- Penalties for violating Rules 17-1 and 17-2: Match play – loss of hole. Stroke play – two strokes.
- Penalties for violating Rule 17-3: Match play – loss of hole. Stroke play – two strokes, and the ball must be played as it lies (i.e., no re-playing the stroke).
- Exception: If a player’s competitor or competitor’s caddie is tending the flag and refuses to remove it in attempt to cause a penalty, the competitor (not the player) incurs the penalty and may be disqualified.
17-1. From anywhere on the course, the player is allowed to have someone tend, remove or hold up the flagstick so that he can see the hole’s position.
This must be done before the player hits his shot. (If the flag is being tended, the person tending it can pull the flagstick while the ball is moving.) Anyone standing close enough to touch the flagstick while a shot is being played is considered to be tending the flag.
17-2. Unless the player consents, neither his competitor nor his competitor’s caddie is allowed to tend, remove or hold up the flagstick if it might influence the ball’s movement.
17-3. A player is penalized if his ball hits a flagstick being tended, removed or held up, or hits the person tending it. A penalty is also incurred if a putt from the green strikes an unattended flagstick or a flagstick lying on the green. (There’s no penalty for striking an unattended flagstick from off the green.)
17-4. If the ball stops against a flagstick that’s in the hole, then falls into the cup when the flag is removed, the player is considered to have holed out with the previous shot. If the ball doesn’t fall in, it is placed on the lip without penalty.
17-1. Flagstick Attended, Removed Or Held Up
Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.
If the flagstick is not attended, removed or held up before the player makes a stroke, it must not be attended, removed or held up during the stroke or while the player’s ball is in motion if doing so might influence the movement of the ball.
(Moving attended, removed or held-up flagstick while ball in motion – see Rule 24-1)
17-2. Unauthorized Attendance
If an opponent or his caddie in match play or a fellow-competitor or his caddie in stroke play, without the player’s authority or prior knowledge, attends, removes or holds up the flagstick during the stroke or while the ball is in motion, and the act might influence the movement of the ball, the opponent or fellow-competitor incurs the applicable penalty.
17-3. Ball Striking Flagstick Or Attendant
17-4. Ball Resting Against Flagstick
When a player’s ball rests against the flagstick in the hole and the ball is not holed, the player or another person authorized by him may move or remove the flagstick, and if the ball falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke; otherwise, the ball, if moved, must be placed on the lip of the hole, without penalty.