Shorter Length Putters

By Frank ThomasJune 25, 2008, 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
 

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Shorter Length Putters
 
Dear Frank,
 
Love your weekly emails!
 
I recently had a putting lesson. The PGA instructor had me shorten my 35' putter to 32.5'. The benefit is a better shoulder motion.
 
During our discussion, he stated that the average length putter on the PGA Tour is 32.5'. If true, why haven't I seen a 32' putter offered by manufacturers? The shortest I've seen is 33' and rarely do I see them displayed or in stock at golf retailers.
 
Also, how much weight must I add to my newly shortened putter to compensate for the change?
 
Thank you.
--Mark

 
Mark,
The average length putter on Tour is closer to 34 inches. This is shorter than it was 20 years ago and is inclined to straighten out the arms increasing consistency of impact positioning on the face and reduces tension associated with bent arms, which adds to the source of errors. Shorter putters - not too short -- also help a little in shoulder rotation.
 
32- inches seems to be short but this depends on your setup and stature, which I am sure your PGA professional took into account when fitting you. An average height male - about 5' 9' -- should be able to use a 34 and maybe 33 inch putter very successfully.
 
You don't have to change the swing weight of your putter when you shorten it unless you will be taking a full swing with it.
 
If you have the opportunity when in Orlando - or decide to make the opportunity - call for an appointment at our Frankly Frog Putting Studio, which is the most advanced in the country. Click here to learn more.
Have fun
 
Frank
 
Persimmon Back In the Bag!
 
Frank,
 
I went to the range today for lunch and put an old Powerbilt Citation 5 wood in my bag that I found in my garage to take to the range for fun. I havent hit a persimmon wood for at least 15 years and was AMAZED at how high and soft it landed on the green 220 yards away. I then took out my Callaway hybrid and hit it just as far and pretty straight but nowhere near as high. Also, I noticed when I hit the persimmon closer to the toe it would draw in and hit a couple on the heel and faded. I felt like I couldnt miss the target!!! It landed so softly I was stunned.
 
Am I the only one who is now thinking I should put my persimmon 5 wood in my bag as opposed to these high tech hybrids?
 
Best regards,
 
--Michael

 
Michael,
It should not be surprising that your wooden 5-wood will perform very well and certainly after such a period of purgatory in the closet. It has now learned its lesson and obviously doesnt like a dark place away from the course. There are other reasons for good performance and this has something to do with your fresh swing and obvious affection for this well crafted old friend and warm instrument.
 
Let's examine the wooden 5-wood from a technical point of view -- which may not be half as important as your attitude and good swing motion. The COR (Coefficient of Restitution) is probably very close to that of your hybrid so the ball will come off the club at about the same speed. Because the c.g. (center of gravity) of your 5-wood is most likely farther back from the face than the hybrid the face will present more dynamic loft to the ball at impact. This will send the ball on a higher trajectory, assuming a similar shaft flex. A more flexible, longer shaft will further increase this dynamic loft.
 
The longer shaft -- which I suspect is the case but you need to check this out ' will allow you to generate a little more head velocity giving you increased ball speed even though the COR is the same.
 
The down side -- for the 5- wood -- is that the Hybrid, which probably has a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) about its vertical axis and thus will be more forgiving i.e. not twist as much on off centered impacts. It is for this reason that the Gear Effect using your wooden 5-wood, is more pronounced when the impact point is on the toe or heel as you describe.
 
Have fun with your old friend and dont let it or any other good friend spend long periods of time in a place it doesnt enjoy. Some will sulk and never perform properly again.
 
I hope this has helped give you a better insight into the social and technical behavior of your old friend.
 
Please sign up as a Frankly Friend on www.franklygolf.com to get all sorts of free information to improve your game and weekly alerts whenever we answer questions from our visitors.
 
Frank
 
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@franklygolf.com
 
Frank Thomas

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: