As we are all aware of by now, the USGA and R&A have changed the rule where you can now putt on the putting green and leave the flagstick in at all times. My guess behind their reason for this is that it would be speed up play; but it’s been my experience that I don’t think it has. Simple reason being is I’ve been in foursomes where half of the players wanted the flagstick in and the other half out. The extra time it takes to keep putting the flagstick in and out is one, annoying and two, hasn’t sped up the time on the greens. Now if everyone agreed to keep the flagstick in it could speed up the time, but when players have the option to have it in or out it won’t.
Now, the one advantage to putting with the flagstick in is when you four faced with a long lag putt. I believe it will help the player judge the distance better, plus your caddie or playing partner doesn’t have to worry about standing in another players line. In regards to short putts, I believe the jury is still out on that. On a short uphill breaking putt I believe if you just try to hit the flagstick, the ball will hold its line better and not break out of the hole. Not so much on a downhill cause if you miss, your next putt will probably be longer.
Bottom line, find out what works best for you.