now I leave it in almost always.  So far this year I have seen dozens of putts that everyone in the group thought the pin helped a particular putt and only one that we thought the pin probably hurt.   Some times on an almost gimme range I will putt out without the flag if the person before me has had the flag pulled.   I believe it helps.

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I think leaving the flagstick in is something that you should do based on what look you prefer.  Personally I like taking the flagstick out because it makes the hole look bigger but some people say that it gives them a more precise target and they believe in the aim small miss small method.  On the contrary I do like leaving it in on long putts to see the hole.

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1 hour ago, revkev said:

This article contradicts findings from MGS and Dave Pelz. Honestly in reading the article I thought there were times where the author reached conclusions that weren’t supported by his data. What he did that I liked was attempt to test proximity to the hole based on in/out. He claimed that this test was inconclusive. I’d have liked to have seen the data. I’d also like to have someone whom I trust - MGS or Pelz do a study with real golfers on flag in or out proximity to the hole on 30 footers.

The Molinari study also suggested that the flagstick could be a detriment in certain situations, this isn't the first to suggest that.  To me, if I combine all of the various studies, I come to two basic conclusions.  For a putt that is going relatively fast, the flagstick is more likely to help than to hurt.  Balls that hit the stick might go in, but almost certainly will finish closer to the hole than if they didn't hit the stick.  For putts going at the proper speed, there are combinations of location and speed where the flagstick could keep putts from falling.  The problem is variability, both for human putters, and for green surfaces, so its nearly impossible to predict exactly where a putt will strike the stick, or at precisely what speed.  Foir me, the solution is to leave the flagstick in when there's a reasonable chance that I'll hit the putt too hard (longer putts mostly) and remove it when I'm confident that I can control the speed well.

The problem I see with real golfers putting from 30 feet is that there will be really few putts that actually hit the hole.  The pros make something like 1 out of 20 or less from that range.  Each golfer would have to spend half a day in order to get a dozen or more data points.

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The Molinari study also suggested that the flagstick could be a detriment in certain situations, this isn't the first to suggest that.  To me, if I combine all of the various studies, I come to two basic conclusions.  For a putt that is going relatively fast, the flagstick is more likely to help than to hurt.  Balls that hit the stick might go in, but almost certainly will finish closer to the hole than if they didn't hit the stick.  For putts going at the proper speed, there are combinations of location and speed where the flagstick could keep putts from falling.  The problem is variability, both for human putters, and for green surfaces, so its nearly impossible to predict exactly where a putt will strike the stick, or at precisely what speed.  Foir me, the solution is to leave the flagstick in when there's a reasonable chance that I'll hit the putt too hard (longer putts mostly) and remove it when I'm confident that I can control the speed well.
The problem I see with real golfers putting from 30 feet is that there will be really few putts that actually hit the hole.  The pros make something like 1 out of 20 or less from that range.  Each golfer would have to spend half a day in order to get a dozen or more data points.


I agree with what you have to write but haven’t made myself clear on the 30 footers. I think the optics of the flag in will lead to a closer proximity to the hole not because the ball hits the pin but because the human putter has a better sense of distance. I’d love to see a test done on that.

I read the Profs narrative. Based on what he says his data found it’s preposterous to say that the flag out benefits 99 percent of the time or even a majority of the time.

I think there are rare occasions where the flag out would benefit - since those are rare and unpredictable I will leave it in.

Sorry that I missed Adam’s response - thanks to everyone for providing links. I appreciate reorganizing the threads but it has caused me to loose track of some of them. That’s a me thing not a MGS thing. :)


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy
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2 minutes ago, revkev said:

I agree with what you have to write but haven’t made myself clear on the 30 footers. I think the optics of the flag in will lead to a closer proximity to the hole not because the ball hits the pin but because the human putter has a better sense of distance. I’d love to see a test done on that.

 

I believe you're right, that the flagstick improves depth perception, and so improves speed control, for a majority of players.  I think that advantage will get some attention, due to the attention the flagstick is getting in light of the rule changes, but we've always been able to get that same advantage by having the flag tended.

