Why Shafts Arent Under the Hot Lamp
One has to wonder, what with the violent force with which that shaft comes through the hitting area: Why all this hoopla about clubheads and face thickness? If the U.S. Golf Association is worried about extra distance without the application of greater golfer skill or conditioning, shouldnt it be looking at the shaft?
The shaft has already done its flexing when the clubhead reaches the ball, said Dick Rugge, technical director of the USGA. Its not as if the shafts transfer so much stored-up power to the ball that the ball becomes a rocket, he said.
And it appears hes right. If you look at the next stop-motion photo in the series, the shaft has deformed into a kind of reverse J when the clubhead is on the ball.
Thats not to say the USGA will always be comfortable with the way things are with shafts. But dont hold your breath for a change.
One of the reasons we do research here is to recommend new rules if necessary, Rugge says. We dont find it necessary very often.
The best reason to not worry about shafts is that theyre about as good as theyre going to get, according to Frank Thomas, Rugges predecessor at the USGA and now chief of Frankly Consulting of Chester, N.J. Thomas was involved in the development of graphite shafts in the late 1960s, when he worked at fishing rod maker Shakespeare.
Yes, graphite shafts can be made to change launch conditions. One may generate a higher ball than another, Thomas says. But the effects are general. The more flexible a shaft is, the more careful you have to be [to avoid losing control of the shot].
The same principle applies to long shafts, which have become popular as one way for shorter hitters to get more distance off the tee, Thomas maintains. Whatever strokes those players made up with distance, they often gave back in the form of balls hit out of play. Most pros have settled on 44 inches in drivers now, Thomas said.
The decreasing weight of graphite shafts ' from nearly 100 grams just five years ago to models as light as 45 grams now ' has undoubtedly helped increase clubhead speed, Thomas said. But its hard to know by how much. Even within the same model, graphite shafts can perform inconsistently.
But the USGA is sure that a ball hit on the sweet spot of a nonconforming driver will benefit from that drivers effect at impact of a spring, as Appendix II(5)(a) of the Rules of Golf puts it. As we know well by now, the USGA has developed a test limits how springy a club can be. Essentially, a ball fired at 100 miles per hour at a clubhead must rebound no faster than 83 mph if the head is to conform to the Rules of Golf.
There is no such rule for shafts. Appendix II(2) simply requires that a shaft be straight, that is be attached to the clubhead a certain way, that it twist the same amount in both directions, and that it bend the same manner and to the same extent all along its longitudinal axis. Doesnt matter how much it twists or bends.
No point enforcing laws that dont exist, right? But in Rugges view, theres more to it than that.
Graphite shafts can fit different peoples swings. The rules have nothing against fitting people with the right kinds of clubs, Rugge said. Thats not the same as a panacea for gaining more distance.
That distinction defines the clubhead battle, and at least for this generation, leaves shafts in the clear.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18