QA Using Your Putter - To Hit Another Player - COPIED

By Frank ThomasOctober 10, 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 am a 14 handicap and looking for a new driver. Mine is 8 or 9 years old and need(s) something new. But I am confused when I go into any big golf store(s) today because there are so many new drivers available, all of which claim to drive the ball farther. What are the key things to look for, if I want to upgrade?
 
H. Seleck
LA, CA

 
H. Seleck,
Join the crowd. Because the market is not growing as rapidly as it has in the past,
manufacturers are finding it harder to compete and one of the methods used is to frequently turn out new products. The technology is not changing as fast as the products are coming out, so it has become confusing and difficult to sort out what to get or how to find what we need.
 
First, you certainly do need to upgrade if you have a driver 8 to 9 years old. The technology in drivers has changed significantly over this period of time. The choice you make will depend somewhat on the clubhead speed and your skill level.
 
With a 14 handicap you are a little better than average. Let's assume that you can generate a clubhead speed of about 85-to-90 mph. This will result in a driving distance between 220-240 yards. (Most of us overestimate how far we drive the ball by about 30-40 yards). At this head speed you need to launch the ball at about 14 degrees with a spin rate of about 3,000-3,500 rpm.
 
With this in mind:
  • Select a driver of 400-460 cc in size.
  • Loft of 10-11 degrees.
  • Maximum COR (resilience creating maximum ball speed); most drivers
    are at the limit.
  • Drivers are all so good that there is very little difference in the
    type you select. Select what looks good to you.
  • For accuracy try a 44-inch rather than the 45-inch club length.
  • Select an R-flex shaft before the S-flex.
  • Most big stores have a net into which you can try hitting some balls
    to get a general feel.
  • If there is a launch monitor get some data on your launch conditions
    and try to get close to what I have suggested above without getting out of
    your comfort zone.
  • Last and most important, find a head cover that will make your new
    driver happy. An unhappy driver is not something you want in your bag.
     
    For more on driver selection check out my website.
     
    Frank thanks for the interesting and frank (sorry) information you provide on The Golf Channel. My question is, how long has the 14-club maximum been in the rules?
     
    Bruce Hamlin
    Georgia

     
    Bruce,
    The rule was adopted on Jan. 1, 1938, because golfers were carrying as many as 30 clubs. Both the R&A and USGA decided in 1936 that the art of shotmaking was being lost because of the finely graduated and matched sets, and the game was becoming mechanized. Golfers were no longer exhibiting their skills by changing their swing to make a shot, but rather were simply just changing
    their club.
     
    Other benefits cited for the reduction in the number of clubs were:
     
  • Relief to caddies from unfair burdens;
  • Improved speed of play because the decision-making process was simplified;
  • Give those who cannot afford an unlimited arsenal an equal chance.
     
    My personal feelings are that a further reduction, especially for the PGA TOUR pros, is in order. See my article printed in The New York Times last April. I suggested that the number be reduced, for the PGA TOUR level of competition only, to 10 clubs. This would be in conjunction with modifying course set up to reward distance ONLY when it is accompanied by accuracy and thought provoking penalty for a stray long shot.
     
    The advantages are that it would allow golfers to exhibit their true skills and with the modified course set up better identify the true champion.
     
    Frank,
    During our club championship this past weekend we had an incident where a contestant threw his putter in anger and it struck another player. We could not find a rule that covers this situation. Is there a rule that would penalize or DQ the offender?
     
    Scott, IL.

     
    Scott,
    I have had to dig deep to get some sound information to you on this one. The answer is fairly complex and has nothing to do with how the Attorney General would rule on this violation of etiquette.
     
    The multifaceted answer is as follows: First it depends on whether or not the club conforms to the Rules of Golf. If you can determine this then it will be a good start.
     
    If it doesn't conform then he (the thrower) would be disqualified for carrying a non-conforming club. If it conforms but the impact resulted in blood being deposited on the face of the putter then the intent of the action needs to be established. If intentional and the result was to deposit foreign material on the face of the putter, this is not good.
     
    One is not allowed to apply foreign material by whatever means, during a round, to the putter face for the purpose of influencing the movement of the ball. Also, if the playing characteristics of the club were changed as a result of the impact, and this is action is considered 'not in the normal course of play' so in either case of this, the penalty is disqualification.
     
    There is no reason to be concerned about whether the impacted player lived through the incident or not as this is irrelevant as long as the thrower yelled 'FORE' during the flight of the putter.
     
    If, however, 'The Committee' established prior to the event that as a 'Conditions of the Competition' it was not permissible to throw putters at other players, and posted this notice appropriately, then it (the committee) is entitled to request the player to relinquish his putter for the rest of the round.
     
    The most serious penalty is that his buddies forget his phone number.

    My area of expertise covers the equipment and in some cases its trajectory rather than the conditions of the competition established by the committee.
     
    By the way how is the victim?
     
    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
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.