Putting with the flagstick in could be a mistake, new Golf Digest study from Cal Poly professor shows

The question over whether you should putt with the flagstick in has sparked plenty of debate. The one thing missing until now has been any real science.

Partnering with California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo professor Tom Mase, a Ph.D in mechanical engineering and a member of the Golf Digest Hot List Technical Advisory Panel, we sought to find out if it is in fact true that putting with the flagstick in is always better than not. While Mase’s research is preliminary, the takeaway is pretty clear: The benefits of the flagstick are at best inconclusive and may in fact prevent off-center putts from going in more often than they would if the flagstick were removed.

In other words, hold on to your DeChambeau.

(Bryson DeChambeau, you’ll recall, seemed fairly unequivocal in his assessment of golf’s new rule that allows players to leave the flagstick in while putting. He said in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions: “After the testing we’ve seen, and what we just did out there now, absolutely, I’m going to leave it in. I’m going to do it until I can see that it messes me up. For the most part, we’ve seen it to be a benefit and not a detriment. That’s from anywhere.”)

Mase’s study, conducted at Cal Poly’s golf practice center at Dairy Creek Golf Course with help from men’s coach Scott Cartwright and women’s coach Sofie Aagaard, used a putting device called the Perfect Putter to roll putts at a speed slightly faster than minimum holing speed. (The theory being that holing speed, approximately two-and-a-half feet past the hole, is not affected by the stick being left in the hole.) The Cal Poly study examined straight and breaking putts that crossed the hole at the upper third, the middle of the hole and the lower third.

Mase released a video of the test conducted last week.

The results showed that with a breaking putt entering the hole from the low side, keeping the flagstick in prevents some putts from being holed. With the flagstick out, those putts are holed every time.

The study also showed that the coefficient of restitution for the flagstick is relatively low, and that direct impacts with the stick, regardless of the type, tend to stop the ball fairly quickly, helping it to finish in the hole every time at a speed that sends the ball five to seven feet past the hole. Further tests of the different flagsticks showed that fiberglass sticks—those most commonly used on the PGA Tour—were the most forgiving, but while multi-diameter and tapered aluminum pins rejected putts that otherwise would have been made, even the fiberglass pin caused more putts to have been missed than were made with the flagstick out.

Off-center flagstick strikes on the low side of the hole tended to shoot the ball off farther away, hence the problem with balls rolling toward the hole on the low side.

Still, for putts entering on the high side, leaving the flagstick in wasn’t such a sure thing, either. While nine out of nine putts were made with the flagstick out, each of the three types of flagsticks yielded less than perfect results for high-side entry putts. For the multi-diameter aluminum stick, there were only seven makes. Same for the common fiberglass flagstick. But for the tapered aluminum stick, it got worse: only two of the nine putts were holed. That’s a difference of 78 percent between flagstick out and flagstick in.

In an earlier test from a longer distance, Mase found that straight-in putts were made 100 percent of the time with both the flagstick out and the flagstick in. On low side entry, putts were holed 80 percent of the time with the flagstick out, but only 56 percent of the time with the flagstick in.

Mase, who will continue to run further tests on the flagstick-in/out question at Cal Poly’s golf practice center, found the testing results surprising, given the current attitudes some tour players have expressed.

“While the sample is very small on this data, I believe it represents well what is happening here,” he said. “Low-side putts will definitely be hurt by having the pin in. Putts entering the center will be made with or without the pin. High side entering putts is a little bit of a pin type dependent problem. However, high-side hole entry without the pin performs best.

“The results are intriguing and perplexing. At first, I bought into the pin helping always. But it is too easy to set up a low-side entering putt that is made 100 percent without the pin and not close to 100 percent with any of the three pins tested.”

Your move, Bryson.

Source: Golf Digest

We’re ready for Spring! Book your outing or event for the 2019 Golf Season!

GREAT ATMOSPHERE. OUTSTANDING SERVICE.

GOLF OUTINGS. FUNDRAISERS. SPECIAL EVENTS.

Glenkerry Golf Course can make your outing, meeting or event a special one! We can customize a package to suit your needs that includes 9 or 18-holes of golf with options for snacks and meals, and more! When it comes to golf, our experienced professionals know just what it takes to conduct a smooth event.

