QA Size DOES Matter

By Frank ThomasAugust 22, 2007, 4:00 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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 
Frank,
 
I was under the impression that if one took a driver head and simply kept changing shafts---with different lengths, torque, flexes, etc'you would eventually find a shaft that would make the ball go farther (assuming you always hit the same ball with each new shaft). Now, I am told that swing speed will not change very much at all with the different shafts. Which is it? I am 65 years old, have a single digit handicap, (and have since I was a kid). Would going on a launch monitor and hitting different balls, always with the same driver, produce one ball that would go farther? I currently use a Callaway HX Hot ball, and I hit it between 245 and 255 yards. Thanks for any help.
--Hank

 
Hank,
 
Driving distance is related directly to clubhead speed. By changing shaft flex, kick point, weight and torque, you may be able to make some relatively small changes to the launch conditions, but more importantly you will, by trial and error, find the shaft that you feel most comfortable swinging consistently and thus the one in which youll develop some degree of confidence. This may take some time, and it could be expensive. This confidence, however, often leads to an improved swing, and a better swing will in turn generally lead to increased distance.
 
If you change shaft length, you will be able to generate more club head speed, but you do this at the risk of losing accuracy and control. All that the vast majority of us need is a standard shaft, choosing only the flex rating that best suits our swing speed.
 
To increase your distance, assuming you dont want to change your swing, you need to optimize your launch conditions for your particular head speed (Click here for the guidelines of head speeds and launch conditions). If you want to increase your carry distance, launch the ball higher and decrease the spin rate, though this will not give you maximum overall distance under average turf conditions.
 
To change your launch conditions, you should first work with the loft of the driver, then your impact position on the clubface. Higher impact will produce less spin and a higher launch angle. After that, you can then experiment with ball type, and last work on shaft kick point etc. for minor tweaking. Before you get to the point of such tweaking, though, you need to be hitting the ball very consistently; otherwise youre just spinning your wheels.
 
If you are now hitting the ball 245 to 255 yards, you shouldnt be too concerned about messing with club properties, but rather work on your flexibility and strength. This will increase your range of motion and stamina, which will allow you to maintain your current very good driving distance for years to come.
 
Hope this helps,
Frank
 
Frank,
 
Most of my golf is played on relatively flat greens that probably roll about 10 on a Stimpmeter. I find that when I play greens with more contour and more speed (12 and up), I am totally out of synch. Im a six handicap and consider myself a good putter until I get to fast greens with pronounced contour. I know Im not alone in this dilemma, but do you have any suggestions? Does a lighter putter help?
 
Thanks,
--Fred

 
Fred,
 
When I introduced the redesigned Stimpmeter in 1977 (the concept was originally developed by Eddie Stimpson in the 1930s, and I called it the Stimpmeter in his honor), the average green speed for everyday play at most municipal golf courses and country clubs was 6' 6'.
 
I developed a table at that time recommending that 6' 6' was good for everyday speed, but for competition play 8' 6 ' was a good speed. In major competitions the speed should be around 10 ' 6' for average undulations, but faster for flat greens and slower for greens with significant undulations. If the greens are too fast, for any number of reasons, you limit the number of places on the green where the cup can be cut.
 
Agronomic practices have improved so much, and new techniques have been developed to speed up greens without destroying them, that its no longer a challenge to speed up greens. In fact, fairways can now approach the texture and speed of greens as we remembered them many years ago. At the 1998 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, I measured the speed of the fairway on one hole and found it was 6' 6'. It was being cut with triplex mowers designed originally for greens; this is no longer unusual for championship play.
 
Fortunately, some common sense has become part of the process of deciding how fast to make the greens. The undulations and general slope of the green are increasingly being considered. 12 feet on the Stimpmeter is too fast for most greens, and if there are any significant undulations then a speed of 12' is an out-and-out mistake.
 
Fred, there is absolutely no need to get a lighter putter for fast greens; all you need is a consistent putting stroke with a slow rhythm. Since youre a good putter, you know that the distance you take the putter head back on the backstroke should be the only variable for different length putts. On faster greens you simply need to reduce the length of the backstroke. Putts on fast greens will break significantly more than on slow greens for the same slope, so this too should be carefully considered.
 
Hope this gets you back into synch.
 
Frank
 
Frank,
 
I thought I read somewhere that the depth of a golf club head from the face to the back could not exceed the width across the face. It seems to me that there are quite a few putters that do not conform to this.
--Thomas

 
Thomas,
 
You are partially right in your assumption about the dimensions for a club. The distance from the toe to the heel must be greater than from the face to the back. When I rewrote this rule in 1984, it carefully specified that the measurement be made from the vertical projections of the outer most points of the toe and the heel and the face to the back. The heel for traditionally shaped heads (woods, etc.) is defined .875 inches above the ground when the club is at address. In putters, generally the measurements are taken at the outermost points of the heel and the toes and face and back. Thomas, Im not surprised that you think there are many putters that dont conform with this rule, but in fact they just look that way.
 
I wouldnt feel too bad about this, because I too on many occasions thought that a specific putter did not conform because it was too deep from the face to the back, but when I made the measurement I found I was mistaken. It is an optical illusion that fools us in many cases.
 
Im sure there are some putters that dont conform out there, but fewer than you think, and certainly none that were submitted to and approved by the USGA. Our eyes often fool us in golf; this is one of those times.
 
Keep on looking.
Frank
 
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
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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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.