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 letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com
 
Frank,
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

 
G.,
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

 
Gerald,
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.
 

Frank,
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

 
Ted,
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 letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com
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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

“It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

“I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


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Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

“I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

“I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

“If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.