Control of surface organelle number and placement is a crucial aspect of the cell biology of many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, yet mechanistic insights into how bacteria spatially and numerically organize organelles are lacking. Many surface structures and internal complexes are spatially restricted in the bacterial cell (e.g. type IV pili, holdfasts, chemoreceptors), but perhaps none show so many distinct patterns in terms of number and localization as the flagellum. In this review, we discuss two proteins, FlhF and FlhG (also annotated FleN/YlxH), which control aspects of flagellar assembly, placement and number in polar flagellates, and may influence flagellation in some bacteria that produce peritrichous flagella. Experimental data obtained in a number of bacterial species suggest that these proteins may have acquired distinct attributes influencing flagellar assembly that reflect the diversity of flagellation patterns seen in different polar flagellates. Recent findings also suggest FlhF and FlhG are involved in other processes, such as influencing the rotation of flagella and proper cell division. Continued examination of these proteins in polar flagellates is expected to reveal how different bacteria have adapted FlhF or FlhG with specific activities to tailor flagellar biosynthesis and motility to fit the needs of each species.