Instead of wicker baskets, what else can be put on a flagstick?
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Instead of wicker baskets, what else can be put on a flagstick?

The wicker baskets have been atop the flagsticks at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia for almost a century, dating back to 1915.

But unless you're Yogi Bear, the wicker baskets aren't all that practical. They look good, but they don't help a player have more fun out on the course. In fact, they stop a player from being able to quickly gauge the wind.

So, we here at Golf News Net thought it might be fun to suggest some replacements for the wicker baskets that might make the game more enjoyable.

A cooler


Frankly, we're shocked someone hasn't come up with this one already. A basket isn't a bad idea if stuff could actually be stashed in it, namely beer. So why not step up to a modern, compact cooler large enough to hold a six-pack? No more waiting for the beverage cart to come by, or any need to stop after nine holes to grab some beer. Just have the pro shop stock some strategically around the course and add it to your tab as you get parched out there.

A torch


This one is purely for the cool factor. Imagine walking up the 18th hole of your club championship and a flaming beacon welcoming you to victory. It's the closest thing to pyrotechnics golf could safely implement without hurting a lot of people.

And it would be great for helping people find flagsticks around unfamiliar courses.

"Hey, where's the flagstick?"

"See that hovering fire to the right? That's it."

A shot clock


Just this week, the USGA unveiled its new slow-play initiative called "While We're Young." They feature a bunch of funny vignettes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam, but there's not a whole lot in the way of practical enforcement of pace-of-play.

And that's where the flagstick comes in to help. Obviously, the shot clock would have to be controlled remotely and reset after each player hits, but it might scare the bejesus out of slower players to always be looking up at a shot clock ticking down to zero before they hit their shot. Speed it up!

An oscillating fan with a mister

How about a reward for getting close to the flag? Nothing is more refreshing on an oppressively hot day on the links quite like a fan with a little mist coming your way. The closer you stick your shot to the hole, the sooner you're get the misty goodness emanating from atop the flagstick.

A flat-screen TV

Whether your round is going well or poorly, any time of year, there's almost always something important happening in sports while you're playing golf. Sure, smart phones help you keep tabs on what's going on, but there's nothing quite like being able to see it live as it unfolds.

So with TVs getting thinner and thinner -- in fact, flexible-screen technology is not far off -- why not broadcast live sports atop the flags?

We're not sure if this will speed up play (so people will get to catch up on the next hole) or slow it down (since they'll be staring at the screen instead of putting).

A surveillance camera

There's nothing worse in golf than a sandbagging, lying son of a gun. But how do you catch the guy that rakes putts, gives himself too many freebies and is being a little less than truthful out there? Modern surveillance.

It works for the NSA, supposedly, so why not track players with cameras atop the flagsticks? The technology is so good, it'll be able to detect you tamping down grass behind that crappy lie of yours (we saw that, Kenny Perry).

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.


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