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

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."