Q A Quarters and Engineers

By Frank ThomasMay 16, 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
Dear Frank,
I cut my putter down from 35 to 33, and afterwards it felt too light. I taped some quarters to the back and liked it better. Is it legal for me to use the putter with the quarters taped on? -- Charlie Smith

This is a good news bad news story. The good news is that you have managed to find the weights which make your putter feel comfortable by using the quarters. The bad news is that these are not considered fixed and adjustment can be readily made, as well as they may become loose during a round and on top of this they may also be considered as external attachments. All of which are good candidates for violating Appendix II 1a and 1b. of the Rules of Golf, the penalty for which is disqualification.
What I suggest is that you find the equivalent amount of lead tape and substitute it for the quarters. Adding lead tape is permissible and an exception. Make sure that you use the tape on a spot that is not on the striking surface and is applied for the sole purpose of adding weight.
This is weighty question but we can get around it.

Mr. Thomas,
Has the weight of the driver clubhead become lighter over the years, or has it stayed at roughly 200g? Golfers are constantly told to swing 80% to encourage proper balance, tempo and consistency, but golfers are also told to get their swing speed higher for maximizing distance. Since the club is delivering a Force to the ball, should the clubheads weight also be customized along with the shaft flex and length, since F=MA where A will be near constant for an 80% swing? My hypothesis is: if the fitness of the golfer allows, a heavier head with a stiffer shaft, to allow proper dynamic loading and transfer of force to the ball, is the optimal fitting for distance. A variation of this idea seems to be the strategy of the Perfect Driver. Thanks for your time, and I really enjoy your column. -- Chris (engineer & golfer, in that order)

Club head weights have not changed much over time, and 7 ounces or about 200 grams seems to be the weight we have settled on as being most comfortable. This has not changed even though new clubs have a higher COR than before.
For a simple explanation of COR click on www.franklygolf.com and under Frankly Speaking you will find this and other really fun stuff for regular golfers and not just engineers like you.
It has been found based on some research that the optimum head weight is between 5 and 10 ounces. The head is not he only thing we are swinging and in fact the shaft, grip, arms and even the shoulders are contributing to the amount of force we have to overcome to make the motion. The book Search for The Perfect Swing by Alastair Cochran deals with this subject in some depth. Based on a formula using head weight, ball weight, head speed before impact and COR (Coefficient of Restitution) the ball velocity can be determined for various head weights.
Using the higher COR in todays drivers, it is interesting to see that the ball speed is a little less than the head speed if the head weighs the same as the ball. This ball speed goes up to 1.52 times the head speed if the club head weighs 8 ounces (227grams) and only 1.66 times head speed if it goes up to 16 ounces (454 grams). And only 1.8 times head speed for a head weight of 256 ounces. Not a good return for the amount of energy needed to generate the same head speed.
Bottom line Chris, is that you need to start at about 7 ounces (about 200 grams) and tweak it each way until you feel comfortable. Unfortunately shaft flexes and shaft weight may interfere with your experiment and need to be accounted for in your comfort conclusions. After 400 years of experimentation (trial and error) we have almost got it right. So work on the shaft flex first, using the standard head weight.
I just purchased a new club set after my last set was stolen. During the fitting process we spent a lot of time making sure the lie angle was correct for my new irons. My fitter used sole tape and ball flight methods to tweak the final results. When my set arrived I was somewhat surprised to see the lie angle and shaft length for my two hybrid irons (3 and 4), 3 wood and driver all appear to be 'off the rack dimensions' given that my irons have a Plus 2 degree from standard and plus 1/2 inch in length.
If lie angle is such an important part of the fitting process for irons, wouldn't the same hold true for the rest of the set, up to and including the driver? -- Wes

The lie angle is important for irons especially as the loft increases. When your clubs have lofts less than 20 degrees they are not customized for lie or much else, either out of convenience to minimize the inventory, the manufacturing process or that it matters less with the lower lofts. Maybe all of the above. As you understand when you have an unfortunate lie on the course where your ball is substantially above your feet you must aim to the right because the lie presented to the ball is very upright and the direction of the line drawn at right angles to the face is pointing to the left. This is more so with more loft. A 2-iron will not need to be aimed as far right as a wedge from the same lie.
I sometimes find it hard to believe that we are advised by manufacturers to get exactly the right length and will sometimes be told that an extra or inch is required. This sort of customizing makes us feel good and special. But when it comes to drivers one size seems to fit all.
If your 6-iron is too long for you by an inch, how on earth are you going to hit your 5- iron, which when customized to be an inch shorter, is now the same length as the 6-iron used to be?
Bottom line, check your shaft flex for all clubs and lie angles for lofts above 20 degrees and dont be too concerned about the long irons, hybrids of fairway woods or the big stick.
I am a left-handed golfer trying to correct a slice, if I use lead tape on my driver, do I put it on the toe or the heel? -- Sharon

As a left handed golfer your slices are from right to left. Applying lead tape is similar to correcting this by changing weights in the driver.
Before we go into any details you must know that if your slice is bad then a weight change is not going to do the trick. The weight ports in some of the latest drivers are for tweaking purposes only. Only a lesson resulting in a swing change can help a slice or hook.
For some of the better golfers who want to give the driver a draw bias, they will move the weights to the heel of the club. This does two things: First it makes it easier to rotate the club about the shaft into the impact zone. If you try to swing a club by gripping it at the head end it is easier to swing than gripping it at the grip end because the weight, when gripping it in a conventional manner, is farther away from the hands.
Second, by moving the weight to the heel one also moves the center of gravity (c.g.) toward the heel away from the center of the face. So when you hit the ball in the center of the face, the head will tend to twist about the c.g. and thus give the ball a little draw spin. This is the same as hitting the ball on the toe of a standard weighted head. This is called the gear effect.
You should know that for this phenomenon to be effective you need to hit the ball consistently on the same spot on the face of the club (not something most of us are capable of doing on a regular basis).
Changing weights is good to tweak a club as Phil Mickelson did at the Masters where he carried two drivers, as he didnt want to change his swing to give the ball a slight draw or fade, it just a little in both cases.
Weight ports are a good idea but not to solve swing problems. The same applies to lead tape.
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

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.


Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''