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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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."

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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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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