QA Can Girls Play Boys Clubs

By Frank ThomasOctober 3, 2007, 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
Your response to a female this week inspired me to ask a question of my own. I have three kids: two boys, ages 12 and 9; and a girl, 7. I have been thinking that as they get older the younger ones will be able to use the hand-me-down clubs previously used by the older sibling(s). So far, this seems to be working pretty well. Is there any reason to think that my daughter would need something different in the way of clubs from what her older brothers used when they were her age?
Thanks so much for your columns!

There is no reason that your daughter shouldnt be able to use the same clubs her brothers used at her age. Generally, girls develop a little faster than boys in the early stages, but need to recognize that the boys will soon catch up, so dont try to take advantage of this phenomenon as the tide will turn.
However, there have been many changes in kids clubs over the last ten years or so, so if your daughter is 7 and is using the same clubs your son used five years ago, she may be at a slight disadvantage. Fitting clubs to the stature of smaller people specifically for kids has improved significantly over the last several years rather then retro fitting by shortening existing designs. She may benefit from those advances in the design of kids clubs -- or should I say, clubs for the young aspiring golfers we need so badly.
In adults clubs, the march of technology that can truly affect performance has slowed to a crawl, even though manufacturers would have you believe otherwise. Each years new driver cannot possibly increase our distance 20 yards. We are suckers and we buy hope, which is one of the charming things about golf.
A new young golfer like your daughter needs as much help as you can give her, so look around for some newer clubs that may suit her (smaller people) better. I would say the same thing for your next child, whether its a boy or a girl.
I suggest you look for courses that have been modified for play by younger and beginner golfers, not necessarily those designed for the scratch male golfer with forward tees for the rest of us. An abundance of hazards and forced carries to the greens can take the fun out of the game for the beginning player, and fun should be what its about for your children. Fortunately, architects are starting to recognize that only 0.55% of the golfing population are scratch or better, and theyre giving more consideration to and developing courses that pose an appropriate challenge for a wider segment of golfers.
John, you may be interested to check out the results of our extensive research project covering preferences of over 14,400 golfers. You can find this report at .
I urge you to do what you can to allow your daughter and sons to become addicted to this wonderful drug we call golf.
-- Frank
I play golf with a guy who puts some type of goo or petroleum jelly on his driver face. Im sure its against the rules -- but does it really give you more distance and less slice and hook?
-- A Frankly Friend

Dear Frankly Friend,
First, thank you for signing up to be a Frankly Friend, so we can advise you every week when we our fresh Q&As are posted, as well as receiving alerts to other interesting and helpful equipment information as it becomes available. For those reading this who aren't Frankly Friends yet, you can sign up by clicking here.
Now, to answer your question about whether putting goo or Vaseline on the face of a club helps. Vaseline is meant for babies bottoms, not for the face of a golf club. Applying it to the face of a golf club is a violation of the rules: Rule 4-2b, Foreign Material, states that foreign material must not be applied to the face of the club for the purpose of influencing the movement of the ball. The penalty for this violation is disqualification.
So first, get back all the money this guy has ever won from you while violating this rule. Then suggest that he stop doing this if he wants to continue to play with you, unless you are thinking about doing it yourself.
Does it really work? The answer is that almost anytime you can reduce the coefficient of friction between the ball and the club you will reduce the spin. The problem is that this isnt consistent, and the practice may result in less backspin than you actually need to get the ball to fly as far as it should. You cannot be selective about which spin you want to reduce -- i.e., only the sidespin component.
My suggestion is dont do it, especially since the rule deals with intent. When you know it is a violation, then any time you attempt to do this -- even if you do it by making your practice swing through the rough on the edge of the teeing ground in the hope that enough grass juice will stay on the face of the club to influence the movement of the ball -- you are acting improperly. An ex-friend of mine used to do this on occasion before he became an ex.
The wonderful thing about golf is that as long as a rule exists and you are aware of it, then you know when you are in violation. This is one of the reasons I believe that if we adopt a rule thatsays a golfer is not permitted to use any performance-enhancing chemicals, then this in itself should be sufficient to stop it from happening. In golf, you and only you know when you are violating a rule. Theres no need to give a referee the responsibility that should be yours alone. Sometimes only you know if the ball moves at address. Yet you are expected to call such a penalty on yourself, and players generally do. Golf distinguishes itself from almost all other sports in that we call ourselves on violations, and if we dont our peers will suggest we do as long the rule exists and its intent is unambiguous.
Leave the Vaseline to babies.
-- Frank
Do graphite shafts in irons get soft over time and use?

Graphite shafts do not change their flex properties over time. The phenomenon of changing flex properties is known in steel and other metals as work hardening. Even though this is not of any consideration in steel golf shafts, if it did happen it would result in a stiffer shaft over time, not a softer shaft.
To make a graphite shaft, very thin fibers (fifty of them will make up the size of a human hair) are surrounded in an epoxy resin and then wrapped around a mandrel (steel rod) in different directions to provide the required flex properties and resistance to torsional loading (twisting) commonly known but not technically correct as 'torque'. Each of those fibers is fourteen times stronger than steel for the same weight. This mix of resin and fiber is put in an oven to cure, and then the mandrel is withdrawn to leave a hollow composite shaft. The properties of this graphite shaft are very stable and may change very slightly over a wide range of temperatures, -- beyond what most humans can stand -- as most materials will, but not noticeably so. Otherwise the shaft, as long as it is not damaged, will hold its properties for a long time, longer than you are likely to keep using your clubs.
When I developed the first graphite shaft in 1969 I found that the fatigue properties were as good as if not better than steel shafts. Thomas, Im afraid to say that we will decay and get soft long before our graphite shafts do, so don't blame the shaft for any change in performance.
Hope this helps and gives you a little insight into the graphite composite shaft.
-- Frank
Fall for the FrogFrank 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
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.