Q A The Spin on Spin


Frankly GolfEditor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com
When hitting my driver (9.5 degrees), the ball launches fairly high and carries about 230 yards or so, and then stops almost immediately with almost no forward roll, even in dry conditions. In addition to my swing (not hitting down on the shot), are there other ways to reduce the amount of spin on my tee shots? Does the shaft flex have anything to do with it? -- Kevin Chung

The shaft does have an effect on ball flight but you should not change this if it leads to a club with which you dont feel comfortable. I would suggest you try to tee the ball up a little higher so as to make contact a little above center on the club face. This will reduce the spin and flatten the trajectory but also increase the launch angle a little which you may not want. I would also try a low spin ball. The next thing to try is a tip stiff shaft which will help keep the ball flight down a little more. If none of the above work then you may have to go to a lower lofted driver. I dont know what your head speed is but if it is 95 to 100 mph then the carry distance you are getting is not bad and teeing the ball up a little may do the trick.
I was given a set of clubs, by a local business man after helping him get back in shape after a back injury. He is an avid golfer and he gave a set of Ben Hogan Edge Forged with Adilia graphite shafts firm flex 5.0 1 torque. The clubs were actually in pretty good condition considering that these particular blades came out during the years of 1989-1992. I do not have the opportunity to play multiple rounds of golf yearly like a lot of people do, so I have enjoyed playing with these clubs and hit them very easily.
Recently when I was out hitting, my 3-iron broke at the connection between hosel and blade after the follow through. I noticed that a few of the other irons have this look around the hosel and blade area as if they are about to break also. My main question is would it be more cost effective to simply have all of the clubs reshafted, or should I simply invest in a new set of reasonably priced irons? -- E.R Jones

I hope this doesnt stand for Emergency Room and it is your real name, even though you must have done a good job on the back injury to get the graphite set of Hogan Edge clubs. ER, club design has changed in the last 15 years and even though you dont get to play too much it is about time you changed to a newer set of irons.
The Edge was and still is a good set but the shafts may need to be replaced. Or get a brand name set of forgiving irons ' cavity backs -- which are a couple of years old. These will cost a lot less than a 2006 model set and the difference in performance will be minimal especially if you only get out a couple of times a year. Technology in irons hasnt changed much in the last several years so look around for the set you like and it doesnt have to be brand new. Check out the Maltby Playability Factor on my site at http://www.franklygolf.com/MPF/index.asp to visit information which will help guide you when choosing a new set of irons.
Dear Frank,
I have been marking my golf ball for the purpose of making sure that I've played the correct ball. I am currently marking my golf balls with a line that goes completely around the circumference of it. I have been questioned as to the legality of this practice and have not been able to determine if it is or how much of a mark is permissible. Mahalo and Aloha -- Glenn Nakashima

I think you may know that Duffy Waldorf on the PGA tour used to draw all sorts of pictures on his ball. As long as the ball is on the conforming list, which requires that it has identical markings then adding markings to identify your ball is encouraged. There are not restrictions as to what you write on the ball or the type of marking. If it is not distracting when the ball is in the fairway and the line is not aligned with the intended line of flight then placing a stripe all around the ball is not a problem with the rules. In many cases you do better on the range than on the course so drawing range type racing stripes on the ball may improve your performance on the course.
I am thinking of purchasing a set of newer clubs since I feel my game is improving. Based on my in store swing analysis, my current set of clubs have had the lie angle bent to 2 degrees flatter. In my research of new clubs I noticed that the particular set I am interested in are anywhere from 1 to 1/2 degrees flatter in the standard configuration, (i.e. 7-iron: old - 63.0 new 62.5; 5-iron old - 62.0 new 61.0). Additionally, I noticed the shafts of the newer clubs to be about 1/4 inch shorter. Would I need to have the newer irons bent 2 degrees flatter or 1 degree since they are already flatter.
Also, is it wise to have sand/lob wedges bent flatter also or are they fine without any tweaking? -- Mike

Let me answer your second question first. The lie angle of your wedges is as important as or more important than the lie angle on the other clubs because of the high loft which exaggerates the effect of an incorrect lie angle.
I would suggest that you not worry about the specs before you know you have a problem. The first step is to use a lie board in the fitting center. If the scuff marks are not on the center portion of the sole then make the adjustment. Then if you are reasonably happy with the feel of the set go out and hit some balls and check the ball flight. This will verify whether the lie angle is correct for you.
Reference the question from Geoff Whitehead from Delta, BC, who broke several heads.
I too had purchased a club (450cc in size), I used it once on a course and then a few days later at a driving range I had it crack just like the guy above. After talking to the manager of the store I got it at, he replaced it at no cost. In my opinion the balls they use at the range seem to be harder (like they were retrieved after being water logged). Since then, I do not hit my drivers or woods at a driving range, and havent had a crack since. I wonder if a majority of the ranges use balls that are in a condition to cause damage to a club? ' Bob, Albany, NY

I have checked with the manufacturers and found that you should be able to impact a driver with a 90 to 100 mph head speed about 10,000 times before it will fail in the manner you describe. In Geoffs case, I found out subsequently, that he was hitting practice balls when the outside temperature was -10 to -15C. Not only will this have some affect on the club face but also the balls will be significantly harder than under normal temperatures which will decrease the lifespan of these thin faced drivers.
In your case it sounds like a quality control problem.
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@thegolfchannel.com