Ask the Rules Guy: Can you hold the flagstick while you putt?

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Ask the Rules Guy
Jason Raish

A REAL STICKLER
Hi, Rules Guy: Is there a penalty for holding the flagstick in one hand while putting the ball into the hole with the other?
— Scott Wentworth, via e-mail

Scott, you must think you're talking to the Rules Gal, because that's just an old wives' tale! But don't feel bad—it's a common mistake. So common, in fact, that Decision 17-1/5 covers it. As long as the flagstick is removed from the hole, you aren't leaning on it, and the ball doesn't hit it, you're in the clear.