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Back at Dave - but we're guys, how many of us are ever going to ask another guy for help by having them attend the flag?  Next thing you know you're going to be telling me to stop at the gas station to ask for directions. 🙂

Does anyone remember when Seve used to have the flag attended for 10 footers? 

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2 hours ago, TSauer said:

Adam did comment about the situation and I believed invited Professor Mase to come to the test facility and conduct research together and come to a final conclusion regarding the situation. 

 

 

WOW!  Gauntlet thrown!  BOOYAH.

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I wonder how the flagstick in/out debate works for breaking putts?

Not sure if that was a part of either study but -- perceptually -- there is a big difference to me between straight putts and left/right breakers.

I can see the stick being in/out for straight and shorter putts as negligible but I think it really comes in handy being in for longer breaking putts.  I've only played a couple times and I can't say it has helped me make more but what I CAN say it that it has definitely helped with my LAG putting.

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I wonder how the flagstick in/out debate works for breaking putts?.


I don’t think it would matter. At the hole a ball is rolling end over end and approaching a hole that is 4.25” wide with a flagstick. In the middle and at a particular speed. The question will primarily center around a ball that does. Not hit the center of the flagstick and how much energy is transferred back to the ball to push it out of the hole. I can simulate all the conditions with a straight putt
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3 minutes ago, cnosil said:

 


I don’t think it would matter. At the hole a ball is rolling end over end and approaching a hole that is 4.25” wide with a flagstick. In the middle and at a particular speed. The question will primarily center around a ball that does. Not hit the center of the flagstick and how much energy is transferred back to the ball to push it out of the hole. I can simulate all the conditions with a straight putt

 

Yep... I understand the physics of it.  A ball going into a hole with a vertical object protruding out of it is the same no matter what the angle of the hole is.

My comment was more from an "aiming/alignment" perspective....will golfers find it easier to read the break with the stick in or out?

Personally, I think the pin in for long breaking putts makes it easier to read.

There are 2 parts to the discussion - the first part is as you mentioned - the ball physically rolling into the hole at certain speeds and the second part is more theoretical - does it help golfers start their ball on the proper line with the correct speed?

I realize it's nearly impossible to test the second part but I think perceptually that does play an important role.

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I'm leaving it in- it just works!

Maybe pull it for a 2 footer that has the potential to ricochet if hit too hard, apart from that it's in and we get faster rounds to boot!👏

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7 minutes ago, GolfSpy Stroker said:

Personally, I think the pin in for long breaking putts makes it easier to read.

I can see two sides to this.  I believe that the flagstick can aid depth perception, and that's one component of green-reading, so that's a positive.  But if the cup wasn't installed quite plumb, or the flag isn't quite replaced correctly, you might be looking at a crooked flagstick, which could lead to mis-reading putts.  I use Aimpoint, so I'm not really looking at anything to make my reads.  Eyes can be influenced by a lot of things, including background slopes, and I have to believe that can include a slightly crooked flagstick.

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3 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I can see two sides to this.  I believe that the flagstick can aid depth perception, and that's one component of green-reading, so that's a positive.  But if the cup wasn't installed quite plumb, or the flag isn't quite replaced correctly, you might be looking at a crooked flagstick, which could lead to mis-reading putts.  I use Aimpoint, so I'm not really looking at anything to make my reads.  Eyes can be influenced by a lot of things, including background slopes, and I have to believe that can include a slightly crooked flagstick.

TRUE!  Especially when the wind is blowing 30+ mph and flag stick is flopping all over the place like when I played in TX.  😉

MVIMG_20190119_111130.jpg

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@Dave and Stroker

 

True that's why I always check to make sure the flag is securely in the hole when I'm putting or chipping with it in.  And if the wind is blowing that hard all bets are off - I should have to ask to have it tended but being a guy I'll just take it out then because no way I'm asking for help (as I wrote in an earlier post.) 🙂

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