High Ball Flight and Shafts

By Frank ThomasMay 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from GOLF CHANNEL's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one lucky golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Bob, with his question on clubhead sole width.
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My Daughter's Clubs
Aloha Frank,
Recently, my daughters golf instructor, and I got engaged in a discussion about getting new clubs for her. She is 14 yrs. old 5' 5', and weighs 110 lbs. She's been playing Callaway for almost 5 yrs. (as long as she's been golfing) and has a set of X16's. She shoots in the high seventies, to low eighties.
With his help she's been getting progressively better, and we both feel she is in need of new clubs, as she now uses a men's driver with great results. He recommended forged, in a men's regular flex, due to her getting stronger. But I questioned forged clubs due to tradition of the pro's, 'Hot spots' in cast clubs, less workable Vs the technology in the new club head designs I.e. 360 weight distribution, wide sole, and deep under cut.
Ultimately it's up to her as to the clubs she wants to play with, but I thought I'd ask you if forged clubs are really that good? (I assume there will be a learning curve playing with blades).
I really enjoy reading your writing, and plan on getting your book.

Thank you for your kind comments and I know you will enjoy the book when you get it.
Forged irons are very good clubs for skilled golfers. However it is probably not a good idea for your daughter to make this move from her X-16s as the transition would be fairly dramatic and may be disappointing as she has become used to a forgiving club and seems to be doing very well with it.
Unless she has outgrown her existing set I would be hesitant to make a change at this time, certainly not towards a forged (normally associated with blades or minimal cavity back). In a couple of years when she gets even better and feels her clubs are holding her back, my advice would be to move in the direction of blades, but she may never get all the way there.
If she hasnt outgrown the set then sit tight and continue to get lessons and work hard. She has time ahead of her and it sounds like she has a bright future in the game, which requires a lot of commitment and hard work.
Butt Weighting
Im sixty two years old and a fairly straight hitter of the golf ball averaging 250 yards on a good fairway. I carry a two handicap and Im always looking for an edge in accuracy but not necessarily distance (but if it happens its a bonus). I concentrate on hitting the fairways and greens first as I currently play a TaylorMade R7 with neutral weighting and a splined shaft. My irons are all Srixon S300 SL with shaft dampening inserts. My question concerns end shaft weighting. Does it really help and worth the cost or is it a bad investment for the effort. I really enjoy your column and thanks for the venue in which to gain solid information.
Ray, TN

I am not an advocate of butt weighting clubs but there is no reason why you shouldnt experiment (even though it may not conform) before making an investment by adding lead tape around the butt end of the grip or if this is uncomfortable to the lower section of the grip. This will give you an idea as to how it will work for you.
The theory behind butt weighting is that it decreases the swing weight, increases the overall weight and slightly changes the balance point of the club. However for your information wearing a wristwatch versus not wearing a wristwatch will do the same thing.
Hope this helps
High Ball Flight and Shafts
Dear Frank,
I recently was measured for and purchased a set of Callaway X20 tour irons.
I was told that Callaway (UK) could not build the clubs with my favorite S300 shaft but instead with the 'Project X' shaft. My local professional told me that the 5.5 shaft model was a direct replacement for the S300. Since taking possession of the clubs I have found that my ball flight in much higher and often to the left, making me suspect that these '5.5' shafts are too soft for me.
I am a 5 handicap with a 6-iron swing speed of 78 mph., which was measured by the pro doing the fitting. Given the above information, would you agree that the 5.5 are too soft and I should have a 6.0 fitted?
Thank you in advance.
Kind regards,
Brian, Scotland


It is a little difficult to diagnose your problem from 3000 miles away but next time I am in Scotlandwhich I do frequentlywe may be able to go to a local course and resolve your problem.
The above aside, it may not be the shaft but rather the club head that is increasing the trajectory by presenting more loft to the ball at the time of impact because of the lower Center of Gravity of the club head. I would also suggest checking the lie angle that could be a little too upright for your particular swing.
I would also like to suggest that you make some measurements on your old set versus your new set to make sure that the length is the same, the overall weight is the same and the frequency is the same. The frequency would indicate whether or not the recommended shaft is an appropriate substitute for the S 300.
Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Frank Thomas

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.