Virtually Certain Missy - Golf Blog - Golf Rules - USGA
Virtually Certain Missy
USGA Rules Blog




I love to play golf, but, when watching a PGA tournament on TV, find it maddening when a golfer chips the ball into the cup from off the putting surface, but reaches into the cup to retrieve his ball without pulling the flag. I know there is some silly rule that the ball has to be below the level of the putting surface to be considered holed out. By pulling the flag, is there some outside chance that the ball would be yanked out of the hole before settling in the bottom of the cup? Is a player penalized if he pulled the flag in this scenario to retrieve his ball?

In my opinion, this is a bizarre rule…but, that’s just me.

Larry Redman
Durango, CO

Hi Larry. There is no rule that keeps a player from pulling the flagstick after the ball is holed even if ball comes out with it. You may be thinking of when a ball is RESTING against the flagstick. Rule 17-4 says if you move flagstick and it falls in then it is holed. If it moves and stays out then ball replaced on lip. Players have nothing stopping them from removing flagstick to retrieve their ball that is already below the level of the cup. Thanks for the question.


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