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.
To reserve your own copy of 'Just Hit It', please Click Here We are now shipping!
Please note: By submitting your question to Frank you will automatically become a Frankly Friend so you can stay up to date with his golf equipment Q&A. You may unsubscribe at any time.
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
Getty Images

Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

Getty Images

Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm