Lets be Frank

By Frank ThomasOctober 28, 2008, 4:00 pm

Spreading the Weight Around

Good Afternoon Frank,
First I want to thank you for your weekly Q&A. I really look forward to seeing the new Q&A posted email in my in-box every week. My question is about drivers and I guess woods in general.
I have been playing golf now for about 4 years and I am really into the game. I have been playing about 3 or 4 times a week this summer and think it might be time to upgrade my driver (and woods) from my discount brand hand-me-downs since I have an occasional slice off the tee... Well maybe a little more than occasional.
I have read about the draw biased clubs from TaylorMade and also moveable weight systems from other brands, but don't really think they will help improve my game. Wouldn't I be better off trying to improve my swing;
Are the moveable weights and draw biasing just gimmicks to get people to buy more equipment? It almost feels to me that using a club like that would be cheating, maybe not cheating at golf but cheating yourself out of actually improving your game?
Thank you,

Joe, The Golfer
Thank you for your kind comments and I am pleased you are enjoying the weekly Q&As.
I will try to get to all your questions with one answer to avoid spreading it around.
Playing as frequently as you do, I hope you read the small print when taking up this game four years ago; WARNING: this can be very addictive and difficult to give up.
Yes, it is time to get a new driver. The other woods ' if they are behaving themselves, work well and are in good shape ' may keep their place in your bag, otherwise think about some new fairway woods, such as a 3-wood and maybe a 5- wood.
As far as your driver is concerned, YES, you would be very much better off working on your swing rather than trying to get a draw bias driver to solve a swing flaw. In addition, YES, you will be cheating yourself by getting a band-aid to solve your problem which will require the purchase of a new driver if you ever corrected your swing and no longer needed the band-aid.
A good swing correction is always the best solution. This will not only improve your outlook, confidence and enjoyment but improve your distance and accuracy.
The draw biased drivers are designed to satisfy golfers who are looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately, the quick fix may not be as effective as advertized.
Those golfers who can benefit from the slight shift in the center of gravity (c.g.) to the heel of the club ' a draw bias club ' are the very good golfers who fade (not slice) the ball. They want to take advantage of the gear effect by hitting the ball away from the c.g. toward the toe. Most of us have experienced this effect when missing the sweet spot toward the toe and the result is a slight draw.
The draw bias driver has the c.g. shifted to the heel and you will benefit from this slight adjustment, and thus the gear effect if you hit the ball on the sweet spot more frequently than most of us do.
Joe, get a lesson or two and get a standard neutral driver and last years model will do as the technology has not changed rapidly and you will save a dollar or two for your lessons.

Difficulty of a 3-iron

Why is it so difficult to hit a 3-iron?

Your question is to the point; doesnt take up much space; very short and not as difficult to answer as it is to hit a 3-iron. Try a 2-iron or even a 1-iron if you are really looking for a challenge. This is if you can find a 1-iron!
The 1-iron lost its place in the bag about 35 years ago, soon after manufacturers started decreasing the unwritten standard lofts for irons. They did this surreptitiously in an effort to demonstrate how their irons hit the ball farther than the competitors clubs. This trend created a 2-iron with the same loft as a 1-iron of old and the 3-iron is now equivalent to the old 2-iron and closing in on a 1-iron. Clubs are now about 4 to 5 degrees stronger than the same numbered clubs of the 1960s.
There are no loft standards for clubs as these are now somewhat dependent on the club head design. You will find that the trend of decreasing the loft is reversing a little because of the mass distribution in the club head of the more forgiving heads. These have a backward and low positioned c.g. (center of gravity) which is getting the ball up into the air more easily and as a result, the lofts are less than expected to compensate for the higher trajectory.
Your 3-iron, which you find so hard to hit is probably one of the older blade like designs without the forgiveness now afforded the newer bulky but forgiving cavity back designs. This bulkiness means that the Moment of Inertia (MOI, which is the forgiveness factor) is greater but not as forgiving as an equivalent lofted fairway wood or hybrid. This makes the 3-iron more difficult to hit If, however, you hit your 3-iron flush i.e. right on the sweet spot, it is as sweet as any shot can be.
My suggestion ' because we are not that good ' is to leave your 3-iron and even your 4-iron in the box they were shipped in, even if these are of the latest design and use the space in your bag for a three and four hybrid.
Hybrids will certainly do a very good job, which you expected your 3- or 4-irons to do.
Iron technology has not changed significantly in the last 10 years or so but it certainly has changed since Jack Nicklaus was at his peak in the early 1960s but he was able to hit a 2-iron very well. Ping introduced forgiving irons ' cavity back clubs ' in the late 1960s and this concept is now used in almost every iron club on the market designed for most of us who are not on the tour or aspiring to get there. But even these long irons are more difficult to hit than hybrids.

Playing with a Practice Club-Clarification

To: Gerald and Terry, (aka Rules Police )
Ref: Q&A to Ron on Playing with a Practice Club (click here to view last week's Q and A).
Both of you caught an error in my answer to Ron. (I do this every now and again to see if you guys are really paying attention:)
Seriously I thank you for your input and for keeping such a close eye on me. I thought my answer to Ron last week i.e.' You may declare a club out of play by saying so to your fellow players and it is suggested that you remove it from the bag or store it upside down so it is obviously not intended to be used after your declaration ' implied during a round once the discovery had been made.
My excuse ' if I need one ' is that in trying to address every situation re. practice clubs/devices; warm up clubs; and extra clubs, which conform or those which dont, I lost sight of a critical part of the question. This was; did Ron need to go back to the car to dump the non-conforming or extra club before he started the round if he didnt want to incur a penalty?
Ron, unfortunately you cannot KNOWINGLY START a round with an extra club or a nonconforming club without incurring a penalty just by declaring it out of play. The rest of the answer seems to be in good shape but if not, I know I will again hear from the Rules Police Gerald and Terry. Only kidding guys ' I thank you for this input.
Sorry Ron if my answer mislead you, you will have to go back to the car if you dont want to incur a penalty.
To Gerald and Terry, I am going to send you a signed copy of my book as a prize for catching the error.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It.' Last week's lucky winner was Roosevelt, with his question about his hole in one.
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Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to helping golfers. Frank is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. 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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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.