QA Weight-Adjustable Drivers

By Frank ThomasMay 2, 2007, 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
I noticed that the new series of drivers, even TaylorMade's new burner, are non-adjustable. I have a TaylorMade R7 HT and have only used the low or high neutral positions. Since shape seems to be the hot item on drivers at the moment, I was wondering if you feel the weight-adjustable drivers have run their course?


I do think that the concept of weight-adjustable ports makes some sense and can make some differences in the flight of the ball. It also is a neat way to change the weight of the head. But the promotion of these clubs seemed to promise ' and we were quick to believe ' that adjusting weights would correct some of our swing flaws, and we therefore didn't have to practice or get a lesson. This is not so. Yes, changing the center of gravity (c.g.) has an effect on the reaction to the ball on off-center hits and changes the face presentation to the ball. But it wont correct our swing flaws or other bad mistakes.
A golfer needs to hit the same spot on the face of the club consistently in order to take advantage of a fade or draw bias that hes building into the club when he makes an adjustment to the weights. Most of us who buy clubs dont have such reliably repeating swings; were happy to make contact somewhere close to the sweet spot 50% of the time. So the real answer to correcting a slice is a lesson, not a weight adjustment on the driver head as we are sometimes lead to believe.
Today the cool thing is high MOI, which comes with the flatter shape. This is designed to forgive your mistakes even more than the adjustable weights.
So, YES, I think that the sparkle of adjustable weights is fading, but it may never go away because it does give some flexibility we didn't have before, some of the best golfers can take advantage of this concept, and it doesnt do the rest of us any harm.
Unfortunately, as much as we don't want to believe it (because we like to believe in magic), the distance race for drivers is rapidly approaching the finish line. What I think will come next is designing drivers to specifically allow us to launch the ball closer to its optimum conditions. Manufacturers have been working on this and are at last offering higher lofted drivers, but it is still only a distant, sometimes hidden option rather than a specific recommendation.
Slower swing speeds generally need more lofted drivers, and we are starting to recognize that when we use more loft on the driver we actually get closer to the distance we think we hit the ball. For most us, the gym is the place where relocation of weight is a real possibility and will be most effective. For more equipment updates be sure to sign up as a Frankly Friend by clicking here.
Hope this helps.
Hi Frank,
Love your articles. I have a question regarding swing weight. Which is better, a driver with a high swing weight (D5) or lower swing weight (D2)? I have a swing speed of 105 and was wondering which is correct for me as well as which stiffness of golf shaft -- regular or stiff?
Thanks with any help,

With your 105 mph swing speed, youre in the bracket where an S shaft may work well, but this is really a choice you must make based on your comfort level and performance. Some golfers with the same swing speed you have successfully use R-shafts, while others have done well with an X-shaft. Your acceleration rate to impact and the degree of control youre looking for will influence your choice. You need to develop confidence in your club so that youll make a better swing and in turn increase your average driving distance.
With regard to the question about what is the best swing weight, D2 or D5, my real answer is there isnt one. Swing weight is not all its cracked up to be if its misused. With the right adjustments I can bring a telephone poles swing weight to D2.
The swing weight system is based purely on a balance beam concept, with the fulcrum placed 14 inches from the grip end. With an average grip, shaft and head weight for a driver, the swing weight is a measure of how much additional weight I need to add to the butt end to keep the club in balance about the 14-inch fulcrum. This is then converted into a table with letters and numbers such as C2, C3, up to C9 and then D0 and so on to the Es and Fs (not usual, but some long putters are up there even though we should not even think about swing weighting putters unless we intend to make a full swing with this club).
The average acceptable swing weight for men is about D2. As the clubs get shorter, more head weight is needed to keep the balance the same. The lightest club in the bag is the driver and the heaviest is the putter (fun fact worth a beer).
Very few golfers can distinguish a difference of three swing weight points, even though many insist on having all the clubs in the set be exactly on the money. This is where the problem starts as club makers, in trying to satisfy the customer, may back-weight a club to get the scale to read the right number.
In some case of real abuse, lead plugs are forced into the hosel section of the shaft to increase the swing weight instead of upping it with a heavier head. This will move the center of gravity (c.g.) up and toward the heel of the head, which is exactly in the wrong direction. Probably worse is the case where clubs have weight added to the grip to reduce the swing weight when the head is too heavy; the club remains too heavy, but it does have the right numbers on the scale (which tells you theres something wrong with relying on the words swing weight when the basic concept is abused).
We all know that wearing a glove will not affect the overall dynamics or swinging feel of the club, compared to not wearing a glove. However, when you wear a glove it becomes part of the grip. Next time you measure the swing weight of a club on a swing weight scale, after its in balance, place the glove on the grip. Youll see the swing weight drop about 5 to 6 points. Does a glove really make a difference of such magnitude in the feel of a club?
Bottom line; dont get hung up on swing weight numbers. If you want to experiment with swing weight, add a little lead tape on the head and see if it feels better to you. Swing weight, if not abused is a good first step for matching but feel is more important than this so-called precise number.
Clifton, your question about what is best, D5 or D2 ; how about going for a D3.5 so you can sleep at night?
Dear Frank,
Ive recently been custom-fitted for irons. I need standard length, but 2 degrees upright. I have ordered 3-PW and GW in that configuration.
The fitter recommended that I not have my SW and LW bent upright as well, because these are more feel clubs and I will be hitting from so many different lies, it wont make much difference.
What do you recommend? (FYI, my putter is 2 up as well.) Thanks!

