QA Explaining Shaft Tipping

By Frank ThomasJune 6, 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
Mr. Thomas,
I recently ordered a Fujikura Vista Tour 60 X-Stiff graphite shaft to replace my existing shaft, which is an Aldila NV65 Stiff. The only problem is the Fujikura is 46 inches long compared to the 45 inch Aldila, which is the length I am comfortable with. If I were to tip the Fujikura to 45 inches, how much stiffer would it make the shaft and how will it effect how I hit my driver? -- Evan LaRocque

It is a lot easier to shorten the shaft to 45 by cutting it down from the butt end. This will not affect the shaft properties as much as tipping it, which will make it tip stiff and the flight may be slightly lower and it might feel a little stiffer.
I am not too sure what sort of game you have but if you are close to a scratch player or better you will probably be able to tell the difference. If you are a 10+ hcp then you should not be able to feel the difference and in fact should probably go down to 44 inches which will keep you in the fairway more often. This length change will affect the swing weight but you can compensate with lead tape if needed.
I am 6 6 tall and my clubs are 1 inch longer and 5 degrees upright. In order for me to hit the ball well I have to stand very close. Many times people make fun of how close I stand to the ball. My swing is very upright and it is almost to a point where the irons are not upright enough in order to reach the ball comfortably and make good contact without the toe hitting first.
Is it possible that these clubs are too short or is it my swing? -- Bob

If you are not going to move away from the ball and/or bend a little at the waist, which might lead to a slightly flatter swing, then the shafts are probably too short. You are tall but not to the extent that you need more than a one inch longer set along with an extreme upright lie-angle.

The one inch longer set which you have is probably right but I think it is your stance and swing which is creating the problem. Before you make any further changes to your set I would first invest in a lesson from a good teacher who will better be able to evaluate what you need to do. You dont want to change your set and then after the lesson find that your swing change requires another fitting change back to where you started.
This is a common mistake where golfers get fitted to a set and then go for a lesson which corrected the flaw that the newly fitted set was trying to correct. Then you have to go back to get fitted again.
I have seen golfers with a slicing swing flaw get a band-aid club to correct it. This corrects the flight a little but not the swing. So they are now locked into a band-aid club and bad swing. This is fine unless they want to get better. When the swing flaw is corrected after a lesson then the band-aid club needs to be replaced. It is always less expensive to get a lesson to improve your game than a club which locks you into a flawed move.
Dear Frank,
Instead of advancing the ball forward during my drives, my ball spins backwards! I have a swing speed of 104mph and carry of 230yds. I am using a Cleveland 460 9.5deg with a NV55 stiff shaft. Ball ProV1x. -- John Chen

There are two or three reasons for the ball landing and spinning back on the fairway on your drives. First it is most likely that the trajectory is too high. This can come from too much spin combined with a high a launch angle.
This will increase the angle at which the ball impacts the fairway. It is this impact angle and ball speed which determines how much roll you are going to get. Believe it or not, it is not the spin on the ball which influences the roll on the fairway. This is not the case on the green but your particular landing conditions on the fairway may be similar in angle off a wedge.
The other condition which will create a ball bouncing backward on the fairway is very soft wet conditions, which we have all experienced at one time or another. I think you know this and wouldnt be asking if it was the case.
So with your head speed of 104 mph you should be launching the ball at about 13 degrees and 2,400 rpm of spin (see A Guideline: Optimum Driver Launch Conditions for Maximum Distance on for this information).
So I think you need to check your launch conditions using a good launch monitor. You may have to get a driver with less loft.
I had a set of KZG Evolution clubs made for me by a respected club maker. He suggested True Temper super lite firm shaft for the clubs. Each club was shipped by KZG exactly the same weight differential between each club. Each club has 2.5 swing weight. Gripped with the golf pride red and black 1/2 cord grip...a good looking set, but I HATE them. I get no distance, I cannot hit solidly, am on the toe side in striking the ball. THEY JUST DONT FEEL RIGHT, thus far it is a regret to go thru the fitting process with custom clubs.

The other night I was watching Whats in the Bag and saw something that interested me. Adam Barr was talking to some club fitter about grips that had different weight that could be added to the butt end of the grip. It seems silly to me to lighten a club with a shaft, then go and add weight to increase the overall weight, but I dont understand all the dynamics nor the physics of this kind of thing...I know you do... kindly tell me if this should be pursued with the custom clubs mentioned.

Im 63 and still hit it pretty well. Handicap around 13, but have shot 78 and several 80s but I can also shoot a 95 almost any time. I am currently hitting Titleist 680 blades with s300 and I love them. Im the best worst golfer at my club. I can birdie as easy as triple. Can these KZG's be salvaged? -- Don Walters

I too have a set of 680 blades and love them as you do so why change. It is not easy to make good friends so when you have some, dont give them up until they get old and dont work for you any more. It really isnt them as much as you. I have a listing of more than 200 clubs on my site under the Maltby Playability Factor which guides you to the type of set which probably best fits you based on your skill level. If you are going to change because you need a little more forgiveness then this listing should be a good starting point.
Most of us (99%) can use a standard set without any change other than shaft flex. I know that we generally play with shafts which are too stiff so go for an R-shaft or if your swing speed is 75mph then go for the A-Flex shaft.
The KZGs may be good clubs but this combination obviously doesnt work for you. If you are looking for something a little more forgiving then you can go with the same specs but with a different head from the same manufacturer.
Changing clubs will not turn your game around unless you are completely mismatched but you have already made friends so work on your game and dump the 3-and 4-iron and get two hybrids. I am not going to change mine. Technology in irons hasnt changed very much and certainly not enough to part with a good friend.
Please dont start back weighting your clubs with weights in the grip purely to get the swing weight to something you feel is right when looking at the swing weight scale. Putting weight in the grip has the same effect as wearing a glove. It will reduce the swing weight by five points but have no effect on the swing dynamics. This is a method to tweak clubs if you really know what you are doing and play on the Tour.
Otherwise go with a true matching by changing, head weight, shaft weight and/or shaft length but dont try to do this with back weighting or slugs down the shaft. You may also want to include club frequency which adds another element i.e. shaft stiffness.
Good friends are hard to find so dont give them up unless you have no other option. It is not the arrow or the bow but the Archer in most cases.
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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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 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.


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.