Putting With The Flag In….or Not!

Of course one of the new rule changes is being able to putt with the pin in. Bryson DeChambeau ‘scientifically prove’ that there is a benefit and as such was the first pro to consistently leave the pin while on the green. I decided to test this new approach early in my season and have concluded that it may not be for everyone; especially me; sort of; well, kind of actually!

At first the controversy of the pin in or out while putting is a red herring to me. It was a bunch of ‘white noise’ and much to do about nothing. Being skeptical and wanting to gain the most benefit from this new rule, I decided to test it and I think most amateurs will be interested in my results.

Here is what I found:

  • It made no difference in my ability to line up or sink a putt from over 30 feet. I have made a couple from that distance and the pin both helped and prevent the ball from dropping.
  • Between 30 and 15 feet, I found that the pin in did help a little with alignment, however depending on other factors, it was a distraction.
  • Inside 15 feet, I actually felt crowded by the pin and that the ball did not have enough room to drop unless I hit the perfect putt.
  • The pin was not always straight in the hole. I have tried to reset the pin about 25% of the time because it was leaning in one direction or another. I was able to right the pin most of the time, but a few times the flag was not straight.
  • I found the flag very distracting within 15 feet when the wind was blowing. The pin would rock back and forth and I did not like that at all. However, from outside 30 feet, this did not seem to bother me.
  • The shadow of the pin and flag was a distraction within 15 feet. There was only one instance where the shadow was perfectly aligned with my putt and that helped, but other than that the pin and flag shadow was not helpful.
  • Lastly, I found myself focused on the pin more than my line within 15 feet. Not sure why, but it attracted my attention and definitely did not like that because missing my line, means missing the putt.

Putting with the pin in is a definitely a personal thing. I know some of my friends really like it for all their putts, however I am not convinced. I understand that I might be mentally fighting this issue because of my ingrained habit of putting with the pin out all my golfing life, but I am not sure I want to change because I do not see the overall benefit. Of course, there are some scenarios, like uphill / downhill putts, where leaving the pin in might help and in those instances I will let the situation dictate a deviation from my approach.

Therefore, I have decided that putts outside 30 feet, I will leave the pin in. Inside 30 feet, I will remove the pin except for tap ins. I feel this is the best approach to my putting game and will garner the greatest benefit from the new rule change.

What is your pin in or out approach to putting?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.

10 thoughts on “Putting With The Flag In….or Not!

  1. I make more putts with flagstick in – from any distance. The flagstick is a more specific target as opposed to the hole. At least it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim,

    I totally agree with you. On long putts I will tend to leave it in….because why not? However on short putts for some reason it bothers me and therefore i will take it out. A personal preference but on short putts the flag just bothers me, I am aiming for the hole, not the flag. On longer putts, hey if I hit the flag i hit the flag, if anything I use it as a target.



  3. Jim, I’ve been experimenting the whole season with the flagstick and my findings are similar to yours. On the long putts, I’ll leave it in, as I do for all downhillers. Was definitely finding it distracting on the shorties, especially when the flag was flapping or the stick moving in the wind. I did notice that when the whole group agreed to leave it in on all putts, we moved much quicker on the greens. Definitely a work in progress!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well – for me pin in seems to help: I “see” then pin as a vertical indicator, that tells me the distance to the hole – like a wall.
    I then do NOT see the pin when it comes to reading the line – it does not distract me, or has not so far.
    I have not yet thought about the shadow, but will not.
    No – the cup does not seem crowded to me, but then again – SHOULD the pin look like it is no centered in the cup, I might be inclined to remove it.
    Mostly it has been a matter of the group agreeing on the first green, to have it in or out, and actually so far we have left it in.

    But time will show – thanks for your input and your “articles” so far, I am grateful for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unless the wind is blowing towards me hard enough to limit the space left for the ball to drop, the pin stays in. Aim small, miss small. Having the pin in means I can comfortably putt for four feet past the hole vs 18 inches taking out some or all of the break and still expect it to drop if I hit my line. Also, I’ve been doing it for years when playing alone so I have no mental problems left to get over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Years ago I played with the pin in while a single during early birds. But now, I do not see the draw nor the advantage. So, I will removed it for the short putts. That is why golf is great, there is no right answer except the one that fits our personal game.

      Cheers Jim


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