The game gets its name from the fact that little flags are usually given to competitors to stick in the ground at the point from which their final shot is played.
The golfer who stakes his flag the farthest around the course is the winner. Example: Your allotment is 75 strokes. You play the course until you hit your 75th shot, which, let's say, comes on the 16th fairway. That's where you plant your flag. If no other player's flag is planted beyond yours - say, on the 16th green or 17th tee box - you are the winner.
Flags can be played using full handicaps or partial handicaps to determine the stroke allotment. A player with a handicap of 21, for example, receives 93 strokes on a par-72 course if full handicaps are used (72 plus 21).
Using full handicaps often means that several golfers will reach the end of 18 holes with strokes left; those golfers would go back to No. 1 and keep playing. Alternately, all players with strokes remaining can stop after 18 and the golfer with the most strokes remaining is the winner.
Using partial handicaps, especially two-thirds, usually means that nearly all players will use up their strokes before completing 18 holes.
If players are tied - a number of players make it to the 17th green or 18th fairway, for example - closest to the hole wins.