QA Shaft Kick-Point Variations

By Frank ThomasAugust 14, 2006, 4:00 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
I have a Driver clubhead speed of 106. What type of shaft should I be using with respect to the 'kick-point'? Some of my friends say I need a mid 'kick-point' on the shaft while others say because I have a low trajectory that I need a low 'kick-point' to get a higher ball flight. I am confused, whats this all about? G. Gomez, Arizona

With a head speed of 106 mph you are in the Stiff to even X-stiff shaft. This does depend on how fast you accelerate the club. The pros who have 110 + mph head speeds will tend to the X-stiff shaft. Most of us need a Regular flex shaft but believe that we swing faster than we do and base our shaft selection on our beliefs rather than on reality. Once you have the shaft flex that suites you best then you are in a position to tweak your trajectory using kick point variations.
The initial change should be to change loft. If your trajectory is too low then increase the loft or in your case decrease the loft to lower the launch angle. When you start hitting the ball very consistently and the launch angle is not to your liking then you can start working on the Kick Point adjustment to get both the angle and spin you are looking for. A low kick point will mean that the shaft, which tends to bend forward just before impact, will do so from a smaller radius (the lower kick point) and the head will tend to rotate under a little more and present more loft to the ball. A higher kick point will do the opposite i.e. rotate about a larger radius and reduce the effective loft and lower the launch angle. I would suggest that you not concern yourself with kick point unless you are very consistent, hit the ball a long way and want to tweak your launch condition. Work with a standard shaft flex pattern and change loft.

Hello Frank,
I enjoy your comments and articles. Recently while visiting a golf shop with a launch monitor I found that my results were better with the same flex shaft but with a heavier weighted shaft. Club head speed and launch conditions all improved. I was surprised because I thought all of this lighter stuff was suppose to increase distance.
Thanks, Gerald Barton

There is no good reason why the heavier shaft would change your launch conditions measurably. The difference in weight between shafts is not significant enough to alter even the head speed by more that a couple of mph based on the amount maximum amount of reduction you can get out of modern shafts. Also shaft weight is not going to affect other launch conditions measurably unless you are very consistent in your impact conditions and in the class of some of the better professionals. So I dont believe that it is to do with shaft weight difference but rather with some of the other properties which are different, such as overall shaft flex. This is very important as proper shaft flex which better matches your swing speed and swing style will allow you to transfer energy more efficiently to the club head and affect club face presentation. I think you have found a more efficient shaft/flex/head weight, combination for your swing rather than only a shaft weight change.

I know you will know. With the max length of a shaft limited to 48'. How do you measure the shaft? Tip of shaft to top of hosel, or to bottom of head? Or some other way?
Thanks, Ted Aresta

The USGA has adopted a limit of 48 inches as the maximum club length. This was because sometime in the future someone may be able to swing a shaft of this length or longer and continue to hit longer distances (which the USGA doesnt like to see) especially on the Tour. This is not really of any concern, as the tour players have access to long clubs but have chosen to use about 44 inch clubs, on average, as they have found this to be the most efficient length to get the job of distance and accuracy done. The few people who have migrated to longer shafts are those with relatively slow swing speeds and have lost distance. Some have moved to a 47 or 48 inch club and remember only those long drives which allow them bragging rights for a month or two. There are few stories about the balls which find their way into the woods. Sorry to have digressed from the question but thought you might be interested in this little bit of information. To measure the length of a club, lay it on a flat surface like a table top with the toe pointing upward in the air. Place a thin sheet of cardboard on the sole of the club such that it also makes contact with the table. The angle between this sheet of cardboard and the table top should be about 60 degrees. Where this cardboard makes contact with the table top is the start point of the measurement. The length of the club is from this point to the end of the grip of the club. On a driver (the club the USGA is trying to regulate) the lie angle is about 60 degrees and thus the angle selected.
If I have any advice to give it would be to not make your driver to the maximum limit as it will lead to more problems than it is worth. Hope this has helped and now you know how the length of a club is measured.
Frank 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

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''