QA Optimizing Distance No Back Swing - COPIED

By Frank ThomasJuly 2, 2008, 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
 
Two Sets of Rules: Survey Comments
 
As promised, I have read all the comments (51,000 words) from our reader survey stimulated by the question of whether the time has come to have two sets of rules.
 
In the first instance, our readers have commented that course setup should be the way to deal with extraordinary performance of the best players not equipment rules changes. They also believe that adopting a 10-club rules is worth while considering as a local rule to challenge the superstars rather than changing equipment rules which will affect all golfers.
 
Of those who think we should have two sets of rules they believe that the ball needs to be changed for the pros.
 
A large group believe that the super stars are good and they will inevitably continue to break records so dont fret it.
 
There are a good number of our readers who want the game to be left alone as it is in good shape.
 
The results of the four-question survey were provided in a previous column.
The comments have taken some time to digest and a sampling of these can be found by clicking here.
 
Thank you to all who took part and hope you all have a very Happy Holidays. Ill be back with some more frank talk in the New Year.
 
Frank

 
Hi Frank,
I look forward to and enjoy reading your Q&A's.
 
It seems the general opinion for optimum launch conditions for a driver (to obtain maximum distance) are 12 to 14 degrees launch angle with spin between 2200 and 2700 rpm. For a ball speed of between 145 to150 mph.
 
Are there optimum launch parameters for the other clubs as well; fairway metals, hybrids, and irons? Again assuming the golfer is skilled with a low handicap.
 
Thank you.
--Rex

 
Rex,
Your question is one, which others have asked so I think it is time to clear up a possible misconception. When we talk about optimum launch conditions, we are not really talking about any specific club, but rather the launch angle and spin rate to give you maximum distance for a particular ball speed, which is directly related to head speed. In most cases when you are looking for maximum distance, you use your driver. So all the charts and guidelines assume that you are using your driving club.
 
As you know, based on the guideline provided (see www.franklygolf.com/tgc/launch.asp) to get maximum distance you need first to establish a head speed. Once you know this then the optimum conditions to obtain the maximum distance is fixed assuming central impact to get maximum ball speed.
 
If, for example your head speed is 75 mph (ball speed is approximately 110 mph) then you need to launch the ball at about 14.5 degrees with a spin rate of about 3,000 to 3,500 rpm. A driver will provide the maximum spring-like effect but otherwise it doesnt matter what club you are using. Whereas at a head speed of 120 mph (ball speed is approximately 177 mph) a launch angle of 12 degrees and 2,200 would be ideal for maximum distance.
 
At the high head speeds of 110 mph, a 13-degree lofted 3-wood will not be able to launch the ball anywhere close to its optimum launch conditions. Both the launch angle and the spin rate will be too high, which are conditions better suited for a slow swing speed. This is why at some very slow head speeds for some golfers a 3-wood will go farther than a driver.
 
In most cases, however, because some drivers now have up to 15-degrees of loft it is better to use a driver than the same loft on a 3-wood. The reason is that the driver has the added benefit of the spring-like effect which will give you maximum ball speed for your swing speed.
 
The bottom line is that every club in your bag has a set of launch conditions depending on swing technique and head presentation and speed. For maximum distance, however, you select the driving club, which will give you the maximum ball speed for your swing speed. At this ball speed there are a set of optimum launch conditions, for maximum distance.
 
The club selection you make is dependent on the sort of flight path and the distance you want to hit the ball. If the six-iron doesnt go far enough then you select the five-iron etc..

Launch monitors will tell you what distance you are hitting each club based on the launch conditions. Only with a driver, will fitters try to optimize these conditions for maximum distance.
 
Rex, each instrument has its purpose and we must use them accordingly.
-- Frank
 
Frank,
Can you comment on the No Back Swing concept. It seemed reasonable, especially the comparison to a baseball batter. So I tried it in the living room and it feels pretty good, but when I take it to the range I am not as smooth. So I said to myself, I'm a 10.2 and I am told that I have a good swing, so why change so drastically?
 
I enjoy your columns,
--Mark

 
Mark,
I know this is not truly an equipment question but because you are swinging a club I have an excuse to comment and give you my opinion which you have asked of me.
 
First, I think the idea of No back swing is interesting and believe that if you start at the top of your back swing you eliminate a lot of the errors associated with getting the club into that position. However, I dont believe you load your body as well as you do with the traditional (approximately 500 year old) take away. Starting from the midway position of the back swing may make more sense.
 
I believe that the No back swing is considered a training drill rather than a prescribed method of playing golf.
 
What is more important, is that when you start talking to yourself, .. So I said to myself, I'm a 10.2 and I am told that I have a good swing, so why change so drastically? you should start listening.
 
They say that talking to yourself is something, which is a questionable habit, but what is worse is telling yourself jokes and laughing at the ones you havent heard before.
 
More seriously, however, is that the answer to your own question i.e. so why change is right on the money. This is also something, which you can apply to your entire equipment selection procedure.
 
There is no doubt that some new things come along like Hybrids and Gap wedges etc and we need to try them but dont substitute these for something that works.
 
There is nothing more important than confidence in your equipment, and this often takes time to develop. If you dont have this confidence because of ill-fitted equipment or any other reason then is the time to look for something else.
 
So keep looking but dont give up a good thing.
 
In your case, a good swing.
--Frank
 
Hoppy HolidaysFrank 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

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.