How Tall Is the Flagstick in Golf? Is There a Required Height?

Phil Mickelson removing a flagstick at Augusta National during The Masters
Phil Mickelson reaches to remove a flagstick from the hole on a green at Augusta National Golf Club. How tall should flagsticks be? They vary, but at least seven feet is the recommendation. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The governing bodies of golf issue no mandates on the specific height of the flagstick; however, the USGA has recommended a flagstick height of at least seven feet.

The definition of flagstick in the Rules of Golf makes no mention of height at all, only requiring that the flagstick be straight, centered in the hole, circular in cross-section (round, in other words) and free of any material that might influence the ball.

So the USGA recommendation of "at least seven feet" is just a recommendation. But while most flagsticks are manufactured around that height, golfers may encounter pins of differing heights.

Why a Shorter Flagstick Might Be Used ...

Flagsticks shorter than the recommended seven feet are most likely to be found at golf courses in very windy locations. With the wind whipping the flag around and bending the stick, going shorter in such a circumstance can help keep the flagstick more upright.

Golf courses in windy locations might prefer, however, to keep the height the same but use flagsticks that are thicker and firmer, so as to bend less in the wind. (Speaking of thickness: The flagstick should be "skinny" enough to allow the ball to drop into the hole, assuming the flagstick is centered in the hole and standing straight.)

Why a Taller Flagstick Might Be Used ...

Taller flagsticks are more common than shorter flagsticks, in part because the recommended height is "at least seven feet," giving manufacturers and clubs leeway to go higher for any reason.

The most common reason, though, to go taller is to help make the flag more easily visible on a golf course that has lots of undulation, lots of variations in elevations between fairways and greens.

Of course, given that the USGA recommendation for flagstick height is just that - a recommendation - golf courses can use any height of flagstick they want.

Variations might be for reasons as simple as the personal preference of a course superintendent or club management.

Does the Height of the Flagstick Tell You Anything About Hole Location?

No, the height of the flagstick typically does not convey any information about the position of the hole on the green (front, center or back). But other indicators on the flagstick might. It's usually done in one of three ways:

  • The color of the flag on the flagstick might indicate whether the hole is cut in the front portion of the green or the back (obviously, a different color used for each position).
  • A second, smaller flag might also be attached to the flagstick, and that smaller flag's position adjusted to indicate hole location. Higher on the stick means the hole is in the back portion of the green, lower means the front.
  • Or some other type of indicator (usually a colored ring or disc) is attached to the flagstick, and its position indicates hole location (high/back, low/front).

If any of these indicators is in use by a golf course, it should be noted and explained on the scorecard.

For related articles about the flagstick, see:

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