You are obviously an upstanding and upright person and may need an upright club to match your uprightedness. But this does not have to extend to your putter, which is dependent on your putting stance style and putter length.
When it comes to your wedges, recognize that the PW is an extension of your iron set, and the Gap Wedge should be too. The Gap Wedge is the same loft that the PW or even the 9-iron was thirty years ago. Just because the manufacturers decreased the loft of all the irons without changing the numbers on the bottom of the club doesnt mean that you should consider them Utility clubs, a designation that applies to the Sand Wedge, Lob Wedge, Driver and Putter (and more recently the Hybrid, although these are starting to find a real place in the set). The truth about your wedges, all your wedges, is that they should match the lie angles of the rest of your set.
If you attempt to use these to fashion a shot in an unusual way now and again, then you can work around the norm. Dont intentionally have these wedges out of spec with the rest of your set because you will use them for normal shots most of the time. If you are going to be upright, do it all the way.
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
Getty Images

J. Korda leads M. Jutanugarn by four in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 3:00 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand - Jessica Korda kept an eye on her younger sister while firing a 4-under 68 in the third round of the LPGA Thailand on Saturday to lead Moriya Jutanugarn by four strokes.

A day after a course-record 62 at Siam Country Club, Korda fought back from a bogey on the front nine with five birdies to finish on 20-under 196 overall. The American was on the 18th hole when concerns over lightning suspended play for 30 minutes before play resumed.

''(I) was playing really well at the end of the season, but I haven't been in this (leading) position. Being back, it just takes you a little bit of time,'' said the 24-year-old Korda, who won her fifth and last title at the LPGA Malaysia in 2015.

Her 19-year-old sister Nelly Korda (65) is eight shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

''I'm definitely a leaderboard watcher. I love seeing her name up there,'' said Jessica Korda, who was playing her first tournament since jaw surgery.

Propelled by eight birdies and an eagle on the par-4 No. 14, with three bogeys, Moriya signed off with a 65 and a total of 16-under 200.

''Everybody has the chance to win as all the top players are here this week,'' said Moriya, who has a chance to become the first Thai winner in her home tournament.

Australian Minjee Lee (68) is third on 15-under 201, followed by former top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (65) on 202. Lexi Thompson (69), the 2016 champion, is a stroke further back. Michelle Wie (69) is tied for sixth.

Brittany Lincicome was in second place after the second round, four shots behind Jessica Korda, but the American dropped down the board and is tied for ninth after a 73.

Getty Images

The Tiger comeback just got real on Friday

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 1:11 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Slow play was a big storyline on the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing, but not so much anymore.

Not with Tiger Woods speeding things up Friday at the Honda Classic.

Not with Woods thumping the gas pedal around PGA National’s Champion Course, suddenly looking as if he is racing way ahead of schedule in his return to the game.

The narrative wondrously started to turn here.

It turned from wondering at week’s start if Woods could make the cut here, after missing it last week at the Genesis Open. His game was too wild for Riviera, where a second-round 76 left him looking lost with the Masters just six weeks away.

