Q A Kick Points

By Frank ThomasMay 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
Frankly GolfEditor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com
I am currently looking for a new shaft for my 400 cc driver. Can you clarify what the term 'low kick point' and 'high kick point' mean? -- John Trinca, Edmonton, Alberta

When you bend a shaft by compressing the ends, similar to leaning on the butt of the club with the head on the ground, it will bend with a certain bending profile. Because the tip end of the shaft is more flexible than the butt end, the shaft will bend more toward the tip than the butt. This is a normal profile. If, however, the shaft is designed to be more flexible toward the tip, this is considered a low kick point. This will be inclined to launch the ball up a little higher with more spin than a standard shaft. Conversely if the shaft is designed to be tip stiff, then the bend point will be closer to the butt of the shaft and this is considered a high kick point and will decrease the launch angle and decrease the spin rate. Normally, you have to be hitting the ball very consistently to take advantage of this kick point design. Also you should know that the bend point does not vary by much more that five inches between a high and low kick-point shafts.
I understand that swing weight and clubs total weight are two different things. Using the same shaft, does my swing speed stay the same whether the clubs swing weight is C9, D2, or even D4? Why do club manufacturers tend to put a very light swing weight, say C9 or D0, on irons with lighter shafts, while irons with heavier shafts tend to have heavier swing weight, say D3 or D4? Is it just a logical combination or does an extreme combination, for example 90-gram shaft with D4 swing weight, negate the role effect each plays in any way? My irons shafts (Royal Precisons flighted rifle 6.0) are on the heavy side, 130g, but have a swing weight of D0. Id like to have a better feel of the clubhead by increasing the swing weight, perhaps by regripping them with lighter grips. But Im afraid this might make the clubs feel way too heavy overall. I would appreciate your feedback. -- Tony K. Jung

The club weight varies from about 12 ounces in a driver incrementally up to about 15 ounces in a 9-iron. The reason for this is that as the shaft length decreases the head weight increases to arrive at the same swing weight, which is a simple balance beam concept with the fulcrum 14 inches from the butt end. So the more weight you add to the shaft, the heavier the swing weight and overall weight. The reason for this is that the center of gravity (cg) of the shaft is halfway down the shaft, and for a 44-inch club, this cg is about 8 inches toward the head from the fulcrum. To maintain the same swing weight with a lighter shaft, one needs to increase the head weight. Most manufacturers will have a reduced swing weight for graphite shafts, as these shafts are significantly lighter than steel. As a result, without the head weight changing, the swing weight goes down. You will be able to swing the lighter club faster because the overall Moment of Inertia (MOI) of the system about the grip is lower. Lowering the swing weight by back-weighting will not decrease the Inertia of the system, so you will not be able to swing a back-weighted club faster - even if the swing weight is less. Hope this helps.
I read your column with great interest. Like many who write you, I am trying to figure out how to get more distance. It just seems the technology just doesnt make it happen. I have tried more loft, more flex, more ball and many combinations, but the distance remains constant. I have read your comments on the distance for the average player with a driver, just over 200 yards carry. I agree, I see it in my results. I sometimes think I had more overall distance before getting so wrapped up in carry distance. My question is, what have you observed for the average player hitting a 7-iron, for instance? My 7-iron still carries 145 to 150. I am also curious as to what is the swing speed for Iron Byron that is used for equipment testing. -- Lee Easterday

With a carry distance of 200 yards, you are swinging at about 85+ mph. I would not concentrate on carry distance, but rather go for a little roll as well. An average roll of 20 to 25 yards is good on average turf conditions. If you are not getting this, then try to lower the trajectory and you may find that the overall distance will increase a little. At 85 mph you should be launching the ball at about 14 degrees and have a spin rate of about 3,000 rpm. If your launch conditions are higher than this, try to tee the ball a little lower. This doesnt cost a thing. For a guideline on ideal launch conditions for different swing speeds visit www.franklygolf.com/tgc/launch.asp
There is another sure fire method of increasing distance and this is by increasing swing speed. Exercise and swing technique are the best things to do to get that extra 10 to 15 yards.
Iron Byron had a head speed of 109 mph for 28 years and it was recently changed to 120 mph, which meant that the distance standard also had to change for 280 yards +tolerance to 317 yards + tolerance.
Dear Frank,
My son was recently tested on a launch monitor and had 110 mph club head speed, 13-degree launch angle and a 1750-RPM spin rate. He was using a TaylorMade R7 425 TP with 9.5 loft and a 75 gram x-stiff flex shaft. He
had 10-gram weights up front and 2-gram weights in the back. Is it possible to correct the spin problem by changing the weights, or do we need to consider changing the club? -- JM

The launch angle looks to be a little on the high side for this head speed and the spin rate is too low for what would be considered optimum launch conditions for maximum overall distance. The chart at www.franklygolf.com/tgc/launch.asp is a guideline for optimum launch conditions to achieve maximum overall distance. This assumes an average turf hardness which gives approximately 25 yards of roll for a drive. For maximum carry, one needs to launch the ball higher with less spin.
Moving the weights back will move the center of gravity back, which will tend to increase the launch angle and also increase the spin rate a little. This weight shift also increases the gear effect for off-centered hits. So to increase spin a little (approximately 500 rpm) the ball must be impacted a little lower on the face.
This will decrease the launch angle but increase the spin rate. There is no harm in changing the weights to the back to see if this helps change the launch conditions.
I dont know how far your son is hitting the ball now, but if it is in the 295-yard range, then the tweaks I have suggested will not do too much for him as this is about as far as a head speed of 110 mph can produce.
Ive been custom fitted for irons and they have told me that I need clubs that are 1/2 inch short and 2 degrees flat. My question is, will I lose any distance with irons that are inch short? Im thinking I may actually gain some distance because Ill be in the proper posture at address and maybe even hit it out of the sweet spot a little more often. What are your thoughts on this? ' Rafael

If you dont hit the ball on the sweet spot with your existing set but do with the new set, then you will not only gain confidence but swing better and will most definitely hit the ball farther, even though the club is inch shorter.
The fact that the club is a little shorter is only a matter of preference. As you know ,all drivers are sold at about the same length, irrespective of your height. Why would the irons have to be specifically customized for you unless of course you were extraordinarily bigger or smaller (+/- 5 inches) than the average in height - which is 510 for men and 54 for women.
I have often asked myself why we need to increase our club's length by inch if one is 63 tall, or inch shorter if one is 5 5 tall. I have seen good women golfers who use mens standard length clubs but are only 54 tall.
It is true that womens clubs are generally built to be about 1 inch shorter than mens clubs, even though they are, on average, 6 inches shorter than men?
Decreasing the length of a club by 1 inch will decrease the swing weight by six points, from a D2 down to a C6 without any other changes. And this is about the difference in swing weights between mens and womens clubs.
The most important part of custom fitting is to make sure the lie angle is correct. One lie angle is not going to be good for different club lengths and different swing planes. Lie angle is critical and next is shaft flex. Comfort is the key because you dont want to feel you are swinging a broom stick nor a noodle and only you can tell what feels comfortable. Generally go for the more flexible shaft if you are in doubt.
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 letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.