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

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

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.

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.
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.

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
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.