The bumper-sized packages appearing at the door of Allan Robertson House, the R&A’s award-winning test centre on the outskirts of St Andrews, have nothing to do with Paul Sturgess, at 7 feet 7 the UK's tallest man and an 8-handicapper when he played in the 2017 British Masters at Close House. Rather they are down to a sudden spate of flagsticks, some of which come in parcels which, at 8 feet, are as long as Sturgess's specially made bed.
Professor Steve Otto, the R&A’s director of equipment standards and chief technology officer, says that in his first 20 years with the R&A, only two flagsticks were submitted to his department for testing. Yet since that new rule came into play at the start of 2019, the one allowing people to putt with the flagstick in, that number has soared to 39. In the United States, Janeen Driscoll, the USGA’s director of brand communications, reports that they are up to 20.
So where are they all coming from?
As far as Otto is concerned, they are coming from all around the world. “I think the...
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