Personal Preference in Putters

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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 Boris with his question about the impact of body mass on clubhead speed.
 
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Personal Preference in Putters
 
Frank,

Is there an advantage to either using a heel shafted versus a center shafted other than personal preference? I have been told that it has to do with which eye is dominant to the golfer. Any putting help is greatly appreciated.
 
Thanks,
 
Larry

 
Larry,
 
There have been suggestions that there is a difference between using an Offset putter vs. a Non-Offset putter depending on left- or right-eye dominance. I have not seen any evidence to demonstrate that this makes any measurable difference.
 
From my experience the shaft location center or heel mounted, offset or non-offset is very much personal preference.
 
In some offset putters, one may see more of the orthogonal aiming line along the full length of the head (if there is one) but with a center mounted straight shaft, the shaft itself will help in lining up. It is personal preferences.
 
In one of the center shafted configurations of the Frankly Frog Putter (which I designed) there is a line 10 inches up the shaft which is a very subconscious reference line making alignment a little easier.
 
When it comes to shaft fitting I have found that shaft length is the most important and most golfers are using putters which are too long. This adds to the source of error associated with the up and down movement (degrees of freedom) resulting in inconsistent results.
 
When it comes to the effect on your stroke if the putter is face balanced, it does not matter where the shaft is mounted in the head. If it is not face balanced and the straight shaft is mounted in the heel or center, the rotation speed of the sweet spot may be different. However, once impact starts with any putter the inertia about various axes of the head will take over and influence movement of the ball on off a miss-hit.
 
If you are ever in the Orlando area you may benefit tremendously from a visit -- by appointment -- to our Frankly Frog Putting Studio. Click Here to learn more about the Putting Studio.
 
Hope this helps
 
Frank
 
Your Credit Card and Driving Distance
 
Frank,
 
A friend of mine consistently hits his driver right in the center (a problem I would like to have). As a result, there is a worn spot on the face of the driver. While he drives the ball straight, I suspect he is losing yardage because of the wear on the face of the driver. Am I correct in this? Since he hits that driver so well, and because it is a fairly recent model, I suggested he replace it with the exact same model and specifications. Would this be worth doing? Thanks for your advice. I enjoy reading your weekly questions and answers.
 
Ira

 
Ira,
 
This is true friendship I must admit.
 
If he ' your very close friend ' is driving the ball well with his a recent model driver then there is really no need to be concerned about wearing out the face in the near future unless he hits it at speeds of approximately 100 mph + and plays a lot. On the other hand, when you find a good friend that works well, then dont change, or in your friend's case (and YES to your question), get a spare model if he can find an exact replica, just in case.
 
The way to tell whether your driver is starting to lose its OOMPH (sometimes known as Coefficient of Restitution), is to take a credit card and place the straight edge across the center of the face, in the vertical (top to bottom) and then in the horizontal (toe to heel) planes . If it rocks slightly, indicating it still has some convexity 'roll in the vertical plane and bulge in the horizontal plane ' then you should be good to go. If the face is flat or indented (concave) then you do need to look for a replacement. At head speeds of about 100 mph or less the face should be able to withstand about 10,000 impacts before losing COR.
 
Ira, I suggest this credit card test (Visa, AmEx or Mastercard will do) rather than the one most golfers use i.e. estimating the distance and claiming I am losing distance.
 
Most of us may lose distance, as the new driver starts misbehaving like the rest of its Bagmates. Some clubs are just not as well disciplined as others so you can expect this to happen from time to time. The real reason for the loss in distance is, most case is probably leak in the magic valve.
 
Tell your friend he has a good friend, both in the driver and in you so he should look after both.
 
Frank
 
A Good Deal or What?
 
Frank,
 
I got a great deal on a Callaway X 3 wood 15 degrees tour version with an X-stiff pro launch shaft. Now, I am a 25 handicapper and everything I have checked says I should have stiff flex shafts and I probably have no business with a tour version golf club. My question is how much will all of this affect me and I am wondering if I should try the club or just try to sell it while it is still in new condition. I do swing over 100 mph and when I hit straight I will drive between 240-275. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
TJ

 

TJ,
 
Well done on your good deal. I don't know what you paid for it but a good deal should be about 50% off.
 
Because you didn't have an option of shaft flex, and your driver club head speed is over 100mph, why don't you go out and hit it? If you have to fight the club and need to hit it hard to get it to go well then change to a more flexible shaft using the money you saved on the good deal.
 
From what you tell me; i.e. from 240 to 275 yards is your driving distance range (when you hit is straight) and you have a 25 handicap, I believe your problem is that your shoelaces are too tight. This is necessary to keep the shoes on during each swing but this is tough on your feet during the rest of the round.
 
Under these circumstances, and if I am right then the X-Stiff shaft in the fairway wood will be fine because you are not going swing slower with the 3-wood than you do with your driver. This is a natural instinct most of us males have so don't feel bad.
 
IF, however, you decide to slow down (which I don't believe you are going to do) and get you swing under control you will probably lower your handicap by several strokes, hit the ball about the same distance on average and keep it in the fairway more often. If you do this slowing down thing, then I think you should try a more flexible shaft with the next good deal you get or change the shaft in this club.
 
Sometimes a good deal isn't as good as it seems.
 
Hope this helps
 
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