As you take a look at your intended line of putt, you may see some things on that line that could affect the way the ball rolls. If another player’s ball-marker is on your line you can ask them to “span their marker”, which means moving the marker a putter club-head to the right or left. Be sure to span it back to the original spot before replacing your ball and making your own putt.
The rules of golf provide a player with three options for the flagstick once you reach the green. Attend it, remove it, or leave it in. We’ve been leaving it in during the pandemic (and we’ve gotten pretty good at it) but once the safety guidelines relax a bit, we will have the option to also remove or attend it.
If most of the players would like the flagstick removed, the player whose ball is closest to the hole might be the one to remove the flagstick. You’ll do this carefully so as not to damage the grass around the hole, and you’ll place it down on the green in a location that is not in anyone’s line. If someone’s ball-in-motion does happen to be headed towards the flagstick on the ground, or anyone’s equipment, it is okay to quickly move those objects out of the way of the ball. If you don’t quite get there in time, and the ball accidentally hits those items on the green, no worries, there’s no penalty, and you’ll play the ball as it lies.
A good rule-of-thumb is for the first person who finishes the hole is to stand near the flagstick that is lying on the ground and be prepared to be the one to replace it in the hole when everyone has putted out.
Attending the flagstick may have gone out of style, but in case it comes back en vogue and you’ve been asked to attend it, keep your hand on it and be prepared to lift it out quickly when the ball is close to the hole.