Lets be Frank


Match Play Gimmies
Hi Frank:
I have always wondered why in match play, some putts, some outside the gimmie range, are conceded?

Match-play strategy and tactics are quite different from a regular stroke play round. The psychology involved is fascinating and I really liked your question because many golfers (unless they have played a lot of competitive matchplay) are unaware of some of the subtleties of this format.
In some cases (depending on the match and the personalities of the players involved), giving a putt from just outside gimmie length can be a sporting gesture of goodwill and this gesture may be returned later in the round.
However, there can also be some gamesmanship involved. If you give all the 4-5 footers at the beginning of the match and then when it really counts, dont give a 3-footer, your competitor may choke and miss it, wondering why it wasnt given. This adds extra pressure over the short putts.
You should never expect to be given any putt in match play. Go into a match expecting to hole everything out and if your opponent does give you any putts, think of these as a bonus.
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Hope this helps

Graphite and Tennis Elbow
Dear Frank,
I just had surgery to repair a tennis elbow injury to my left elbow. I have been playing with sensicore stiff shafts for about 10 years. Now it has been suggested by my playing buddies that graphite shafts would be easier on my elbows and even my shoulders. Is this possible if the golf ball is struck with the same speed with shaft stiffness being about equal?

I have seen no sound evidence to show that the use of graphite shafts will prevent tennis elbow. I am led to believe that the vibrations which cause damage to the joints are the low frequency vibrations which are not damped out by many devices, either in the shaft, on the head or by changing to graphite shafts.
The matrix holding the graphite fibers in place around the shaft is epoxy and this has a low modulus which will dampen some high frequencies ' when compared to steel shafts ' as will most soft grips and the meat on your hands. These high frequency vibrations are the ones you generally feel in your hands and fingers.
The miss-hits, which cause twisting of the club head, are absorbed more by a shaft with less torsional stiffness and for this reason the graphite shafts, which generally have less torsional stiffness than steel, may help.
Or just try to prevent the miss-hits and make contact with the sweet spot every time.

Graphite shafts will allow you to swing easier and this easy swing will have more of an effect on avoiding tennis elbow than the shaft material or its properties. One of the problems with switching to graphite is that we swing just as hard as we did before we made the switch.
Go for the graphite but dont expect it is going to be the cure for your problem.
Hope this helps.

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Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to helping golfers. Frank is chief technical advisor to 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