RULE 17 - THE FLAGSTICK
All defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in the Definitions section – see pages 30-45.
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.
Note 1: If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick.
Note 2: If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player’s knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.
Note 3: If anyone attends or holds up the flagstick while a stroke is caused by the impact of a ball, whether or not the player’s ball lies on the putting green. If a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of the repair, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of repairing an old hole plug or damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball. Otherwise, Rule 18 applies.
Any other damage to the putting green must not be repaired if it might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole.
d. Testing Surface
During the stipulated round, a player must not test the surface of any putting green by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface.
Exception: Between the play of two holes, a player may test the surface of any practice putting green and the putting green of the hole last played, unless the Committee has prohibited such action (see Note 2 to Rule 7-2).
e. Standing Astride or on Line of Putt
The player must not make a stroke on the putting green from a stance astride, or with either foot touching, the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball.
Exception: There is no penalty if the stance is inadvertently taken on or astride the line of putt (or an extension of that line behind the ball) or is taken to avoid standing on another player’s line of putt or prospective line of putt.
f. Making Stroke While Another Ball in Motion
The player must not make a stroke while another ball is in motion after a stroke from the putting green, except that if a player does so,there is no penalty if it was his turn to play.
(Lifting ball assisting or interfering with play while another ball in motion – see Rule 22)
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 16-1:Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.
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.