Personal Preference in Putters

By Frank ThomasApril 8, 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

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Personal Preference in Putters

Is there an advantage to either using a heel shafted versus a center shafted other than personal preference? I have been told that it has to do with which eye is dominant to the golfer. Any putting help is greatly appreciated.

There have been suggestions that there is a difference between using an Offset putter vs. a Non-Offset putter depending on left- or right-eye dominance. I have not seen any evidence to demonstrate that this makes any measurable difference.
From my experience the shaft location center or heel mounted, offset or non-offset is very much personal preference.
In some offset putters, one may see more of the orthogonal aiming line along the full length of the head (if there is one) but with a center mounted straight shaft, the shaft itself will help in lining up. It is personal preferences.
In one of the center shafted configurations of the Frankly Frog Putter (which I designed) there is a line 10 inches up the shaft which is a very subconscious reference line making alignment a little easier.
When it comes to shaft fitting I have found that shaft length is the most important and most golfers are using putters which are too long. This adds to the source of error associated with the up and down movement (degrees of freedom) resulting in inconsistent results.
When it comes to the effect on your stroke if the putter is face balanced, it does not matter where the shaft is mounted in the head. If it is not face balanced and the straight shaft is mounted in the heel or center, the rotation speed of the sweet spot may be different. However, once impact starts with any putter the inertia about various axes of the head will take over and influence movement of the ball on off a miss-hit.
If you are ever in the Orlando area you may benefit tremendously from a visit -- by appointment -- to our Frankly Frog Putting Studio. Click Here to learn more about the Putting Studio.
Hope this helps
Your Credit Card and Driving Distance
A friend of mine consistently hits his driver right in the center (a problem I would like to have). As a result, there is a worn spot on the face of the driver. While he drives the ball straight, I suspect he is losing yardage because of the wear on the face of the driver. Am I correct in this? Since he hits that driver so well, and because it is a fairly recent model, I suggested he replace it with the exact same model and specifications. Would this be worth doing? Thanks for your advice. I enjoy reading your weekly questions and answers.

This is true friendship I must admit.
If he ' your very close friend ' is driving the ball well with his a recent model driver then there is really no need to be concerned about wearing out the face in the near future unless he hits it at speeds of approximately 100 mph + and plays a lot. On the other hand, when you find a good friend that works well, then dont change, or in your friend's case (and YES to your question), get a spare model if he can find an exact replica, just in case.
The way to tell whether your driver is starting to lose its OOMPH (sometimes known as Coefficient of Restitution), is to take a credit card and place the straight edge across the center of the face, in the vertical (top to bottom) and then in the horizontal (toe to heel) planes . If it rocks slightly, indicating it still has some convexity 'roll in the vertical plane and bulge in the horizontal plane ' then you should be good to go. If the face is flat or indented (concave) then you do need to look for a replacement. At head speeds of about 100 mph or less the face should be able to withstand about 10,000 impacts before losing COR.
Ira, I suggest this credit card test (Visa, AmEx or Mastercard will do) rather than the one most golfers use i.e. estimating the distance and claiming I am losing distance.
Most of us may lose distance, as the new driver starts misbehaving like the rest of its Bagmates. Some clubs are just not as well disciplined as others so you can expect this to happen from time to time. The real reason for the loss in distance is, most case is probably leak in the magic valve.
Tell your friend he has a good friend, both in the driver and in you so he should look after both.
A Good Deal or What?
I got a great deal on a Callaway X 3 wood 15 degrees tour version with an X-stiff pro launch shaft. Now, I am a 25 handicapper and everything I have checked says I should have stiff flex shafts and I probably have no business with a tour version golf club. My question is how much will all of this affect me and I am wondering if I should try the club or just try to sell it while it is still in new condition. I do swing over 100 mph and when I hit straight I will drive between 240-275. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks.


Well done on your good deal. I don't know what you paid for it but a good deal should be about 50% off.
Because you didn't have an option of shaft flex, and your driver club head speed is over 100mph, why don't you go out and hit it? If you have to fight the club and need to hit it hard to get it to go well then change to a more flexible shaft using the money you saved on the good deal.
From what you tell me; i.e. from 240 to 275 yards is your driving distance range (when you hit is straight) and you have a 25 handicap, I believe your problem is that your shoelaces are too tight. This is necessary to keep the shoes on during each swing but this is tough on your feet during the rest of the round.
Under these circumstances, and if I am right then the X-Stiff shaft in the fairway wood will be fine because you are not going swing slower with the 3-wood than you do with your driver. This is a natural instinct most of us males have so don't feel bad.
IF, however, you decide to slow down (which I don't believe you are going to do) and get you swing under control you will probably lower your handicap by several strokes, hit the ball about the same distance on average and keep it in the fairway more often. If you do this slowing down thing, then I think you should try a more flexible shaft with the next good deal you get or change the shaft in this club.
Sometimes a good deal isn't as good as it seems.
Hope this helps
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

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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.