QA Reshafting and Knock-Offs

By Frank ThomasFebruary 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 
Hi, Frank:
 
I was just wondering about reshafting my old favorite clubs. Is it worth it to reshaft clubs? The clubs Im speaking of are Browning 500's (blades, approximately 15 years old). I think theyre almost a collectors item and I really love and miss playing with them. I currently use Titleist 990's and I like them as well, but I just miss the feel of my old Brownings.
 
Does a club-head itself lose some of its pop and/or distance with time, or is it more the shaft? Will reshafting bring the oldies back to life, or should I just let them rest ? I would really appreciate it if you could clear up this situation for me.
 
Thank you very much,
Scott

 
Scott,
Your 15-year-old Browning 500 blades are ready for retirement. Not because they are losing their oomph, because they don't do this. Generally, its the person at the grip end of the club which has a problem with the Oomph factor as time goes by. Neither the heads nor the shafts wear out, but grooves, grips and golfers do.
 
If you like your Titleist 990s, then find a place on the mantel or a warm place in the basement for your Browning 500s. Iron technology hasn't changed much recently, but you are certainly ready for an upgrade with 15-year-old clubs -- as you have already realized, since youve done something about it.
 
Also, you should look into some hybrids that match your iron set and have the same flex shaft as the fairway woods. If you don't have a gap wedge, make sure you also get one of these -- about 50- to 52-degree loft to fill the gap between your pitching and sand wedges. Check out my guide to hybrids and wedges by visiting my Web site
 
Say something nice to your Browning 500s for me when you find a deserving place for them.
Frank
 
Hi Frank,
 
I currently play with a set of off-the-rack, three-years-old standard loft/lie irons from a reputable manufacturer. I do not carry a handicap, but I usually score in the low 80's. I played with a club pro who advised me that I would benefit from a set of properly fitted clubs, which I both understand and agree with.
 
During a static fitting, my wrist measured 37.5 inches from the ground, which indicates I need clubs that are more upright than standard. I have not experienced any real directional problems with my irons; if I do lose a shot the tendency is to hook it, which I am told is the opposite tendency for someone who is playing irons with too flat a lie angle. My divots are rather shallow but are usually even in their depth. I also realize that my posture, stance, and swing motion do have an affect on my club position as I strike the ball, and you can't see this. However, I would like to know, before spending between $700-$900 for new irons, is there that much of a performance difference between two sets of irons that are only separated by about one or two degrees in their respective lie angles? Are there any studies that put a average yardage dispersion on clubs at each lie angle if a single golfer were to hit those clubs at each lie angle? Any information you could provide will be greatly appreciated.
 
Thank you,
Mike

 
Mike,
I am so pleased that youve written to me before you laid down $700 to $900 for a new set of clubs only because of concern about the lie angle.
 
First of all, from the description of your game, divot pattern and ball flight, I don't think you have a lie problem at all. You are correct in your assumption that if your lie angle was too flat the ball would be going off to the right with a slight fade. This, you say, is not the problem; in fact, you indicate that when you lose a shot it goes to the left with a slight hook, which would suggest that the lie angle -- if this was the problem -- is too upright.
 
As I said, I don't think you have a lie angle problem, but if you want to be sure and test this, use a piece of pressure-sensitive tape on the sole of the test club (generally a 6-iron) and hit a few balls off a lie board. If the scuff mark on the tape is not in the center of the sole, and your ball flight is not straight, then you (or a local club maker) can make a lie adjustment by bending the club head. This is certainly not going to cost you $700+.
 
Iron technology has not changed very much in the last several (in fact, in the last ten or more) years, so if youre happy with the way you hit the ball with your three-year-old standard set (standards generally fit most of us) then you don't really need another set. You will not hit the ball any farther or measurably straighter with a new set unless you frequently miss the sweet spot and are playing with a set of irons (blades) designed for the elite golfer.
 
While your set is definitely not old in iron terms, you might want to look into getting one or two hybrids if you don't carry these in your bag already. Look for the same manufacturer as your irons and/or talk to your pro and get his advice on some hybrids. Dump your 3- and even 4-iron and replace them with hybrids of the same loft but no more than an inch longer than the iron it is replacing. You will have a lot more fun hitting these than the long irons.
 
I hope this will save you some money and a bunch of grief. Mike, there are some 'lies' that you can't rely on.
Frank
 
Frank,
Can you tell me how close and/or how different 'knock-off' clubs and brand-named clubs are? More importantly, for the average player/hacker, would it make more sense to go with the more economical 'knock-offs?'
 
Thank you,
Steve

 
Steve,
The answer is a resounding NO.
 
My definition of a knock-off is a club that closely resembles a popular product. In some cases it even has a name that at first sight might be confused with the product its trying to copy.
 
This is not good idea, even though they may be less expensive. I would certainly not want to fly in a plane with a knock-off engine called Roils Royse instead of the real thing ( i.e. Rolls Royce). Why then would I want to trust my drive off the tee or the rest of my golf game to a Bigg Berta or the like?
 
In some cases the knock-offs are not as blatant as the example above, or dont actually violate trademark laws, but if you want the performance offered by the real thing, you should stick with the original product. There might be a difference in the method of manufacture; there will almost certainly be a difference in quality control and consistency. By manufacturing a knockoff, the producer has demonstrated a willingness to cut corners; you have to wonder what other compromises its made in the quality of the club.
 
A better way to get prime performance at a discounted price is to go for last years model, which should still work very well. The laws of physics dont change much, and certainly not from year to year. New clubs will certainly, in most cases, have some improvements, but those differences are usually extremely minor from a performance standpoint. So go for the real thing, and if price is a factor then most of the models introduced over the previous couple of years will be a good buy.
 
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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

Getty Images

McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

Getty Images

What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x