QA Sharpening Grooves

By Frank ThomasFebruary 12, 2008, 5:00 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

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one lucky golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Gary, with his question on length and loft.
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Loved your answer to Mark last week about his Ping Eye 2s. Also liked the tie-in to the cheating that goes on with loft angles on more modern iron sets.
I have a question about whether it is legal to sharpen the square grooves with a square groove tool on my Eye 2s. I have been doing it and really dont compete in anything where that kind of a rule would make any difference, but I am curious none-the-less. The square groove tool does work as I really rip curlie-Qs off the covers of soft balls with my PW. Also am I being foolish sticking with my Eye 2s even though I have over $2000 credit on the books at my Country Club pro-shop? Plus I think I like being different.

Thanks for your kind comments.
When it comes to reworking your grooves with a square groove tool, I would be careful. This will very likely make the grooves non-conforming by increasing the size of the groove. The groove pitch (grooves per inch) will not change but with wider grooves, the ratio of land area between grooves, to groove width to will most likely be reduced to less than the required minimum of 3:1. This will make them non-conforming with the rules of golf. You say you, dont compete in anything where that kind of a rule would make any difference which is not true because the rules apply even if you are playing by yourself.
If you dont play by the rules this is OK, but you do need to have some rules to lend order to your game and should adopt these every time you play. If you compete for a beer or something else against your buddies then you must let them know what your rules (Bruces Rules) are so they too can play by your rules. For most of us it is too cumbersome to develop a new set of rules so we find is easier to adopt those drawn up by the USGA & R&A in Scotland. I must agree there are some rules, which dont seem to make intuitive sense and need to be changed. If a lot of us agree that a particular rule needs modification then we should lobby to get it changed rather than intentionally violate it.
I think, if you have been reading my columns you know that I am on your side and trying to stop the USGA from making meaningless and silly rules which will affect all of us, because it is trying to solve a perceived problem created by less than .001% of the golfing population i.e. some members of the PGA Tour. The game is hard enough and we need all the help we can get.

With regard to help, the fact that you are tearing the cover off your ball with your sharpened grooves does not mean you are getting the maximum spin available to you. The cover actually needs to stay intact, like an elastic rubber band and allowed to fully recover once it has been stretched. If the cover rips after it has been stretched, it would be like cutting a rubber band when it is fully stretched. It will lose its potential energy to recover and spin the ball to it maximum. Also as the ball is leaving the club face it wants the very least shear resistance as possible allowing it to slide off the face. The sharp grooves will reduce the potential spin by holding it back while the cover is stuck in the grooves on the face. There is a fine line between what groove configuration is most efficient under certain conditions but really sharp groove are not the best.
The second thing, which you must consider is that feathers on the surface of the ball ' created by the sharp grooves --will affect the aerodynamics significantly and you will lose distance and accuracy. So this ball should find a place in your shag bag and this can become very expensive if you use premium balls.
Lastly, you are not foolish by sticking with you PING Eye-2s especially if you have made good friends with them, have a good level of confidence and they are performing well for you. These are the classic clubs, which started the cavity-back high MOI revolution. Having said this I must admit that even though iron technology hasnt moved as rapidly as wood (driver) technology, because there is not much room to move, things have changed and many of the good concepts have been refined. So even if you love your Eye-2s at least look around, especially because the grooves on your Eye-2s are soon going to be over worked.
By the way, I discuss these and many such issues in my book Just Hit It which is now available... see to order.
I know you will have a lot of fun reading it.
Enjoy the book and your game.
-- Frank
Hi Frank, I am a 55 year old golfer who has been playing golf for over 40 years, I now have a set of Callaway X-14 irons with 5.0 Rifle shafts. I am thinking of changing to either the Callaway X-20's or the new Ping G10's. I am a 10 handicap player. Will I see any changes? I enjoy reading you weekly. Thanks.


If you think it is time to change then this means one of two things:
a) You are not very happy with your present set and have lost confidence in the way they perform and/or
b) You are caught up in the net of hype and marketing directed at those of us who are gullible and believe in magic -- most of us. This belief in magic is augmented by implications, which imply that last years model doesnt work as well anymore because the latest new model has wonderful enhancements which will significantly improve your performance.
If it is a) then yes, I think you should start looking around. I dont think it will be the new head which will affect performance as much as a better fitted shaft and the correct lie angle. A new set will certainly improve your outlook and give you a new sense confidence. The new clubs, after all, havent hit any bad shots so why wouldnt you trust them especially if you paid a lot for them.
If it is b) then be careful because there are few technical improvements in irons, which will significantly enhance your performance. You may be better off reconfiguring your set by dumping the long irons and including a couple of hybrids and check to see if you have the right loft, lie and bounce on your wedges. These are your scoring clubs.
If you are going to change sets then I can say that the X-20s are a good set of clubs as are the Ping G-10s which you have indicated you are looking at. But make sure you dont get a 2-iron or 3- iron in the set. They will sit in your bag, feel very lonely, and only take up valuable space needed for you hybrids.
If you sign up as a Frankly Friend by clicking here you will be alerted when we have new helpful and useful information as it is published.
As a golf instructor and a club fitter, I have occasionally been asked by parents of aspiring teenagers to do whatever it takes to take their son/daughter through the High School, College, and Pro levels of golf instruction. The world now knows the adverse results of what can happen when a very good teenager golfer is given financial and notoriety options based on their early performance. I want to protect my students, but also give them sage advice. Since you have been the source of golf information that I can trust and promote, I am inquiring if you have recommendations on what to read, who to consult with, and how to proceed with this 6-8 year step by step project that keeps knocking on my door.
I look forward to your sage advice.


Thanks for the kind comments.
At our Putting Studio in Orlando we have experienced similar problems. Unfortunately, many parents are trying live out a fantasy through their children. This, in most cases, is very innocent and they may not even know the long term effect. Many truly believe pushing their children is in the childs very best interests. This is sometimes very destructive.
A very good reference guide to help both parents and children keep things in perspective is Golf Parent for the Future, which can be found on Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson -- the authors -- are good friends of ours and have done a super job in helping parents in this respect.
Next time you are in Orlando come in and visit our Putting Studio at ChampionsGate. You can learn more about the programs we offer at the Studio by clicking here.
-- Frank
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
Frank Thomas

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.