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It's been interesting to see the various schemes golf courses have used to satisfy self directed or mandated rules in response to the pandemic.  Some as simple as the foam tube in the cup, to those that lift the ball out, to inverted cups, to no cup at all.  A quick search yields dozens of companies (or one man garage industries) offering a plethora of variations.  A number of patent applications and lots of articles about these and those working on the latest "necessity is the mother of invention" gizmo.

I personally like the foam tube the best as it adds no restriction on open area and, if made at the right height, offers easy ball removal.  But, it's downside is that folks tend to bugger up the hole edges using the end of their putters to extract the ball.  So, more recently, I'm favoring one that Cottonwood Hills has which is similar to the last photo but has a tapered cone bottom such that when you lift/slide it up with your putter, the ball drops clear of the hole.  These do reduce the open area a little and may keep a small percentage of putts from dropping, but local rules are often addressing that.

Which contraptions have you seen/used and which do you like the best?  If you have seen any other novel designs, please share them. 👍

Rules of Golf explained: My ball bounced off the foam noodle | National  Club Golfer

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i think they’re all pretty stupid and useless to be honest. 

what are the courses really preventing here? 

surface contamination has been shown to not be a significant cause of spreading the disease. 

even if it was, you still have to bend down and pick your ball up off the foam or inverted cup the same way you would if it were allowed to drop to the bottom. 

i don’t see a point. 

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1 hour ago, Chip Strokes said:

i think they’re all pretty stupid and useless to be honest. 

what are the courses really preventing here? 

surface contamination has been shown to not be a significant cause of spreading the disease. 

even if it was, you still have to bend down and pick your ball up off the foam or inverted cup the same way you would if it were allowed to drop to the bottom. 

i don’t see a point. 

Well, not to send this thread and discussion off into orbit, but there are many dubious, conflicting, and questionable things being done in response to Covid. I will say that if it makes the difference in golf courses being open, and us being allowed to play, I'm going with whatever makes that happen... and these aren't that cumbersome.  In fact, unless you're a pin out preference, they actually can make removing the ball a bit easier.

I'm going with a Big Fat No on the Star Ball Cup however... I do have my limits 😉.

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23 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Well, not to send this thread and discussion off into orbit, but there are many dubious, conflicting, and questionable things being done in response to Covid. I will say that if it makes the difference in golf courses being open, and us being allowed to play, I'm going with whatever makes that happen... and these aren't that cumbersome.  In fact, unless you're a pin out preference, they actually can make removing the ball a bit easier.

I'm going with a Big Fat No on the Star Ball Cup however... I do have my limits 😉.

oh i agree 100%. there is no shortage of cognitive dissonance when it comes to covid guidelines all over the place. it’s extremely frustrating.  there’s a complete absence of logic in what you can and can’t do these days, and in what is being asked of people vs. what is blindly being permitted.  as you said though, that’s a much longer conversation for a different thread

and you’re right - if this means courses are open then i’m all for it.  

the lift out cup contraptions do make life real easy, especially if bending over is a chore. 

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Well, not to send this thread and discussion off into orbit, but there are many dubious, conflicting, and questionable things being done in response to Covid. I will say that if it makes the difference in golf courses being open, and us being allowed to play, I'm going with whatever makes that happen... and these aren't that cumbersome.  In fact, unless you're a pin out preference, they actually can make removing the ball a bit easier.
I'm going with a Big Fat No on the Star Ball Cup however... I do have my limits .

I kinda life the “Lift” ball contraption. Since we’re a bunch of “older” guys anything that can help keep us upright helps
The Star “thing” is weird.
I’ve had birdies/Pars not drop because the foam or PVC insert weren’t set correctly.


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I agree about keeping the courses open. I have only see the “pool noodle” method. The lifting gadget seems like it would be a back saver but I have noticed a couple of courses that take the flag out and drop it at night. It seems the disks or handles could damage the green.


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All of our courses in town have the pool noodle.  I went to a course about an hour drive away a few weeks ago and they had a lift contraption which worked great.  I had two putts this weekend that were dead in the heart of the cup that bounced out, mostly because the wind was 20-30 mph and the flagstick was leaning toward me.  I called birdie!!

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The pool noodle is fine. But i do miss the sound of the ball bouncing into the bottom of the cup.
Whatever keeps the courses open. I am an ICU nurse and golf is my sanctuary, my zen, my mind clearer and my obsession. Lets Play


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2 hours ago, Kenny B said:

All of our courses in town have the pool noodle.  I went to a course about an hour drive away a few weeks ago and they had a lift contraption which worked great.  I had two putts this weekend that were dead in the heart of the cup that bounced out, mostly because the wind was 20-30 mph and the flagstick was leaning toward me.  I called birdie!!

Chris and I would have given you the birdie, but Martha would make you putt it 🤣.

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All PVC were removed from holes today so that’s back to normal.


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They used noodles here and courses still put them in. Usually after 10 or so groups you find the noodle laying on the green collar. I’ve been putting with the pin in since the rule changed to see if there’s been an appreciable increase in made/missed and found little difference. I’ve had a few bounce out due to the noodle, though

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We're still using noodles, leave the pin in, no rakes in the bunkers, and one person per cart (except family) or mask required if 2 in cart (although I don't think too many are doing the mask in cart thing).  I'm okay with all of the preventative measures except not having a rake.  Although we allow placing a ball in the trap if you're in a foot print or unrated area, I'd still rather go back to raking the traps and playing them correctly.

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Most courses did the noodle, a few did the inverted cup or pvc pipe. After a few weeks my course just put in shallow cups like on a putting green. The ball goes all the way in so there's no question.

If anything this has gotten me used to putting with the flag in.

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Chris and I would have given you the birdie, but Martha would make you putt it 🤣.

The ladies at our Club are really tough - no gimmes, ya gotta hole everything out. Thankfully I play in Men's League


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On 10/12/2020 at 5:52 PM, Rickp said:

All PVC were removed from holes today so that’s back to normal.


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Sweetens had no nonsense in their holes either. It was great to hear the drop of the ball

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The ladies at our Club are really tough - no gimmes, ya gotta hole everything out. Thankfully I play in Men's League


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No kidding, the women are definitely tougher on short putts than the men.


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The rakes are back in the Traps but they are optional. If you don’t feel comfortable using it you don’t have to.


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They are using this thing called the "pop it" which is a little spring loaded lift. Its nice they can use it to keep the courses open, but when I noticed some dents on the top line of my beloved putter, I just started carrying some Purell and reaching in. 

 

They were mowing the other day and pulled the stick out once I hit up and hearing the ball drop in the cup was amazing. 🤤

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I played a course in Florida that had the 2nd one, with the wire hook that you could lift up with your putter. Half of them were bent/stuck so you had to pick the ball up and then spent a lot of time with your hands on the thing getting it to reset. As a side note a bunch of courses by me have nothing special at all and no one seems to be complaining.

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