Lets be Frank

By Frank ThomasAugust 28, 2008, 4:00 pm

Have Your Say on Groove
 
The USGA adopted new groove specifications on August 5, 2008, which will affect most of us if we continue to use our existing clubs in 2024 and affect our new purchases of clubs manufactured after January 1, 2010.
 
In essence, the change is to reduce the volume of the grooves by approximately 40 %, which will reduce the spin rate out of the rough. This will make it more difficult to control the ball from a shot out of the light rough.
 
The research data to justify the change has been gathered from highly skilled golfers on tour-- 0.001% of the golfing population. The assumption is that extremely long hitters are not being penalized enough when their drives come to rest in primary rough -- about 2 to 3-inches in depth ' and the object of the change is to make it more difficult for the elite players to control the ball from shots out of the rough to the green.
 
The change for the elite players in Championship competition will be in effect as of January 1st , 2010. Regrettably there is no sound evidence provided to indicate that the objective will be achieved and the game will be better off because of this change. It is purely an assumption on the part of the USGA that this change ' with momentous consequences -- is good for the game.
 
Contrary to condescending statements made by the USGA; all golfers will be affected by this change. First in that our purchase of a new set of clubs will have the equivalent of the 1942 groove configuration which will make it even more difficult for us to control the ball to the green than it is now. And second, if we continue to use our present clubs we will be playing under a different set of rules than the elite golfers until 2024 ' or perhaps for ever -- condoned by the USGA but in contradiction to its Statement of Principles published in May 2002.
 
It may be the start of TWO sets of rules, which I personally think will erode the fundamentals of the game BUT a better solution than a change ' rolling back the groove configuration to equivalent specifications to those adopted in 1942 ' designed to resolve a perceived problem caused by .001% of the golfing population but affecting all golfers.
 
Please Click Here to check out the results of what you thought about the USGA groove rule change.
 
Hybrid Lies
 
Dear Frank,
 
I started playing golf at the age of 49 with a group of guys every Friday night. We were all beginners none of us had any lessons at that time. I am now 56 and really enjoying this game more than ever. After a series of 5 lessons, which I decided I needed I started to see improvements.
 
That competitive nature took over and I strived to win every game we all played together. I won the majority of time but was not shooting consistent golf.
 
One day I heard you make a statement on a website that 'it's a game we play against ourselves'. I thought a lot about that statement and I finally understood what you were saying and placed it into action, that's when my game really improved.
 
I no longer worried about beating the others and became more relaxed on the course. That one statement has cut between 6 to 10 strokes off my game. I am now shooting in my mid to low eighties.
 
I have also taken your advice which has been invaluable to me. My driver is reg-flex shaft 44 inches I hit more fairways now. I had my lies adjusted found I should have been 2 degrees flat. My iron shots are now more consistent.
 
My question at last is: If my irons are 2 degree's flat should my hybrids also be bent to match my irons?
 
I hit them straight when teed up on a tee box. On a tight lie on the fairway
I am not as consistent with the ball flight it tends to fade the majority of time. I am not sure if it is the club or me.
 
I want to thank you for all your hard work and helping others as well as
myself. I will be ordering you book with in the very near future.
 
Sincerely,
Dean

 
Dean,
I do appreciate your kind comments and am pleased that my advice has been of so much help to you.
 
If your hybrids are going straight off a tee from the teeing ground where your swing plane is a little (very little) flatter, because the ball is slightly raised compared to the fairway lie, then it is possible that the fade from the fairway lie is because the lie angle is too flat for this slightly more upright swing plane. This is highly unlikely because the differences in your swing plane are very small. If by chance, this was the case and you make the lie adjustment to be more upright -- to solve your fairway problem -- you may find your tee shots will have a slight draw.
 
This is what I call a tweak adjustment, which is so small that most of us will not be able to recognize it. Dean, it is more likely that your problem is in your mental approach when you make a swing from the fairway lie compared to off a tee. When the ball is teed up we dont often think about making contact with the ground before impact. Our entire thought process is different and we take some comfort in knowing that we have a good lie and the likelihood that we will hit it fat is reduced significantly.
 
Maybe what you should do is tee the ball up in the fairway -- only when you are experimenting-- not when you are playing in the US Open.
 
As far as adjusting the lie angle of your hybrids; this is not recommended by the manufacturers and for the less lofted clubs -- 18 to 21 degrees -- a slight differences in lie angle does not affect the ball flight as much as it would on more lofted clubs such as the wedges. Make sure that your hybrids, as in fairway woods, have a toe to heel radius on the sole. This prevents the sole from unnecessarily catching at the toe or heel if it does make contact with the ground before or during impact.
 
Some manufacturers indicate that hybrids may be adjusted a couple of degrees for lie angle, by an expert club maker using the same bending tools used for irons. If the correct length is selected for your woods and hybrids the standard lie angle should be close to what you need.
 
Hope this helps a little, now go out and Just Hit It.
Frank
 
The Truth About Tees and Kissing Frogs
 
Hi Frank,
 
Your Q&As are a high point of my week. I read your book in one sitting and highly recommend it to others. It is wonderful to get the straight facts without worrying about who is paying the advertising revenue.
 
This week I have a question plus a silly one from my granddaughter. First, there are a great many tees on the market; some feature improved cup styles or prongs, others are brushes, etc. Other than length, does the type of tee really have much effect on ball flight and distance?
 
The silly question came up when my 3 year old granddaughter saw me reading your website. She recognized the putter as a frog and asked the obvious 3 year old question; what happens if a princess kisses the putter? Im sure with all your contacts you could empirically test this.
 
Seriously, I would like to have the chance to actually hold the Frankly Frog putter in my hands and try it before ordering it. Since I get to Orlando every twenty years or so, is there a way to meet the Frog in person before ordering it?
 
Thanks for your help.
 
Jay

 
Jay,
Thank you for the kind comments about my book and the weekly Q&A column. You have a three-part question the answers to which are;
 
1. There is no solid evidence that the differences in tee designs presently permitted have any measureable effect on distance for elite golfers and certainly not the average golfer. If this was not the case the USGA would have something to say about it and would develop tee specifications to disapprove these devices.
2. You can tell your granddaughter that if a princess kisses the Frog Putter she will probably lower her handicap.
3. We have just made a free download of the putting guide available to all who wish to take advantage of this on www.franklygolf.com. This will automatically make you a Frankly Friend and allow you to take advantage of the 30/30/30 program which in essence allowing you have 30 days to try the putter of your choice. See the site for details or call us at 407 396 4004.
 
Jay, please dont kiss the Frog in front of your wife when you get it for the 30 day trial . She may frown on this even though it will result in lowering your handicap a couple of strokes. Kiss your granddaughter in front of her instead.
 
Thanks again for your kind comment and please help us and the game, by answering the five questions in my groove survey by Clicking Here.
Frank
 
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 logoFrank 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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Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.


11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.


1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

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The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

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Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.