QA Men Using Womens Clubs

By Frank ThomasSeptember 12, 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
Dear Frank:
Thanks for the great web site. I wait for each week's questions.
I noticed today your discussion with someone whose 3-wood is 'too long'. I am 5'8' and find it virtually impossible to swing any of the longer (standard) men's drivers and get my wrists closed so as not to slice like crazy. It feels to me like a brick on the end of a shaft. I've tried most of the $200-$500 drivers in the bays at my local Golfsmith, and the result is always the same.
My solution was to go to a shorter driver, namely my wife's women's Adams Ovation Driver, which is both shorter and light as a feather. I may not outdrive a lot of men, but I feel like it gives me the confidence to automatically close my wrists and my drives are now generally very straight.
Am I crazy for using a woman's club, or smart?
-- Ed

You are not crazy and therefore must be smart.
There is no reason why you should not use shorter clubs. The shorter the club, the more control you have; also, the lower the swing weight, all else (such as head weight) being equal. This is one reason why it feels lighter than your own 'Big Stick'.
The guidelines I have proposed for some time suggest using a standard set with the appropriate shaft flex but a shorter than standard driver. This seems to be catching on, and many golfers are reporting success with this concept and gaining confidence on the tee.
In the long run, golfers prefer to shoot a lower score rather than hit the occasional long drive when all the stars are in synchrony and they just happen to get it all together. On these few occasions -- which are fun -- we do feel some pride about how great we are, but this doesn't last long.
You are not crazy; most golfers will find that when it comes to drivers, shorter is better. Glad you are enjoying the Q and A's. Be sure to sign up as a Frankly Friend for weekly Q and A alerts by clicking here.
-- Frank
Thank you for your intelligent insights and advice. I enjoy reading both your editorials and Q and A articles.
In many of your articles, you discuss the proper length of the club shaft. How, exactly, do you measure the shaft of a golf club?
Thank you.
-- Jay

You have asked a question about shaft length because I have referred to it so often in my weekly Q&As and also in various articles. What we are really talking about is not shaft length but club length.
Because of the various head designs and the methods used to assemble clubs, the shaft length may vary significantly even though the club length is the same. Because club length is more important than shaft length, when referring to length we should always use the full assembled club length.
A common method of measuring length, which is not very accurate, is to measure from the grip end to the sole/heel intersecting point. A slightly improved method, taking into account the radius on the sole, is to make the measurement by placing a rigid measuring stick (extended yardstick) under the shaft when the club is in the normal address position and reading off the measurement to the end of the butt cap of the grip from where it rests on the ground. This is close, but the actual length may be a little longer than this measurement.
The most accurate and consistent method is to measure the distance from the end of the butt cap of the grip, along the axis of the shaft, to where this line intersects the level surface on which the club is resting when in its normal address position. This is a little more cumbersome because a special fixture may be needed.
Having explained all this, I can say with some assurance from a golfers performance point of view that as little as ' is not going to mean very much at all to your performance. Such small differences dont matter; however, some manufacturers furtively increase the length by more than an inch, widening the arc of the swing to help the golfer hit longer drives. I have a definite problem with this practice. If those manufacturers who lengthen drivers without telling us had any integrity, they would include in the box with the driver a snake bite kit, because the golfer is going to spend a lot of time searching for his ball in some nasty places.
Hope this is not too long, but there is no short answer.
-- Frank
Hi Frank,
I have a question on spin rate.
I am 52 and have been playing golf for about 7 years. My average driving distance is about 230 yards using a Pro-Launch 65 Regular shaft with an 11.5 degree loft 460cc head. I usually play Pro-Staff TRUE balls. My normal ball flight is fairly high (fly 220 and roll 10). Occasionally my ball will balloon up and block to the right.
Should I try to lower my ball flight? If yes, should I reduce the loft of my driver or change the shaft or try another type of ball? How does shaft weight and ball type affect spin rate? Is Pro-Launch 65 the right shaft for my swing speed (80-85 MPH)? Some club fitters suggest switching to a lighter shaft.
-- Steven

With an 80 to 85 mph head speed, you are getting a very good distance already. If, however, you are looking for a little lower ball flight with a little more roll, I would try a lower spinning ball to begin with, followed by trying to hit the ball slightly higher on the face. This changed impact point will help by decreasing the spin; it will increase the height of the initial launch angle, but the ball wont balloon on you as much. If this fails, then a change to the loft of the club may be called for -- not a shaft change.
A shaft change to get distance may take you out of your comfort zone if you like the shaft you have, and this will not be good for your confidence and may detrimentally affect your distance. Your driving distance is about 35 yards farther than the average male golfer's drive. At 52 you are, however, a good candidate for a strength and stretching regimen to increase your range of motion. This will add more yards than any new club, and it doesn't have to be a major chore. Moderate daily exercise, especially the stretching part of it, will do wonders; the problem is we need to do it.
Stretch the body rather than the wallet.
-- 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
Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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