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Have Your Say on Groove
 
The USGA adopted new groove specifications on August 5, 2008, which will affect most of us if we continue to use our existing clubs in 2024 and affect our new purchases of clubs manufactured after January 1, 2010.
 
In essence, the change is to reduce the volume of the grooves by approximately 40 %, which will reduce the spin rate out of the rough. This will make it more difficult to control the ball from a shot out of the light rough.
 
The research data to justify the change has been gathered from highly skilled golfers on tour-- 0.001% of the golfing population. The assumption is that extremely long hitters are not being penalized enough when their drives come to rest in primary rough -- about 2 to 3-inches in depth ' and the object of the change is to make it more difficult for the elite players to control the ball from shots out of the rough to the green.
 
The change for the elite players in Championship competition will be in effect as of January 1st , 2010. Regrettably there is no sound evidence provided to indicate that the objective will be achieved and the game will be better off because of this change. It is purely an assumption on the part of the USGA that this change ' with momentous consequences -- is good for the game.
 
Contrary to condescending statements made by the USGA; all golfers will be affected by this change. First in that our purchase of a new set of clubs will have the equivalent of the 1942 groove configuration which will make it even more difficult for us to control the ball to the green than it is now. And second, if we continue to use our present clubs we will be playing under a different set of rules than the elite golfers until 2024 ' or perhaps for ever -- condoned by the USGA but in contradiction to its Statement of Principles published in May 2002.
 
It may be the start of TWO sets of rules, which I personally think will erode the fundamentals of the game BUT a better solution than a change ' rolling back the groove configuration to equivalent specifications to those adopted in 1942 ' designed to resolve a perceived problem caused by .001% of the golfing population but affecting all golfers.
 
Please Click Here to check out the results of what you thought about the USGA groove rule change.
 
Hybrid Lies
 
Dear Frank,
 
I started playing golf at the age of 49 with a group of guys every Friday night. We were all beginners none of us had any lessons at that time. I am now 56 and really enjoying this game more than ever. After a series of 5 lessons, which I decided I needed I started to see improvements.
 
That competitive nature took over and I strived to win every game we all played together. I won the majority of time but was not shooting consistent golf.
 
One day I heard you make a statement on a website that 'it's a game we play against ourselves'. I thought a lot about that statement and I finally understood what you were saying and placed it into action, that's when my game really improved.
 
I no longer worried about beating the others and became more relaxed on the course. That one statement has cut between 6 to 10 strokes off my game. I am now shooting in my mid to low eighties.
 
I have also taken your advice which has been invaluable to me. My driver is reg-flex shaft 44 inches I hit more fairways now. I had my lies adjusted found I should have been 2 degrees flat. My iron shots are now more consistent.
 
My question at last is: If my irons are 2 degree's flat should my hybrids also be bent to match my irons?
 
I hit them straight when teed up on a tee box. On a tight lie on the fairway
I am not as consistent with the ball flight it tends to fade the majority of time. I am not sure if it is the club or me.
 
I want to thank you for all your hard work and helping others as well as
myself. I will be ordering you book with in the very near future.
 
Sincerely,
Dean

 
Dean,
I do appreciate your kind comments and am pleased that my advice has been of so much help to you.
 
If your hybrids are going straight off a tee from the teeing ground where your swing plane is a little (very little) flatter, because the ball is slightly raised compared to the fairway lie, then it is possible that the fade from the fairway lie is because the lie angle is too flat for this slightly more upright swing plane. This is highly unlikely because the differences in your swing plane are very small. If by chance, this was the case and you make the lie adjustment to be more upright -- to solve your fairway problem -- you may find your tee shots will have a slight draw.
 
This is what I call a tweak adjustment, which is so small that most of us will not be able to recognize it. Dean, it is more likely that your problem is in your mental approach when you make a swing from the fairway lie compared to off a tee. When the ball is teed up we dont often think about making contact with the ground before impact. Our entire thought process is different and we take some comfort in knowing that we have a good lie and the likelihood that we will hit it fat is reduced significantly.
 
Maybe what you should do is tee the ball up in the fairway -- only when you are experimenting-- not when you are playing in the US Open.
 
As far as adjusting the lie angle of your hybrids; this is not recommended by the manufacturers and for the less lofted clubs -- 18 to 21 degrees -- a slight differences in lie angle does not affect the ball flight as much as it would on more lofted clubs such as the wedges. Make sure that your hybrids, as in fairway woods, have a toe to heel radius on the sole. This prevents the sole from unnecessarily catching at the toe or heel if it does make contact with the ground before or during impact.
 
Some manufacturers indicate that hybrids may be adjusted a couple of degrees for lie angle, by an expert club maker using the same bending tools used for irons. If the correct length is selected for your woods and hybrids the standard lie angle should be close to what you need.
 
Hope this helps a little, now go out and Just Hit It.
Frank
 
The Truth About Tees and Kissing Frogs
 
Hi Frank,
 
Your Q&As are a high point of my week. I read your book in one sitting and highly recommend it to others. It is wonderful to get the straight facts without worrying about who is paying the advertising revenue.
 
This week I have a question plus a silly one from my granddaughter. First, there are a great many tees on the market; some feature improved cup styles or prongs, others are brushes, etc. Other than length, does the type of tee really have much effect on ball flight and distance?
 
The silly question came up when my 3 year old granddaughter saw me reading your website. She recognized the putter as a frog and asked the obvious 3 year old question; what happens if a princess kisses the putter? Im sure with all your contacts you could empirically test this.
 
Seriously, I would like to have the chance to actually hold the Frankly Frog putter in my hands and try it before ordering it. Since I get to Orlando every twenty years or so, is there a way to meet the Frog in person before ordering it?
 
Thanks for your help.
 
Jay

 
Jay,
Thank you for the kind comments about my book and the weekly Q&A column. You have a three-part question the answers to which are;
 
1. There is no solid evidence that the differences in tee designs presently permitted have any measureable effect on distance for elite golfers and certainly not the average golfer. If this was not the case the USGA would have something to say about it and would develop tee specifications to disapprove these devices.
2. You can tell your granddaughter that if a princess kisses the Frog Putter she will probably lower her handicap.
3. We have just made a free download of the putting guide available to all who wish to take advantage of this on www.franklygolf.com. This will automatically make you a Frankly Friend and allow you to take advantage of the 30/30/30 program which in essence allowing you have 30 days to try the putter of your choice. See the site for details or call us at 407 396 4004.
 
Jay, please dont kiss the Frog in front of your wife when you get it for the 30 day trial . She may frown on this even though it will result in lowering your handicap a couple of strokes. Kiss your granddaughter in front of her instead.
 
Thanks again for your kind comment and please help us and the game, by answering the five questions in my groove survey by Clicking Here.
Frank
 
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Roosevelt, with his question about his hole in one.
 
To reserve your own copy of 'Just Hit It', please Click Here We are now shipping!
 
Please note: By submitting your question to Frank you will automatically become a Frankly Friend so you can stay up to date with his golf equipment Q&A. You may unsubscribe at any time.
 
Frank Thomas logoFrank 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