From The Inbox

In flagstick debate, a good putt will fall regardless

Readers argue both sides of issue, but time and optics favor a hands-off approach

Leaving the flagstick in the hole can be a double-edge sword (“Flagstick in or out? Hawk & Rude jostle for pole position,” Nov. 14).

I like it for cleaning up those 8-inch tap-ins and nobody having to hold the flag so everybody can be lining up their putts. It can be a pain if the one farthest away wants it out and then the next guy wants it in, etc. We have guys who want it in for 3-footers after a guy wanted it out for a 6-footer.

As for helping make putts, the only advantage I can imagine is the visual one. It draws your attention to the middle of the cup. Maybe occasionally that long putt or chip screaming across the green might hit the center of the flag and go in. I’ve had three or four putts that I’m pretty sure would have gone in, but the flag has deflected them out.

As I say frequently, a good putt is going in either way.

John T. Doyle
Lakeland, Fla.

Want to cut time from round? Don’t touch flagstick
Reader Bryan Orr says leaving the flagstick in the hole causes confusion and takes longer (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Nov. 17). He obviously is playing with people who have all day, so don't complain.

For every group of guys with whom I play – it changes each round – leaving the stick in has reduced our times by as much as 15 minutes. We still have a couple guys who want it out, but we either putt out first or just leave it out, and it still has speeded up our play times.

Here in the golf mecca of central Florida, that means more time to enjoy other things to do. But beauty always has been in the eyes of the stick (be)holder.

Garen Eggleston
The Villages, Fla.

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