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
  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.