QA The Sweet Spot Wedge Gap

By Frank ThomasMay 16, 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:
From what I have read and learned, MOI is the measure of the resistance to twisting in the clubhead. What difference does this make when the shaft of a driver torques from 3 to 6 degrees? It would seem that the torque in the shaft would make any twisting in the clubhead itself insignificant.
Thanks.
Tom

 
Tom,
Laura Davies
Tune in Monday May 21 at 11:00 p.m. ET as Frank fields questions from LPGA legend Laura Davies during 'What's in the Bag?' (WireImage)
You are right the MOI (Moment of Inertia) is the measure of the resistance to angular acceleration (twisting during impact). For more on MOI please click here. The time that the driver and the ball are in contact during impact is about .000450 of a second.
 
To put this into perspective it takes about 0.1 of a second to blink your eye, which means that you may have 222 impacts in this time. If you shoot par that is about three rounds of golf even though contact between the ball and the putter is a little longer than a driver.
 
During this time there is an average force of about 1,600 pounds being transferred to the ball. This is what is required to accelerate the ball from zero mph to 160 mph in .00045 of a second. During this time the shaft plays no part in the impact. In fact it might just as well not be connected to the club head after the ball and the club first meet. If the ball makes contact with the sweet spot then the MOI of the head is not important. But if you miss this sweet spot then the club head will twist and the rate of rotation is dependent on the MOI of the head and nothing to do with the shaft.
 
This is a new twist on MOI for some of us.
 
Hope this helps.
Frank
 
Hello Mr. Thomas,
 
I play to a 4 handicap and like most golfers would like to achieve more distance with my driver. I have been on several launch monitors and been told different things about where the ball should be impacting the club face to achieve the most distance and performance of the club and ball.
 
I consistently hit the ball in the center of the club face about 90% of the time and have been told that I need to impact the ball above the equator on the club face in order to achieve more distance. When impacting below or at the equator of the club face, I am now putting a opposite gearing effect on the ball, thus making it not go as far.
 
I have spent many hours at the range with impact tape on the club face, tried different tee heights and ball positions, but still impact in the center of the club face.
 
My question to you is: does that make any sense to you and is it correct? If the information I was given is correct, could you please give me some advice on how to achieve the high impact on the club face.
 
Thank you,
Aaron

 
Aaron,
The best place to hit the ball is always on the sweet spot generally in the center of the club face because this is where you are going to get the maximum trampoline effect from the high COR which all drivers are now designed to have (for more information on COR click here).
 
If the distance you are getting with your drives is not to your liking then you must check to see if your launch conditions are optimum for your head speed. If not and you are launching the ball too low then the first thing to do is change the loft to launch the ball higher. This will increase spin, which you may not want to do but you have to compromise.
 
If you are close to the correct launch angle and the spin is a little too high, then move the impact point higher on the face which will decrease the ball speed a little but get closer to optimum launch conditions by decreasing the spin because of the vertical gear effect. Most of us find it hard enough to find the clubface, never mind a particular spot on the face.
 
This impact location technique is a tweaking or fine tuning process when everything else has been done and adjusted. The difference in distance may only be a few yards so dont expect a significant change.
 
Teeing the ball higher is a standard technique to change the impact location on the face. You must be adjusting your swing each time you tee the ball higher, which is natural but try to keep the same swing and pretend the ball is teed lower than it is. I dont know how else to help you with your sweet spot problem. Boy! The rest of us would love to have your problem. I hope I didnt miss the sweet spot on the answer.
Frank
 
Hi Frank,
 
I had a question about wedges. I carry the normal pitching wedge and a 60 deg. lob wedge. I changed to a 54 deg. sand wedge, in theory, to keep an equal distance between wedges. One of the guys I play a lot of golf with carries a 50 deg. wedge, for a gap wedge, and no lob. I thought that the pitching and 50 are too close in distance but he swears by it, and after hitting it a few times I got a little confused. I guess my question is what would be the best sequence of wedges to carry?
 
Thanks
Lee

 
Lee,
Since manufacturers started cheating on the unwritten standard of lofts for specific numbered irons about thirty five years ago, clubs have been gradually getting stronger. This was started for marketing purposes to show how much better one club was than its competitor because it hit the ball farther but nobody told us the loft was three or four degrees stronger.
 
This resulted in clubs becoming extinct like the story about how They all rolled over and one fell out and the little one said roll over and they all rolled over and again one fell out etc. This is exactly how, in order the 1-iron and then the 2-iron and soon maybe the 3-iron are on the extinct list. The club that didnt roll over was the Sand Wedge which stayed in place. The loft of the SW is and has always been (for 50 or more years) about 55 degrees. Todays PW which used to be 51 degrees is 46 degrees and I have seen some at 44 degrees.
 
This has created the gap between the PW and SW so I recommend you fill it up with a Gap wedge or two. I have a 52 and a 56 with 14 degrees of bounce which I use as my SW and back off the PW for those 90 to 100 yard shots. I also open my SW for those occasional flop shots from very soft fairways or rough. Opening a SW with 14 degrees of bounce on firm fairways or hard pan usually results in the ball landing close to the cart girl on the next tee. Not a way to score well.
 
I suggest that you realign and have about 4 degrees difference between your wedges; with the PW at 46, GW 50 , GW 54 and a SW 56 or 58 with 14 degrees of bounce. The GW54 should have only 6 to 8 degrees of bounce so you may be able to use it for the flop shot. The Lob wedge is an extra club which requires you drop a club somewhere else.
 
Hope this fills the gap.
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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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.