Q A The Spin on Spin

By Frank ThomasMarch 28, 2006, 5:00 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
 
Frank,
When hitting my driver (9.5 degrees), the ball launches fairly high and carries about 230 yards or so, and then stops almost immediately with almost no forward roll, even in dry conditions. In addition to my swing (not hitting down on the shot), are there other ways to reduce the amount of spin on my tee shots? Does the shaft flex have anything to do with it? -- Kevin Chung

 
Kevin,
The shaft does have an effect on ball flight but you should not change this if it leads to a club with which you dont feel comfortable. I would suggest you try to tee the ball up a little higher so as to make contact a little above center on the club face. This will reduce the spin and flatten the trajectory but also increase the launch angle a little which you may not want. I would also try a low spin ball. The next thing to try is a tip stiff shaft which will help keep the ball flight down a little more. If none of the above work then you may have to go to a lower lofted driver. I dont know what your head speed is but if it is 95 to 100 mph then the carry distance you are getting is not bad and teeing the ball up a little may do the trick.
 
Frank,
I was given a set of clubs, by a local business man after helping him get back in shape after a back injury. He is an avid golfer and he gave a set of Ben Hogan Edge Forged with Adilia graphite shafts firm flex 5.0 1 torque. The clubs were actually in pretty good condition considering that these particular blades came out during the years of 1989-1992. I do not have the opportunity to play multiple rounds of golf yearly like a lot of people do, so I have enjoyed playing with these clubs and hit them very easily.
 
Recently when I was out hitting, my 3-iron broke at the connection between hosel and blade after the follow through. I noticed that a few of the other irons have this look around the hosel and blade area as if they are about to break also. My main question is would it be more cost effective to simply have all of the clubs reshafted, or should I simply invest in a new set of reasonably priced irons? -- E.R Jones

 
ER,
I hope this doesnt stand for Emergency Room and it is your real name, even though you must have done a good job on the back injury to get the graphite set of Hogan Edge clubs. ER, club design has changed in the last 15 years and even though you dont get to play too much it is about time you changed to a newer set of irons.
 
The Edge was and still is a good set but the shafts may need to be replaced. Or get a brand name set of forgiving irons ' cavity backs -- which are a couple of years old. These will cost a lot less than a 2006 model set and the difference in performance will be minimal especially if you only get out a couple of times a year. Technology in irons hasnt changed much in the last several years so look around for the set you like and it doesnt have to be brand new. Check out the Maltby Playability Factor on my site at http://www.franklygolf.com/MPF/index.asp to visit information which will help guide you when choosing a new set of irons.
 
Dear Frank,
I have been marking my golf ball for the purpose of making sure that I've played the correct ball. I am currently marking my golf balls with a line that goes completely around the circumference of it. I have been questioned as to the legality of this practice and have not been able to determine if it is or how much of a mark is permissible. Mahalo and Aloha -- Glenn Nakashima

 
Glenn,
I think you may know that Duffy Waldorf on the PGA tour used to draw all sorts of pictures on his ball. As long as the ball is on the conforming list, which requires that it has identical markings then adding markings to identify your ball is encouraged. There are not restrictions as to what you write on the ball or the type of marking. If it is not distracting when the ball is in the fairway and the line is not aligned with the intended line of flight then placing a stripe all around the ball is not a problem with the rules. In many cases you do better on the range than on the course so drawing range type racing stripes on the ball may improve your performance on the course.
 
Frank,
I am thinking of purchasing a set of newer clubs since I feel my game is improving. Based on my in store swing analysis, my current set of clubs have had the lie angle bent to 2 degrees flatter. In my research of new clubs I noticed that the particular set I am interested in are anywhere from 1 to 1/2 degrees flatter in the standard configuration, (i.e. 7-iron: old - 63.0 new 62.5; 5-iron old - 62.0 new 61.0). Additionally, I noticed the shafts of the newer clubs to be about 1/4 inch shorter. Would I need to have the newer irons bent 2 degrees flatter or 1 degree since they are already flatter.
 
Also, is it wise to have sand/lob wedges bent flatter also or are they fine without any tweaking? -- Mike

 
Mike,
Let me answer your second question first. The lie angle of your wedges is as important as or more important than the lie angle on the other clubs because of the high loft which exaggerates the effect of an incorrect lie angle.
 
I would suggest that you not worry about the specs before you know you have a problem. The first step is to use a lie board in the fitting center. If the scuff marks are not on the center portion of the sole then make the adjustment. Then if you are reasonably happy with the feel of the set go out and hit some balls and check the ball flight. This will verify whether the lie angle is correct for you.
 
Frank,
Reference the question from Geoff Whitehead from Delta, BC, who broke several heads.
 
I too had purchased a club (450cc in size), I used it once on a course and then a few days later at a driving range I had it crack just like the guy above. After talking to the manager of the store I got it at, he replaced it at no cost. In my opinion the balls they use at the range seem to be harder (like they were retrieved after being water logged). Since then, I do not hit my drivers or woods at a driving range, and havent had a crack since. I wonder if a majority of the ranges use balls that are in a condition to cause damage to a club? ' Bob, Albany, NY

 
Bob,
I have checked with the manufacturers and found that you should be able to impact a driver with a 90 to 100 mph head speed about 10,000 times before it will fail in the manner you describe. In Geoffs case, I found out subsequently, that he was hitting practice balls when the outside temperature was -10 to -15C. Not only will this have some affect on the club face but also the balls will be significantly harder than under normal temperatures which will decrease the lifespan of these thin faced drivers.
 
In your case it sounds like a quality control problem.
 
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
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.