High Ball Flight and Shafts

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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 clubhead sole width.
 
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My Daughter's Clubs
 
Aloha Frank,
 
Recently, my daughters golf instructor, and I got engaged in a discussion about getting new clubs for her. She is 14 yrs. old 5' 5', and weighs 110 lbs. She's been playing Callaway for almost 5 yrs. (as long as she's been golfing) and has a set of X16's. She shoots in the high seventies, to low eighties.
With his help she's been getting progressively better, and we both feel she is in need of new clubs, as she now uses a men's driver with great results. He recommended forged, in a men's regular flex, due to her getting stronger. But I questioned forged clubs due to tradition of the pro's, 'Hot spots' in cast clubs, less workable Vs the technology in the new club head designs I.e. 360 weight distribution, wide sole, and deep under cut.
 
Ultimately it's up to her as to the clubs she wants to play with, but I thought I'd ask you if forged clubs are really that good? (I assume there will be a learning curve playing with blades).
 
I really enjoy reading your writing, and plan on getting your book.
 
Aloha
Randy

 
Randy
 
Thank you for your kind comments and I know you will enjoy the book when you get it.
 
Forged irons are very good clubs for skilled golfers. However it is probably not a good idea for your daughter to make this move from her X-16s as the transition would be fairly dramatic and may be disappointing as she has become used to a forgiving club and seems to be doing very well with it.
 
Unless she has outgrown her existing set I would be hesitant to make a change at this time, certainly not towards a forged (normally associated with blades or minimal cavity back). In a couple of years when she gets even better and feels her clubs are holding her back, my advice would be to move in the direction of blades, but she may never get all the way there.
 
If she hasnt outgrown the set then sit tight and continue to get lessons and work hard. She has time ahead of her and it sounds like she has a bright future in the game, which requires a lot of commitment and hard work.
 
Frank
 
Butt Weighting
 
Im sixty two years old and a fairly straight hitter of the golf ball averaging 250 yards on a good fairway. I carry a two handicap and Im always looking for an edge in accuracy but not necessarily distance (but if it happens its a bonus). I concentrate on hitting the fairways and greens first as I currently play a TaylorMade R7 with neutral weighting and a splined shaft. My irons are all Srixon S300 SL with shaft dampening inserts. My question concerns end shaft weighting. Does it really help and worth the cost or is it a bad investment for the effort. I really enjoy your column and thanks for the venue in which to gain solid information.
 
Ray, TN

 
Ray,
 
I am not an advocate of butt weighting clubs but there is no reason why you shouldnt experiment (even though it may not conform) before making an investment by adding lead tape around the butt end of the grip or if this is uncomfortable to the lower section of the grip. This will give you an idea as to how it will work for you.
 
The theory behind butt weighting is that it decreases the swing weight, increases the overall weight and slightly changes the balance point of the club. However for your information wearing a wristwatch versus not wearing a wristwatch will do the same thing.
 
Hope this helps
Frank
 
High Ball Flight and Shafts
 
Dear Frank,
 
I recently was measured for and purchased a set of Callaway X20 tour irons.
I was told that Callaway (UK) could not build the clubs with my favorite S300 shaft but instead with the 'Project X' shaft. My local professional told me that the 5.5 shaft model was a direct replacement for the S300. Since taking possession of the clubs I have found that my ball flight in much higher and often to the left, making me suspect that these '5.5' shafts are too soft for me.
 
I am a 5 handicap with a 6-iron swing speed of 78 mph., which was measured by the pro doing the fitting. Given the above information, would you agree that the 5.5 are too soft and I should have a 6.0 fitted?
 
Thank you in advance.
 
Kind regards,
Brian, Scotland

 

Brian
 
It is a little difficult to diagnose your problem from 3000 miles away but next time I am in Scotlandwhich I do frequentlywe may be able to go to a local course and resolve your problem.
 
The above aside, it may not be the shaft but rather the club head that is increasing the trajectory by presenting more loft to the ball at the time of impact because of the lower Center of Gravity of the club head. I would also suggest checking the lie angle that could be a little too upright for your particular swing.
 
I would also like to suggest that you make some measurements on your old set versus your new set to make sure that the length is the same, the overall weight is the same and the frequency is the same. The frequency would indicate whether or not the recommended shaft is an appropriate substitute for the S 300.
 
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