QA Length Loft

By Frank ThomasFebruary 6, 2008, 5:00 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

If I shorten my driver from say 45 1/2' to 44' will it have any affect on the loft? Would the ball go higher or lower because of the change in length? Thanks for the knowledge you impart!!

If you shorten your driver from 45 to 44 -- which I recommend, if you want to lower your scores and stay in the fairway more often -- it will not change the loft of the driver, but because the shortening will affect the stiffness a little it may decrease the dynamic loft a little. Also a stiffer shaft will generally keep the ball down a little. This decrease in length will definitely affect the swing weight by about nine points so if you have a club head with weight ports, increase the weights to bring the swing weight back partially or if needed, all the way back to your comfort swing weight zone. If the farthest back rear ports are used this may return the dynamic loft back to where it was with the longer driver.
What you will find with your shorter driver is that you will start building confidence in your tee shots, stay in the fairway more often and will most likely make a better swing and certainly hit the sweet spot more often. Hitting the sweet spot will increase the ball speed and you will probably get the same distance on average as you did with your 45 inch driver but wont have to carry your snake bite kit with you any longer.
Tiger, when he played so well in his early days used a 43 1/2 inch driver.
Hope this helps.
-- Frank
I have upgraded to a Titanium driver, but I still use an original Acushnet Bulls-Eye and putt very well. I have been playing Ping Eye 2 + for about ten years. I play to a ten, but my golf became easier when I gave up forged blade irons. How do the Ping Eye 2's stack up against the more modern versions? These are reasonably forgiving, the heads are modest in size and I get sufficient feel especially with todays golf balls. What might I gain from irons with newer technology?
-- Mark

There is no doubt that you can still enjoy your game very much with your Acushnet Bulls-Eye putter and your Ping Eye 2 irons. Your irons are classics and the very club that started the cavity-back revolution. Few iron sets are more user-friendly than your Eye-2s. This does not mean that you should not look around at some of the latest technology in irons but don't get too excited or expect your game to improve significantly if you decide to make the change.
As much as the Bulls-Eye putter is also a classic it is time for a change. My Bulls-Eye is on the shelf with some of my persimmon woods. The reason for a good mallet putter is that you really do want an instrument with as many sources of error removed. We have enough sources of error in our putting stroke that we don't need any more built into the putter.
A good putter should have a high MOI (4,500 to 5,000 gm cm )about the vertical axis but also the horizontal toe/heel axis. This is the case with some of the mallet style putters. The center of gravity (c.g.) should be as low as possible using tungsten (twice as heavy as lead) weights to achieve this. This putter should also have a radius on the sole from toe to heel very similar to the Bulls-Eye. Last, the putter must have a good feel on impact and face balanced if at all possible. The face balancing will tend to square the face at impact if it is off line.
So, for your own sake review what is out there in the market and check out a Frankly Frog. I designed the Frog a few years ago and it was the first in the marketplace to have rear split weighting. You'll notice now how many of the bigger manufacturers have taken this concept and are introducing it as their own. Very flattering, I have to say. Like the Ping Eye 2 irons, it's only true innovations that are imitated.
You can read more about what I believe were the three innovations that changed the game in my upcoming book 'Just Hit It'. It is due for release on the 29th February, but you can reserve your copy by Clicking Here. The first 50 pre-orders this week will received a signed copy.
-- Frank
Hello Frank,
I recently read an article in a leading golf magazine that recommended changing wedges on a regular basis. They stated that wedges begin to loose their bite and efficiency in spinning the ball after about 40 rounds of golf. I discussed this with a friend of mine who is a pro on the Canadian tour and he said he changed his wedges about every 6 months. How often would you recommend that the average 80-90s shooter change their wedges? I realize that these are probably the most important scoring clubs in the bag, but at what point does this begin to make a difference for players at this level?


I am a 5 handicap golfer and havent changed my wedges in three years. The fact is that I am not able to make my wedges do yo-yo tricks on the green the same way Tiger can even if they were brand new. What you should be concerned about is the correct loft, lie and bounce in your wedges. Some manufacturers tried to convince us that their irons where better than those of their competitors, because the same numbered iron hit the ball farther and as a result we have had to live with a change in unwritten loft standards.
The lofts were changed without changing the number on the bottom of the club. The Sand wedge has remained at about 56 degrees, but the Pitching Wedge moved up with the rest of the set and is now about 46 degrees compared to 52 degrees that it was before the cheating started. This forced the birth of the Gap wedge.
Both the Gap wedge and the PW are really a continuation of the sets of the past and dont need a bounce of more than about 8 degrees. The Gap wedge (50 to 54 degree loft) should have a bounce of about 8-10 degrees of bounce with the SW close to 14 degrees of bounce. For the Lob wedge (60 degree loft) the bounce goes back to 6 degrees or even 4 degrees of bounce.
These loft, lie, and bounce properties are those you should be concerned about with your wedges and once you have them sorted then start working on your short game technique. The grooves are important but will not affect your game as much as a little work around the green and/or a lesson. When you and I start shooting in the low 70s on a regularly basis then we can look at and rework the grooves every year.
Not such a groovy answer is it?
-- Frank
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
Frank Thomas

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.