QA Kicking Yourself Grip Size

By Frank ThomasMay 30, 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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 
Hi Frank,
I have a HiBore driver (11.5) with original Fujikura R flex (55g, low kick) shaft. I changed its shaft to a Proforce V2 High Launch L flex (52g, mid kick), thinking that it will give me a little extra distance. Nightmare happened. I not only lost the ball carry distance, but much of the time I couldn't even get the ball to launch. Does my problem have anything to do with kick point? I noticed a lot of new drivers come with mid kick shafts. What can I expect if I buy a driver with mid kick shaft and re-shaft it to one with a low kick point.
 
Thanks for your time.
--Linda

 
Laura Davies
On 'Ask Frank,' Monday June 4 at 11:00 p.m. ET on GC, Laura Davies poses a question about wedges and grooves. (WireImage)
Linda,
I bet you could kick yourself (mid, high or low) for making the change for a few extra yards.
 
To answer your question: you should expect changing from a mid-kick point shaft to a low-kick point shaft, all else being equal, the ball to be launched a little higher with a little more spin. The reason is that the lower kick point allows the shaft to bend a little more in the lower section.
 
In essence, during the bending process just before impact, the head is moving about a point with a shorter radius, which because of the moment arm created by the off line center of gravity (c.g.) of your driver will present a little more dynamic loft to the ball.
 
Please note I have said a little and I mean it. It is not very much and messing around with kick points is certainly not anything a golfer with a 10 handicap or greater should be concerned about in an attempt to increase distance.
 
I have mentioned this before and it is something which needs to be addressed and corrected; there are no common standards for shaft flex in the industry. In general, however, there are grades of flex from L (ladies) to XS (extra stiff) and a general guideline is that, the faster one swings, the stiffer the shaft one can effectively handle.
 
I believe you have been caught in the 'Hype Net' causing you to make two (perhaps unnecessary) changes, first with the shaft flex change, to an L from an R, and second the change in flex pattern (kick point) when you should have stayed with what you had if you were comfortable using it.
 
Comfort leads to confidence, which in turn leads to a better swing which results in more distance on average. If you are not happy with your driving distance, join the club of millions. Then; measure your launch conditions using a launch monitor which should be readily available at your local retail store or visit your local teaching professional who probably also has one of these devices.
 
Compare these conditions against the optimums I have listed by clicking here.
 
To change these launch conditions to optimize your distance, you should first make sure you have the most comfortable shaft flex for your swing type, then change the loft of your driver. You may also require a lesson and/or exercise and stretch to increase your range of motion.
 
The standard OEM shaft be it L,A,R,S or XS is the one I would recommend and if there are a variety of makes (just to suit the consumer who likes to have a choice) choose the make you like and select the correct flex range.
 
The last thing to do (unless you are readying yourself for a National Championship) is to mess with kick points.
 
This I hope will allow you to stop kicking yourself.
Frank
 
Frank - a player stripes a tee shot 280 dead center down the fairway.
 
Unfortunately, the ball comes to rest in the forward portion of a very deep un-replaced divot. Playing it as it lies is one of the most unfair rules of golf. This player has been penalized for a terrific shot. Moving the ball 1 inch to the left or right won't change the integrity of the game but it sure will change his 2nd shot. Why can't the USGA come up with a practical and fair solution to this BIG problem ? Thanks for your great work to help us weekend warriors.
--John

 
John,
This is not an equipment question but as a golfer and having spent a lot of time (26 years) at the USGA and also having talked about this issue, many times I would like to address it anyway. I hope it will help you understand the problem as I see it.
 
First, golf is not fair. We get good breaks and bad breaks and must live with them all.
 
Secondly, if we go back to the essence of the game we recognize that it is an activity, which allows us to evaluate ourselves. It is the personal challenge that brings us back over and over again, while also allowing us to enjoy the company of friends, compete against them in a wonderful environment, and even get a little exercise doing it.
 
If we want to make up our own rules, then this is OK. But we really do need some rules; otherwise there is no structure or order to the activity.
 
The USGA has developed some good rules for the game and the responsible committee works hard to try and make sure these make sense and in most cases, they do. The divot rule is a little more complex than it seems.
 
Let me explain. If you decide it is permissible to move the ball out of a divot because it creates something less than a perfect lie; I ask at what stage of the divot's self-healing process, will it no longer be considered a divot.
 
Many a time has my ball come to rest in a depression, which I really believed was a scar of an old divot. Do you think that I should be allowed to move it, or should I just accept it, complain a little and then move on to the next shot?
 
I do think that experiencing a divot as you describe is an indication that we do have some inconsiderate golfers. This is the real source of the problem, which we need to address, but allowing relief from this situation is going to make it hard to know where to draw the line and will also remove the incentive, or should I say obligation, for golfers to repair the damaged turf.
 
John, I hope this gives you a little different perspective and thank you for your kind words about the help we are providing. I hope you have signed up as a Frankly Friend (Click here to sign up).
 
Frank
 
Hi Frank, I enjoy reading your columns and I get a great deal of knowledge from them.
 
My question is with regards to grip size. I recently changed my grips and instead of going with the standard size grip replacement that was originally on my clubs, I got advice from the local store pro on the grip size I should be using. After a fitting it was determined that I should be using an oversized grip (one bigger than standard). So I replaced all my grips on my irons. The result is I have really been struggling with my irons, contact is poor and I tend to push and fade the ball now. Needless to say its been a very frustrating start to the season. Its this a result of the grips being too big?
 
Thanks
--Neil

 
Neil,
 
This is a very good example of how the Rule of Thumb or should I say fingers around a grip may not always be right.
 
It is generally accepted that the fingers of the left hand (for a right handed golfer) when closed around the grip should not dig into, but only touch the meaty portion of the palm at the base of the left thumb. This is the guideline, but only that. If you were happy with the size of the old grips then you should not change the size when selecting a new set of grips.
 
You are really the only person who knows if the grip feels comfortable. The one thing in the fitting process that you have control of is grip size. Start with the suggested procedure unless you have already established a grip size you like.
 
There have been some studies regarding grip size and in the extreme a larger grip is inclined to restrict the wrists from rotating into the impact zone. This results in leaving the ball out to the right. I do not suggest, however, that if your ball flight is right with a slice that you change your grip size to correct this potential swing flaw. It is suggested that you feel comfortable gripping the club and once you have found the right grip size dont let anybody talk you out of it.
 
Neil, I am not sure that you can completely blame the grip for the bad behavior of your clubs but in this case, it sure sounds like the change could be the problem.
 
Hope this gives you a better grip on the problem.
Frank
 
Click to purchase the Frog PutterFrank 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@franklygolf.com
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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.