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

Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

“Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

Parity reigned.

Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

Rolex Player of the Year
Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

Vare Trophy
Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

CME Globe $1 million prize
Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

LPGA money-winning title
Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking
The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

Rolex Rookie of the Year
Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

“Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

How did she evaluate her season?

“I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

“It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

“Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

“I think everybody has little ups and downs.”