QA Looking for Distance in 2008

By Frank ThomasJanuary 2, 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
I am 68, using a King Cobra stiff graphite since 94. Lost speed and distance - how do I find the right shaft for new clubs in '08?

Happy New Year.
I will try to turn over a new leaf in 2008 and shorten up on my answers to the many of the questions I will be asked this year, by not get caught up in extraneous but interesting related technical matters. At least this is my plan.
Because you have such a short question, I will start my New Year by giving a short answer.
Mike, I can help you find some more speed and distance now that you have reached 68 and have a fourteen-year-old driver with a stiff graphite shaft.
  • First; you really do need a new driver.
  • Second; assuming you have a head speed of a little less than average approximately 80 to 85 mph this driver should have a loft angle of about 12+ degrees so you can launch the ball at about 14 degrees above the horizontal.
  • Third; this driver should be close to 460 cc in size because this is the size most drivers are today and they all have the maximum COR (spring like effect) to launch the ball faster without changing your clubhead speed and they are all close to an acceptable MOI (forgiveness factor).
  • Fourth; the shaft stiffness should be an R (regular) flex graphite and the club length should not be longer than 45 inches and preferably 44 inches long. This will keep you in the fairway more often and on average increase your overall length.
  • Fifth; start doing some strength and flexibility exercises (after getting permission from your doctor). Stretching after proper warm-up will increase your range of motion and increase your head speed.
  • Sixth; if Santa didnt leave a wallet full of money in your stocking then buy last years model of driver which will be half price and just as good as this years.
  • Last; you will need to work on your game and put some of the money you save buying last years model of driver toward a lesson or two.
    Did I just break my New Years Resolution?
    Good golfing in 2008 and for many more years.
    I am one of those guy's that has a large stomach. How does it affect my swing?

    I think most of us are suffering from the same problem right now after the recent Gobble-Days so dont feel alone. Because you are in the midwest now and the weather is not good for golf, you may be able to start working on the size of the problem.
    In most cases, it (a large abdominal protuberance) is considered a little bit of a hindrance to making a good swing. Some have been able to overcome this obstacle but it would probably be better to reduce the size of the bulge, which will allow you to have more options in your swing repertoire. Whatever you do, dont ever think of giving up the game because of this protrusion and take some solace from the fact that you have more weight to throw around.
    Happy New Year
    Hi Frank!!
    Enjoy your insight on golf and the rules. Here is an easy one, while on the green I putt and the ball goes all the way off the green. Am I able to leave the pin in? This came up last week and we were not sure.

    The answer is YES you can leave the pin in because you are not on the green.
    If you enjoy this column, then I know you are going to enjoy my book which will be published before the Spring. If you would like updates, please sign up as a Frankly Friend by visiting here . Enter your email address and click on book. I will keep in touch and you can then reserve one of the first signed copies off the press.
    Happy New Year.
    Frank Thomas new imageFrank 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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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.