What Is the 'Pin' in Golf?

Flag in hole on golf course overlooking ocean.
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Another name for the flagstick, the term pin is used in golf to refer to the pole and oftentimes red flag that courses use to mark each hole on the course. The pins are removed when the golfer gets closer to the hole, or if the ball is flying directly for a hole-in-one from the tee grounds.

The term flagstick is used throughout the official PGA Tour rulebook to denote regulations regarding this marker, but the word pin is used colloquially by recreational golfers more often than in professional competitions.

Some golf courses color-code their flagsticks to denote the location of the hole in relation to the putting green — whether or not it is near the back, front, right, left or center.

Rule 13-2 of the Rules of Golf, written by the USGA and R&A, lays out rules relating to the pin and situations golfers may encounter on the course relating to the pin. One huge change to the rules in the 2019 edition of the rulebook is that it is no longer a penalty to hole out a stroke from the green to a cup that still has the flagstick in it. Now, a golfer can leave the pin in or take the pin out, as he or she prefers.

The Pin According to the Rules of Golf

This is the official definition of the flagstick from the Rules of Golf:

"A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show players where the hole is. The flagstick includes the flag and any other material or objects attached to the pole."