QA Using Your Putter - To Hit Another Player

By Frank ThomasOctober 4, 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
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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.