It turned in head-spinning fashion Friday with Woods climbing the leaderboard in tough conditions to get himself into weekend contention with a 1-over-par 71.

He is just four shots off the lead.

“I’d be shocked if he’s not there Sunday with a chance to win,” said Brandt Snedeker, who played alongside Woods in the first two rounds. “He’s close to playing some really, really good golf.”

Just a few short months ago, so many of us were wondering if Woods was close to washed up.

“He’s only going to improve,” Snedeker said. “The more time he has, as the weather gets warmer, he’ll feel better and be able to practice more.”

Snedeker has had a front-row seat for this speedy Tiger turnaround. He played the third round with Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open last month. That was Woods’ first PGA Tour start in a year.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

How much improvement did Snedeker see from that Torrey Pines experience?

“It was kind of what I expected – significantly improved,” Snedeker said. “His iron game is way better. His driver is way better. I don’t’ see it going backward from here.”

This was the hope packed into Friday’s new narrative.

“I’m right there in the ballgame,” Woods said. “I really played well today. I played well all day today.”

Tiger sent a jolt through PGA National when his name hit the top 10 of the leaderboard. He didn’t do it with a charge. He did it battling a brutish course in wintry, blustery winds, on “scratchy” and “dicey” greens that made par a good score.

When Woods holed a 25-foot putt at the ninth to move into red numbers at 1 under overall and within three shots of the lead, a roar shook across the Champion Course.

“It got a little loud, which was cool to see,” Snedeker said. “It’s great to have that energy and vibe back.”

Woods sent fans scampering to get into position, blasting a 361-yard drive at the 10th, cutting the corner. He had them buzzing when he stuck his approach to 9 feet for another birdie chance to get within two of the lead.

“I thought if he makes it, this place will go nuts, and he could get it going like he used to,” Snedeker said.

Woods missed, but with the leaders falling back to him on this grueling day, he stuck his approach at the 12th to 10 feet to give himself a chance to move within a shot of the lead.

It’s another putt that could have turned PGA National upside down, but Woods missed that.

“It really is hard to make birdies,” he said. “At least I found it hard. It was hard to get the ball close, even if the ball is in the fairway, it's still very difficult to get the ball close, with the wind blowing as hard as it is. It’s hard to make putts out here.”

Patton Kizzire, a two-time PGA Tour winner who won just last month at the Sony Open, could attest to how tough the test at Honda has become. He played alongside Woods this week for the first time in his career. He shot 78 Friday and missed the cut.

Kizzire had a close-up look at what suddenly seems possible for Woods again.

“He’s figuring it out,” Kizzire said. “He hit some nice shots and rolled in some nice putts. It was pretty impressive.”

Woods could not hide his excitement in getting himself in the weekend hunt, but his expectations remain tempered in this comeback. He knows the daily referendums his game is subject to, how we can all make the highs too high and the lows too low.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Woods said.

Woods lost a tee shot in a bush at the second hole and made bogey. He hit his tee shot in the water at the 15th and made double bogey. He three-putted the 16th to make bogey. He knows this course can derail a player’s plans in a hurry, but he knows his game is quickly coming around.

“I’m right there where I can win a golf tournament,” Woods said. “Four back on this golf course with 36 holes to go, I mean, anybody can win this golf tournament right now. It’s wide open.’”

Woods hit his shot of the day at the 17th to right his game after the struggles at the 15th and 16th. He did so in front of the Goslings Bear Trap Party Pavilion, cutting a 5-iron to 12 feet. It was the hardest hole on the course Friday, with nearly one of every three players rinsing a shot in the water there. Woods made birdie there to ignite an explosion of cheers.  He got a standing ovation.

“I was telling you guys, I love Riviera, I just don't play well there,” Woods said. “So here we are, we're back at a golf course I know and I play well here.”

So here we are, on the precipice of something special again?

Woods seems in a hurry to find out.

Getty Images

List, Lovemark lead; Tiger four back at Honda

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 12:41 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Even with a tee shot into the water for another double bogey, Tiger Woods could see the big picture in the Honda Classic.

He was four shots out of the lead going into the weekend.

Luke List delivered a round not many others found possible in such difficult conditions Friday, a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead with Jamie Lovemark (69). They were at 3-under 137, the highest score to lead at the halfway point of the Honda Classic since it moved to PGA National in 2007.

