QA Slip-Sliding Away

By Frank ThomasFebruary 27, 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
Frank, Ive noticed that when Im hitting my driver, my feet for some reason turn back and forth like a washing machine. This causes me to be very erratic with my drives. Ive tried buying new shoes, but this doesnt seem to help. I do better when I hit my three-wood and I have no such problem with my irons.
Im a 17 handicap mainly because my drives go anywhere between 160 and 230 yards depending on how much my feet slip. My shot pattern is that the ball generally has tremendous side spin depending on the spin of my feet, and it either goes very high and stops in the fairway and backs up a couple of feet or goes way to the right or left. The only good thing about this is that I am a very good golfer once I get off of the tee. I have had to work on the other parts of my game to make up for my slipping feet.
Can you recommend a drill or a brand of shoes that will keep me from sliding everywhere? This problem easily costs me 5 ' 10 shots per round.
Thank you for any advice you can give me. -- Steve

When I was doing some work at the USGA on swing dynamics, we tried to demonstrate some of the ground forces involved during the swing. This was most successful when we had a three-foot-diameter aluminum disc built, and we mounted it on ball bearings so it would turn easily about a central axis. When I stood on this disc and tried to make a golf swing, my feet would turn in the opposite direction as the takeaway, and opposite again in the downswing. This rotation of the disc got even more exaggerated when the club was swung like a baseball bat, then eased up as the plane of the swing plane became more upright (vertical).
Your swing plane does change from your driver to your wedge, so it makes sense that this is a problem on the drive and not on your irons. It does not make sense, however, for your feet to slip under you during the swing, unless youre hitting from a very slippery wet tee or have no spikes on your shoes. I suspect youre not transferring weight properly, and need to get some good teacher to look at your swing. One drill you might try is to swing with your feet very close together; this will quiet the action of your feet, and make sure youre turning rather than shifting and sliding. You might also try stepping through your swing on the follow through as Gary Player has sometimes suggested.
Good luck and hope this helps.
I recently purchased two Adams Tight Lies Idea iWoods, the 17-degree 3-iron and the 21-degree 4-iron, intending to replace the 3- and 4-irons from my Adams Tight Lies Tour irons. However, contrary to what I've read, I've had much more of a problem hitting these iWoods than I did hitting the regular 3 and 4 irons. Although I've hit a few very solid shots, the vast majority of shots so far have been considerably shorter with the iWoods.
I'm 58 and play to about an 18 handicap. My distances with my 3- and 4-irons were about 180 and 170 yards respectively. Overall, I seem to have lost about 10-15 yards with the iWoods. Any ideas? -- Gerry

Im surprised by what youve told me. The Adams iWood 3 and 4 are hybrids and should perform better than the Idea Tour 3- and 4-irons. The problem may be that you have a considerably higher trajectory than is normal with the hybrids. This may decrease your distance. On the other hand, the shaft flex may not be suitable for your swing and/or the hybrid is more than an inch longer than the iron it is replacing which would account for a decrease in accuracy.
If the flex and length are right, then maybe your game just fits irons better than hybrids. You should go with the clubs that work for you, even if your experience is unique.
For more on hybrids click here.
Frank, I am 59 years old and play to a 1.5 average index. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to maintain my distance, especially with the driver. I play a TM 580 9.5 regular graphite shaft and can only carry the ball about 205- 210 yards. With normal roll I get an average distance of around 220-225 yards. I also have a Titleist 905R 10.5 regular graphite with which I have been repeatedly measured at 220 carry, but the ball comes down dead and I get almost no roll. My accuracy is excellent and I miss very few fairways. I often have to play courses that approach 6900-7000 yards in competition. While my short game is normally very good, the pressure of being 20-40 yards behind my opponents forces me to play in a very non-aggressive manner.
Would you advise trying a longer shaft? Is there anything else that might help me get that 20-30 yards I have lost in the last 5 years? Playing shorter courses is not really an option, as I play in numerous State tournaments. I really enjoy your commentaries and column on the Golf Channel. You seem to call it straight, and thats why Im asking. -- Mike

Don't give up -- we may have a solution. Its not an equipment solution, because I don't think this is an equipment problem. At your swing speed, in the low 80s, about the best you can expect is your carry of 210 yards and a total of 230 with roll.
The best thing you can do is to improve your range of motion. This will give you about 15 to 20 yards more than you have now, assuming you havent already been working on your strength and flexibility. Experiments have shown a significant improvement in club head speed when the range of motion improves. Your only other real option may be to work with a teaching pro to change your technique ' though with a handicap of 1.5 you probably shouldnt look to change too much.
The average male drives the ball 192 yards with a head speed of about 80 mph. so youre actually hitting the ball well for your speed. If you want more distance, you must get the head speed up a little. Get permission from your doctor first, then go ahead with an exercise and stretching routine, and you just might find most of those extra yards youve lost. Hope this helps.
Frank, I read one of your recent articles and it sounds like it's harmful to clean a golf ball in the dishwasher? Is this correct? ' Jeff
Youve got it.
Dont try to wash your golf balls in the dishwasher. The water absorption rate will increase dramatically at the high steaming temperatures your dishes, pots and pans need to get them clean. A damp cloth should be enough to clean most of the dirt off the ball. Water is one of the best all-round solvents know to us. If you really have a problem getting it clean then add a light detergent. This should, however, not be necessary in most cases.
A good rule of thumb is not to expose your golf balls to conditions or agents to which you are not normally prepared to expose your body, with some obvious exceptions.
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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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.