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Due to weather, the Fall Big Hole has been moved to…

Due to weather, the Fall Big Hole has been moved to Sunday, October 28th! Registration is now at 10 AM and tee off at 11 AM.

 

2018 GLENKERRY CUP FALL BIG HOLE

Moved to Sunday, October 28, 2018

10 AM Check-In & Warm up  |  11 AM Shotgun

$55 Entry   |  $30 for Members

The event is a 4 person scramble and includes six prize holes, chili bar, and skins $20 per team (optional). Please fill out the request form below or sign up in the pro shop.

Questions? Register? Call 616-225-4653 or register online!

Glenkerry Cup
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Glenkerry Cup Final Event: Fall Big Hole!

2018 GLENKERRY CUP FALL BIG HOLE

Saturday, October 20, 2018

9 AM Check-In & Warm up  |  10 AM Shotgun

$55 Entry   |  $30 for Members

The event is a 4 person scramble and includes six prize holes, chili bar, and skins $20 per team (optional). Please fill out the request form below or sign up in the pro shop.

Questions? Register? Call 616-225-4653 or register online!

Glenkerry Cup Par 3 Challenge this weekend!

2018 GLENKERRY CUP PAR 3 CHALLENGE

Saturday, September 22, 2018

10:00 AM Check-In & Warm up  |  11 AM Tee Off

$55 Entry   |  $30 for Members

Medal Play

The event includes special event holes, prize money for 1st place plus draw(s), hot dog at the turn, and skins games (optional).

Questions?  Call 616-225-4653.

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GLOW BALL FINALE! Join us this Saturday!

GLOW BALL AT GLENKERRY

Saturday, September 8

5:00 PM Registration | 6:00 PM Start

$55 Per Person | $35 for Members

4 Person Scramble

Our Glow Ball is an 18 hole event. You’ll play 9 holes in the evening and 9 holes after dark. The evening includes premium glow ball, special event holes, prizes for the winning team (and some special additional prizes!), heavy appetizers, optional skins games, and more!

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Fall Match Play Championship

FALL MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP

Don’t miss this great event and win cash! We have a men’s and women’s division, and the flights will be divided by ability.

18 Hole Stroke Play to determine flight will be on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM.

The weekly 18 hole matches begin on Monday, September 17, 2018.

$30 for Members  |  $75 for Guests

(includes all Greens Fees! 36 Holes Guaranteed!)

CASH PRIZES

Flight Champions $250 cash

Second Place $150 cash

(based on full flight of 16 players)

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Sizzling Summer Specials At Glenkerry!

There’s something for everyone and every age at Glenkerry. Join us for these Summer Specials while they last! See you on the course!

Weekend Midday Special

Saturday and Sunday between 1 – 3 PM, $100 per foursome for 18 Holes with Cart. Regularly $156!

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Senior Special

$26 for 18 Holes with cart, lunch, and a beer! Monday-Friday before 2 PM. Seniors are 60 years and up!

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Kids play FREE*

Monday-Friday anytime, Saturday and Sunday after 2 PM! *One child plays FREE with one paid adult.

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Fantastic Fridays

Fridays after 5 Pm, 9 Holes with cart for $15!

 

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Our Last Summer Glow Ball Event!

GLOW BALL AT GLENKERRY

Friday, August 17

5:30 PM Registration | 6:30 PM Start

$55 Per Person | $35 for Members

4 Person Scramble

Our Glow Ball is an 18 hole event. You’ll play 9 holes in the evening and 9 holes after dark. The evening includes premium glow ball, special event holes, prizes for the winning team (and some special additional prizes!), heavy appetizers, optional skins games, and more!

It’s not too early to sign up for the Par 3 Challenge!

2018 GLENKERRY CUP PAR 3 CHALLENGE

Saturday, September 22, 2018

10:00 AM Check-In & Warm up  |  11 AM Tee Off

$55 Entry   |  $30 for Members

Medal Play

The event includes special event holes, prize money for 1st place plus draw(s), hot dog at the turn, and skins games (optional).

Questions?  Call 616-225-4653.