So bunched were the scores that Woods was four shots out of the lead and four shots from last place among the 76 players who made the cut at 5-over 145. More importantly, he only had 13 players in front of him.

''This is a difficult golf course right now,'' Woods said. ''Making pars is a good thing. I've done that, and I'm right there with a chance.''

And he has plenty of company.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Race to Dubai on the European Tour last year, scratched out a 68 and was one shot out of the lead along with Webb Simpson (72), Russell Henley (70) and Rory Sabbatini (69).

Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger each shot 72 and were in a large group at 139. They were among only 10 players remaining under par.

Fleetwood laughed when asked the last time he was at 2 under after 36 holes and only one shot out of the lead.

''Maybe some junior event,'' he said. ''It's good, though. These are the toughest test in golf. Generally, one of the best players prevail at the end of weeks like this. Weeks like this challenge you to the ultimate level. Whether you shoot two 80s or you lead after two rounds, you can see what you need to do and see where your game is. Because this is as hard as it's ever going to get for you.''

The difficulty was primarily from the wind, which blew just as hard in the morning when List shot his 66 as it did in the afternoon. More aggravating to the players are the greens, which are old and bare, firm and crusty. It's a recipe for not making many putts.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler had six bogeys on his front nine and shot 77 to miss the cut.

''It's unfortunate that the greens have changed this much in a year,'' Fowler said. ''They typically get slick and quick on the weekend because they dry out, but at least there's some sort of surface. But like I said, everyone's playing the same greens.''

It looked as though List was playing a different course when he went out with a bogey-free 32 on the back nine, added a pair of birdies on the front nine and then dropped his only shot when he caught an awkward lie in the bunker on the par-3 seventh.

''It's very relentless,'' List said. ''There's not really too many easy holes, but if you hit fairways and go from there, you can make a few birdies out there.''

List and Lovemark, both Californians, have never won on the PGA Tour. This is the third time List has had at least a share of the 36-hole lead, most recently in South Korea at the CJ Cup, where he shot 76-72 on the weekend.

''It's kind of irrelevant because there's going to be 30 guys within a couple shots of the lead,'' List said. ''It's going to be that type of week.''

He was exaggerating – there were 11 players within three shots of the lead.

And there was another guy four shots behind.

Woods brought big energy to a Friday afternoon that already was hopping before he overcame a sluggish start and holed a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to make the turn at 1 under for his round, and leaving him two shots out of the lead. Everyone knew it just from listening to the roars.

Woods had his chances, twice missing birdie putts from inside 10 feet at Nos. 10 and 12, sandwiched around a 12-foot par save. His round appeared to come undone when he found the water on the 15th and made double bogey for the second straight day.

Then, he hit out of a fairway bunker, over the water and onto the green at the dangerous 16th hole and faced a 65-foot putt. He misread the speed and the line, so badly that it was similar to a car driving from Chicago to Denver and winding up in Phoenix. A bogey dropped him to 2 over.

The big moment was the 17th hole, 184 waters into the wind and over water. That's where Rory McIlroy made triple bogey earlier in the day that ruined his otherwise solid round of 72, leaving him seven behind. Making it even tougher for Woods is the Brandt Snedeker hit 5-iron before him to about 6 feet. Woods got to the tee and the wind died, meaning 5-iron was too much and 6-iron wouldn't clear the water.

He went with the 5-iron.

''I started that thing pretty far left and hit a pretty big cut in there because I had just too much stick,'' Wood said.

It landed 12 feet below the hole for a birdie putt.

Thomas made 17 pars and a double bogey when he three-putted from 6 feet on No. 16. He felt the same way as Woods.

''I'm in a good spot – really good spot – going into this week,'' Thomas said.

Getty Images

Woods to play with Dufner (12:10 p.m.) in third round

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 12:10 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Jason Dufner in the third round of the Honda Classic.

Woods and Dufner, both at 1-over 141, four shots back, will tee off at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday at PGA National. They’re in the 10th-to-last group.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Co-leaders Luke List and Jamie Lovemark will go at 1:40 p.m.

Some of the other late pairings include Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who will be playing together for the third consecutive day, at 1 p.m.; Louis Oosthuizen and Thomas Pieters (1:10 p.m.); and Webb Simpson and Russell Henley, in the penultimate group at 1:30 p.m.