Is Newer Really Better

By Frank ThomasMay 21, 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

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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Is Newer Really Better?
Frank, I read your book 'Just hit it' and I loved it. But, I have a technical question. I own a Taylor Made R580 driver. It was introduced in 2002. It has a 400 CC head. I have had a new shaft put in to 44.75 and I hit it fairly well. You stated in the book that if I own a driver that is five years old it should be as good as any new one. Does the R580 fit into this statement? Does it have a competitive MOI and COR?

Dear RJ
If you are hitting this driver well I would be very cautious before you decide to take advantage of a newer model. The driver I personally use is almost the same age as yours and it has as high a COR as is allowed as is the case with your driver. However the MOI is not at the limit but I dont feel that there is any particular advantage to me in going to this particular limit.
I would suggest that you look at some of the most recent models not because of the higher MOI but rather because of the more efficient COR face spread meaning a more efficient impact over a wider area that many of the recent drivers have.
Unfortunately because relatively few significant technical changes have been made over the last few years manufacturers are increasing the length of their drivers which is not doing most golfers any favors with regard to staying in the fairway in spite of the higher MOI.
If you are launching the ball with your present club close to the optimum launch conditions (click here to view) then I would not lose too much sleep over worrying about a new driver, but rather spend the money on a hybrid, a wedge, and most importantly a good putter. Then youll have more change in your pocket than purchasing a new driver on its own.
Damaging Shaft Dings
I enjoy reading your informative column regularly. Keep up the great work.
I have a question about my drivers graphite shaft. When I play, I take off the head cover for the entire round. Others take off and put back on after each shot with the driver or other fairway woods. Ive been told that perhaps the banging of the iron heads in the bag against the shaft of the driver 3-4 inches above the head will weaken the shaft. Should that really be a concern? It seems that the shaft survives a great deal of stress and shock through normal use anyway.

If you play most of your golf in a cart and you remove the head covers unfortunately there will be some contact between the iron heads and the graphite shafts of your woods. Unless there is some visible damage you should not be too concerned however I do recommend that you leave one or two head covers on your woods and hybrids which will generally cushion any potential damaging blows.
If you are going to carry your bag then make sure that the clubs are in the designed compartments in which case iron heads will be away from any contact with the graphite shafts. If you have removed the head covers you will start sounding very much like wind chime on your way down the fairway due to the synchronized contact between your wood heads and the cadence of your stride.
I do recommend you walk whenever you can and keep one or two head covers on your woods to avoid undue noise pollution on the course.
Thank you for your kind remarks and hope you continue to enjoy the column. If you havent signed up as a Frankly Friend you may do so by going to to receive regular e-mail updates.
Alcohol and Your Grip
If anyone can answer this question, you can.
Florida probably isn't the best state for me to live in- I sweat profusely, including my hands. My glove is usually pretty well saturated at the end of a summer round here.
Would I do any harm to my grips (or be breaking any rule) by wiping them down with alcohol during the course of a round? Just a thought I had as I scrubbed them down the traditional way last night.
Thanks for your expert opinion.
JJ, Florida


First let me thank you for your confidenceIll try to do it justice.
I agree that Florida is not the best place to live in the summer. Second, I suggest that if you are going to insist on playing summer Florida golf that you carry several gloves with you. Third, cleaning your grips with alcohol during a round would not be a violation of the rules as the playing characteristics are not being changed.
Next time you find yourself in Orlando, come and visit our air conditioned Frankly Frog Putting Studio. Well fit you for a putter and give you a state of the art lesson using the latest technology and kinematic analysis.
See you soon
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
Frank Thomas

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: