QA Quieting the Big Bang

By Frank ThomasAugust 28, 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
I have a favorite pitching wedge that's a couple of years old and seems to have lost some 'bite' off of the face. While I know that the grooves may well be worn a bit, would it be possible/feasible to have the face lightly re-sandblasted to restore some of its 'tooth'?

Nick Price
Nick Price questions what the USGA will do to limit driver distance on 'Ask Frank,' Monday, Sept. 3 on GC at 11:00 p.m. ET. (Wire Image)
The grooves in your wedges will certainly wear down if you have been using these clubs for some time, especially out of the sand or sandy soil conditions on the range or elsewhere.
There are a few things you can do to restore the bite in your wedge. I would suggest that you contact or call them at (740)-328-4193 to find out what you need to do. Dont try to do this yourself without the proper tools. The face must first be belt-sanded to clean up and flatten the surface. This removes a thin layer of material from the surface, but not enough to affect the club weight significantly. The grooves are then reworked (milled) into the face. If the club was forged, then it has to be re-chromed, but most wedges are investment cast from stainless steel so this will not be necessary.
You should also know that under completely dry conditions where there is no grass between the face and the ball, grooves dont matter and a sand blasted face will provide enough friction to give you as much spin as any set of grooves. It is out of light rough -- i.e., 1 to 3 inches deep and not too dense -- that grooves affect performance and the type of groove makes a difference. When the rough is both dense and 3-inches deep or more, the groove type is no longer important. Therefore, if its under the light rough conditions that youre finding your wedge has lost its bite, then the steps above will do something to restore its performance.
A worn groove may still be used in the worn state BUT you should know that once you modify the clubface it is considered as new from a rules point of view and must conform with the very specific groove and other specifications drawn by the USGA. This is only important if you choose to play by the rules. I am an advocate of playing by the Rules of Golf, but I am finding it difficult to support some of the rules changes recently adopted or in the proposal stages.
The USGA has proposed a change to the groove specifications that would reduce the size of the groove by 50%. They believe that Tiger and his colleagues are not finding the light rough very much of a penalty or even a hazard. In a recent Golf World article, a USGA official in the equipment department implies that long rough is too much of a hazard and adds,That isnt golf. The rough isnt supposed to be a hazard. This was cited as the reason why we should not grow longer rough for the pros instead of changing the groove specs.
So if this is true, everybody who has played golf and has considered rough a hazard, (anywhere from a to a full stroke penalty) is wrong because rough isn't supposed to be a hazard.
It is this type of logic and reasoning that has diminished my ability to fully support some of the recent changes and proposals, which I believe will detrimentally affect millions of golfers unnecessarily.
More importantly, there is no evidence provided that these changes will make the game better; as a result, I fear such decisions will lead to an erosion of support and confidence in the USGA from its constituents, which is very bad for golf. If this proposed change in the standards for grooves in everyones irons is adopted, the USGA will force all golfers either to buy new clubs or to knowingly break the rules.
Bill, if you think that the bite in your wedge is not what you want, by all means treat your clubface or have someone do it for you. I dont know if youll find a lot of difference in performance, but youll feel more confidence with a club you know you like. Unfortunately, all of us are facing the loss of our favorite clubs if the USGA decides to take a bite out of the enjoyment of our game by adopting the new groove rule.
This is not groovy.
I have a new square-headed driver. It sounds like an aluminum bat when you hit it.
Is there anything that can be done to it?

I think this is the nature of the beast. Theres not much you can do to the head without changing its performance properties. The sound can be dampened if you drill a small hole in the head and inject a light urethane-like foam to fill the cavity. This, however, is not recommended; it will increase the weight of the head, and will rob your friends of the opportunity to give you a hard time about noise pollution whenever youre on the course. There are other obvious solutions, which I am sure you may considered. These are:
a) Trade it in for another large forgiving head, one that doesnt alert the entire golf course when youve hit another drive.
b) Collect the earplugs provided by many airlines on overnight flights. These, if inserted, correctly will help in two ways: save your own ears while decreasing the volume to your inner ear and muffle the castigation from your fellow competitors, but more importantly prevent your jerking wince just before impact in anticipation of the explosive sound of impact.
c) Dont use this driver and position it over your mantelpiece to remind you of the purchase. This, however, would be a waste of money and not permit you the thrill of believing that the decibel level of impact relates directly to the increased distance you get.
Sorry to be so unhelpful in this case, but Im afraid you must live with this sound if you want to continue to use it without changing its performance benefits -- or at least those claimed in the promotional brochures.
I hope this answer sounds right.
Hi Frank,
Great column!!! Which type of hybrid is better: one that is flat faced like an iron, or one that is more like a fairway wood with bulge and roll? Thanks for your help.

I believe that most hybrids are now being made with a bulge and roll, even though this will vary in radius. (The bulge is the radius across the face from the toe to heel and the roll is the radius from the top to the bottom.) The reason for this is that the center of gravity (c.g.) is farther away from the face in hybrids than it is in most irons.
This deep location of the c.g. will put a sidespin on the ball when you hit it on the toe of the club, tending to give the ball a slight draw trajectory. This is called the gear effect, and its very pronounced when the c.g. is even farther back from the face, as in drivers. In clubs with a large face (up and down) and a c.g. deep into the center of the head, the roll also has a gear effect. A ball hit on the upper portion of the face will have less spin than one hit on the bottom of the face.
During impact, which only lasts .00045 of a second (220 times shorter than it takes you to blink your eye) the club head will twist about its c.g. if its mis-hit -- i.e., off the sweet spot. (It will not twist about the shaft, as many believe. Thus the shaft and any of its properties such as torque, stiffness, kick-point or weight play no part in the way the ball flies once contact has been made between the club face and the ball.) The purpose of bulge and roll are to give the ball a little nudge in a direction away from the center line when youve hit the ball off-center. This sounds like a bad idea, but it helps compensate for the gear effect: if your ball is going to draw from a toe-hit, you want it to start a little farther right, so the draw spin will bring it back to the middle where you want it. Hope this bulge and roll will keep you rocking down the fairway.
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
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.