Does Your Weight Conform

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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
 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one lucky golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Bob, with his question on the Masters Course set up.
 
Frank will sign the first 50 orders recieved this week. To reserve your own copy of 'Just Hit It', please Click Here We are now shipping!
 
Please also note new international shipping options for those outside the US. Thanks to all who have ordered over the last few weeks!
 
Does Your Weight Conform?
 
Hi Frank,
 
I really enjoy your column and read it every week. I purchased two XYZ drivers with different shafts and lofts. These drivers come with four adjustable weights, two 2 gram and two 10 gram. After tinkering with the weights in each driver, I decided to try one driver with all 10 gram weights (two from each club). It is a little heavier but I have picked up about 20 yards of distance(from 230 to 250). Is my driver still conforming with four 10 grams weights instead of the two it was shipped with? Have I increased my driving distance because of the added mass?
 
Thanks
 
Randy, MN

 
Randy,
 
First, thank you for your kind comments.
 
I have excluded the brand name of your driver in your question to discourage our readers from promoting special favorite products and in your case, the brand is irrelevant as the question has little to do with the type of driver but rather how you have weighted it.
 
By placing four 10 gram weights in the weight ports of your driver -- supplied with only two 10 gram weights and two 2 gram weights -- is not a violation of the rules. There is no restriction on the weight of a driver head. I dont know how the USGA will react to increasing the weight of a driver which may at the same time increase the MOI of one which is at the maximum limit by design. Increasing the overall and peripheral weight of a driver head will increase its Moment of Inertia and may place it over the limit. I dont think this is going to be the case with your driver but I dont believe the USGA, when placing a limit on the MOI thought about this eventuality.
 
Having said this, the additional 16 grams in head weight will project the ball a little faster, but only if you have the same head speed. The same head speed is highly unlikely as it requires an increase in energy on your part. Even if you had the same head speed this increase in head weight will contribute very little to the distance and certainly no where near the magic 20 yard increase you are experiencing.
 
As an aside; it is amazing how most new products feature something, which will give us more distance and the implication is, 20 yards. Golfers also come off the course claiming that the new club ' as long as it behaved itself -- or ball, has given them 20 more yards. One infrequently hears, This new drive has increased my distance by 7 or 13 yards. The increment is always 20 yards.
 
In your case Randy you have actual measurements, which I am sure you have checked. The only way one driver of identical make and model will give you increased distance of 20 yards is be because you have, through the relocation of weight, changed the c.g. (center of gravity) of the head and thus the face presentation to the ball and thus been able to launch the ball more efficiently. This would mean that your launch conditions were so far off to begin with that you should probably not have selected this driver in the first place.
 
So, bottom line is that you may be able to gain 20 yards only by launching the ball more efficiently assuming you were way off to begin with but this has nothing to do with -- or very little -- the increase in weight.
 
Randy, the Magic is in you not the club.
 
Good luck
 
Frank
 
Going for Gold
 
I've finished 'Just Hit It' and '...may the church say amen!' I could bore you with all the things I've learned from your insight (both from your newsletter and book) but I'll narrow it down to the most important; I've moved up to the gold tees and this game is fun again!
 
But there is a problem; this has now put more pressure on my putting. You see, now I'm on more greens 'in regulation' and have something I rarely had to deal with 'from the tips' - BIRDIE PUTTS.
 
If higher MOI is good for the other 13 utensils would it not follow that increasing MOI in the 'flatstick' would help on hits not made on the sweet spot? I believe I recently saw an ad claiming less loss of distance and line on 'off center' hits with this particular putter with 'high MOI'. I think everyone takes ads 'with a grain of salt', so here's your chance to give us the straight talk.
 
Oh, and thanks for the autographed copy of the book!
 
Dennis, NC.

 
Dennis,
Thank you for your kind comments and I am pleased that you enjoyed my book Just Hit It. I have been getting similar comments from many readers who are having fun and enjoying their game more than they have for some time. I do think, however, that we all have some work to do to make the introductory process to this wonderful game a little less intimidating and to get things changed to better accommodate those who have been in the game for many years but now finding it less enjoyable.
 
I hope that the last chapter will act as a call to action for golfers and operators to help us speed up play, offer nine-hole fees, install tees which are a more appropriate challenge for a wider range of golfing skills and other various other suggestions. I also try to help guide golfers through the process of proper equipment selection to help their game and their wallet. I also try to provide simple explanations of technical terms being used to sell equipment and which may or may not affect you game. But Dennis you already know this so I thank you for supporting our game and the cause.
 
Regarding higher MOI for putters, you are absolutely correct in your assumption. The original Ping putters introduced in the late 1960s, did exhibit a higher MOI ---- ( Click Here for an easy to understand explanation of MOI) --- than most other putters and were very popular because the off-centered impact was not as dramatically affected as with standard blade type putters with a lower MOI. For years we didnt change this design of toe heel weighting and many of todays custom putters are still of this Ping style.
 
Over the last ten years, however, the mallet putter has become popular and is something I recommend as it has a high MOI about two axes making it more forgiving on miss hits both up and down and from toe to heel. The effective sweet spot is thus bigger as evidenced by less of a fall off in distance on miss hits in two directions.
 
The Frankly Frog design is another step ahead of the standard mallet putter by having split weighting at the back to enhance balance and promote a smoother stroke by increasing the MOI about a third axes. This split weight concept in putters has now been copied by several major manufacturers which tends to prove that only true innovations are copied and also imitation is the best form of flattery.
 
Dennis, thanks again for your kind comments and I hope your experience with the book will encourage others to read it and start enjoying their game a little more.
Frank
 
Extinction of the 2 Iron
 
Someday I am going to splurge on a new set of irons. But I am afraid that by the time I do a 2 iron may not be offered in the set. I appreciate the benefits of technology, but I like my 2 iron. I use it off the tee almost half the time. Anyway, my question is whether it is possible to get an extra 3 iron and fold, spindle and mutilate it into a 2 iron, or is it too much difference in loft and lie?
Thank you very much.
 
Steve, PA

 

Steve,
As much as you like your 2-iron I am afraid to let you know that it following the 1-iron on its way to taking a prominent place on the list of extinct clubs to be found in museums and attics of old houses or in the bags of some of us who just wont give up.
 
The fact is that you may need to replace it one of these days, or maybe not. The grooves on a 2-iron are almost inconsequential to performance of a 2-iron which has the loft of a strong 1-iron used in the days of Ben Hogan. So if you want to hang on to this club and you have really fallen in love with it and most importantly have developed confidence in it, then get it re-gripped and stay with it. The shaft will not wear out so it is going to be good for at least another twenty years or more as long as your performance remains constant.
 
If, on the other hand you are adventurous enough to even consider trying something else, which may ' and I emphasize may ' possibly perform as well as your 2-iron, then I do suggest that you sneak out without your clubs in the trunk to see what a 15 degree hybrid has to offer. It will probably have a little less loft than your 2-iron, and be about inch longer but when you hit it, you will find it will have a slightly higher trajectory than a 2-iron but so much more forgiving than your friend that you may even consider having a heart to heart with the 2-iron.
 
I know this is going to be very hard but it may be worth a try. Be careful how you let your 2-iron know when the time comes. It may ' if hurt ' start misbehaving.
 
Please dont try to turn an extra 3-iron into a 2-iron. It was not meant to be and you will be very disappointed and also lose a friend in you 2-iron which has stood by you for so long.
 
Obviously if you cannot make the leap to a hybrid then be assured that the two iron you have will continue to do its thing for many years.
 
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