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
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,

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.
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,

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.
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,

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
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.