QA Cold Weather Hurt Clubs

By Frank ThomasOctober 17, 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
Hi Frank,
Davis Love III
Davis Love III joins Frank in is weekly 'Ask Frank' segment this Monday, Oct. 22 at 11:00 p.m. ET. (WireImage)
Thanks for all the information every week. Reading about the engineering and technology side of golf is as interesting as reading about all the courses that Ill never play that are featured in the golf magazines. The past three years or so Ive been able to store my clubs in the den (i.e. room we dont use for anything important). After some sprucing up and remodeling of the den, my wife has finally noticed the clubs and wants me to store them in the garage -- an unattached, unheated structure. We can still play golf here in western Oregon in the winter, so I use the clubs 2-4 times a month from October through March. I know that colder temperatures can influence balls, but can leaving the clubs out in the cold (temperatures range from, say, 40 degrees on up) affect their performance and durability? I have graphite shafts on the woods and hybrid, steel shafts on the irons. I worry that the graphite in particular could get brittle and break in transit if not in use.
Ill try to keep the clubs warm until you can answer.

Sorry to hear that your wife has been so nasty to your clubs. I suggest that you apologize to them on their way to the garage. You really dont have to worry about the temperature they will experience in the garage even at 40F; this will do them no harm, and you will probably be more brittle than they will at such temperatures.
The only concern about a garage separated from the house and not air conditioned is that you may experience condensation on the clubs during the diurnal temperature changes and varying humidity levels.
A daily dose of moisture will encourage oxidation on metals and you may experience some rust pitting on the steel shafts or forged blade heads.
Moisture on golf balls, whether it comes from storage in the garage or from resting in ponds on the course, is not good for them or for us, because the covers are inclined to absorb moisture and will deteriorate in the long term. For us it means the loss of a stroke.
Bottom line is; if you have an option, it is probably better to keep your clubs and balls in the den rather than in a garage with a potential condensation problem due to a wide range in temperatures. You may have to be a little sweeter to your wife and/or give up something else near and dear to you, but at least your clubs will be happier and this may be reflected in the way they treat you on the course.
Hope this helps.
-- Frank
Hi Frank,
I am an 8.5 handicap index with 82 mph swing speed. I'd like to start getting a little more responsiveness around the greens. Everyone I talk to says that premium balls are for the 100 mph-plus swinger and that I'd be wasting my money as I can't compress the ball to get the full benefit.
I thought compression was a non-issue with the new golf balls. Would you please clarify this for me? And, can I use a premium ball?
Thank you,

With an 8.5 handicap you are certainly good enough to use a premium ball like the ProV1 (not the ProV1x) a Nike ONE black, or an HX Tour. These will allow you to work the ball around the green, but you may not be able to get all you need off the tee with the 82 mph head speed you have.
A better choice may be the Titleist NXT Tour, Nike Ignite, or the Callaway HX Tour 56. These balls will be less expensive than the top premium balls, give you a little boost off the tee, and all the responsiveness you need around the green.
With your 82 mph head speed you don't want to give up too much distance with your driver, so the NXT Tour and the others I have mentioned would be my suggestion, instead of the top premium balls which are better performers at higher swing speeds.
Most of the balls we pay $35 a dozen or more for are so much better than we are that you arent going to go far wrong whatever your choice. If, however, you have a great deal of control around the greens and you can feel the subtle differences built into the balls the pros use, then by all means select the thin-covered three- or four-piece premium ball. Otherwise, the next level down from premium will be an excellent choice for overall performance at your skill level and head speed. Also, with this selection youll have enough money for a couple of beers after the round.
You might also be interested in checking out some of the results of a golf ball survey we conducted with our Frankly Friends by clicking here to see what other golfers are choosing.
-- Frank
Dear Frank,
I have question about ball scuffing. My wedges scuff my balls badly. I switch wedges often: Titliest Vokey, Cleveland CG 10, Wilson Staff and Mizuno MP. Ive tried every ball brand and type. Some are worse than others. But in general, all balls scuff significantly. A full swing with a Vokey 56 leaves the ball looking like it bounced off the cart path. What effect does the scuffing have on ball flight and distance? Has it ever been tested? Typically, I use premium balls and regularly change balls after 6 holes. Am I stuck with severe scuffing as a byproduct of high wedge spin? Can anything be done to reduce scuffing? Thanks for your time. I read your column on the every week.

I will try to answer all your questions together. The reason why you are scuffing the balls and specifically the premium balls is that the grooves on most of the premium wedges have been milled at the end of the production process and the edges are reasonably sharp. After using these wedges for a while, the edges will wear down and this will reduce the tendency to scuff the ball. Most premium balls have a thin cover, which allows you to get the spin you want to work the ball around the greens but are also susceptible to damage from sharp grooves.
You should know that scuffing the ball, as you describe, does not necessarily mean you are getting the maximum spin from the shot. During impact, while the ball is in contact with the face, the resilient soft cover is stretched a little sideways, parallel with the face, allowing the ball to stick to the face, and springs back a little to help give the ball spin.
If while the cover is stretched it is partially cut, you will lose some of the recovery spring-back force and grip the ball has on the face and you may lose some of the potential to provide maximum spin. If the ball cover is torn while the ball is leaving the clubface, at the end of impact, you may not lose as much of the generated spin. I do believe, however, that the damage to the ball cover happens at or before maximum stress, during the winding-up phase of impact.
Whenever the damaged occurs, once in flight the aerodynamics of the ball will be affected measurably.
Yes, tests have been conducted on scuffed balls -- those with feathery surfaces created by the sharp grooves or normal cart path scuffs or dirt in the dimples. These balls will perform with an irregular flight path and not achieve optimum distance.
Most professionals who notice a scuffed cover during the play of a hole should try to declare the ball unfit for play (see Rule 5-3). Unfortunately there is some question about scrapes and scuffmarks within this rule, and this needs to be reviewed.
One thing for sure is, you shouldnt deliberately use a scraped, scuffed, or dirty ball or one with feathers on its surface damaged by sharp grooves. Replace it when you get to the next tee. Feathers are for the birds, not golf balls.
Hope this answers all of your questions.
-- 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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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry