QA Club Wear and Tear

By Frank ThomasSeptember 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
Editor'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,
Does the face of a driver ever wear out? I can hit my Cleveland Launcher 330 very reliably but someone told me that the face will wear out and lose its spring-like effect. I then went out and bought a new Cobra speed series driver which the ball jumps off, but is tough to hit straight. I am caught between 'learning' the new club and staying with old faithful based on the life of the driver face. -- Thanks, Mark. Georgia


Mark,
Manufacturers of some of the best known big titanium drivers test their product for durability and generally claim that because of the spring like effect of the face it may start deteriorating after about 6,000 to 10,000 impacts at impact speeds of about 100 mph.
 
With 10 practice balls before your round and 14 drives a round and 2 rounds a week this will allow you to play up to 208 weeks, or four years if you play all year. I don't think you need to worry but I do suggest that you check the flatness of the face using the edge of a credit card. If you see some flatness or signs of concavity in the face then you may want to change drivers. Generally there is a slight bulge and roll built into the driver face which means it is convex. After it starts to deteriorate it will flatten out. As I said it should not be of any concern for about 4 years of fairly intense golf activity, but check it any way. After four years you will probably want another driver anyway.

 
Frank,
I'm a 20-handicap and not getting any younger. What kind of shafts
(graphite/steel) and flex should I use. Thanks.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ed Winkler
Arlington Forest United Methodist Church

 

Pastor Ed,
I would first recommend that you check with doctor and see if you can get involved in a strength and flexibility exercise regimen. Studies show that three months of flexibility exercises result in a greater range of motion and have increased the average club head speed of 30 to 50 year olds by 5 mph. This will result in 10 to 15 more yards on your drives. This is more than any club or shaft will do for you.
 
Next I would suggest that you try an R-flex shaft if you have been playing with a Stiff shaft. And certainly try graphite shafts in your irons as I assume you have them in your woods already. If this doesn't work then the last resort is to say a little prayer.
Frankly I can only help so much....the rest is up to you.
 
Frank,
Is there any difference in the clubs that Phil Mickelson uses and the ones I could buy off the rack? Would it be possible for me to be using the exact same driver, shaft, grip, etc. as Mike Weir? If so, where do I find a copy of a pro's driver? -- Tim O'Coffey, Mackenzie, B.C.

 
Tim,
If you had exactly the same swing (speed and path etc.) as Phil or Mike then I would suggest that you try to get their specs and duplicate these for your club. These guys are unique and have their clubs tweaked almost every week.
 
As you remember Phil recently carried two drivers with slightly different properties so he didn't have to adjust his swing to achieve a certain flight of the ball for specific occasions. These guys are good but each requires something a little different. It would behoove you to select a club which suits your swing rather than try to use one which suits someone else's.
 
Assuming that Phil's clubs (the ones for that week) will perform well for you, is like assuming his shoes will also fit you and be as comfortable for you as they are for him.
I hope this will help in your search for the ideal club for a lefty. Depending on your skill level I would start with a standard set before you get into the real customized specs.
 
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

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: