Rule 17. The Flagstick
17-1. Flagstick Attended, Removed or Held Up
Before and during the stroke, the player may have the flagstick attended,
removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole. This may
be done only on the authority of the player before he plays his stroke.
If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held
up by anyone with the player's knowledge and no objection is made,
the player shall be deemed to have authorized it. If anyone attends
or holds up the flagstick or stands near the hole while a stroke is
being played, he shall be deemed to be attending the flagstick until
the ball comes to rest.
17-2. Unauthorized Attendance
a. Match Play - In match play, an opponent or his caddie shall not,
without the authority or prior knowledge of the player, attend, remove
or hold up the flagstick while the player is making a stroke or his
ball is in motion.
b. Stroke Play - In stroke play, if a fellow-competitor or his caddie
attends, removes or holds up the flagstick without the competitor's
authority or prior knowledge while the competitor is making a stroke
or his ball is in motion, the fellow-competitor
shall incur the penalty for breach of this Rule. In such circumstances,
if the competitor's ball strikes the flagstick, the person attending
it or anything carried by him, the competitor incurs no penalty and
the ball shall be played as it lies, except that, if the stroke was
played from the putting green, the stroke shall be cancelled, the
ball replaced and the stroke replayed.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 17-1 or
Match play-Loss of hole; Stroke play-Two
17-3. Ball Striking Flagstick or Attendant
The player's ball shall not strike:
a. The flagstick when attended, removed or held up by the player,
his partner or either of their caddies, or by another person with
the player's authority or prior knowledge; or
b. The player's caddie, his partner or his partner's caddie when
attending the flagstick, or another person attending the flagstick
with the player's authority or prior knowledge or anything carried
by any such person; or
c. The flagstick in the hole, unattended, when the ball has been
played from the putting green.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 17-3:
Match play-Loss of hole; Stroke play-
Two strokes and the ball shall be played as it lies.
17-4. Ball Resting Against Flagstick If the ball rests against the
flagstick when it is in the hole, the player or another person authorized
by him may move or remove the flagstick and if the ball falls into
the hole, the player shall be deemed to have holed out with his last
stroke; otherwise, the ball, if moved, shall be placed on the lip
of the hole, without penalty.