QA Club Wear and Tear

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Editor'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
 

Frank,
Does the face of a driver ever wear out? I can hit my Cleveland Launcher 330 very reliably but someone told me that the face will wear out and lose its spring-like effect. I then went out and bought a new Cobra speed series driver which the ball jumps off, but is tough to hit straight. I am caught between 'learning' the new club and staying with old faithful based on the life of the driver face. -- Thanks, Mark. Georgia


Mark,
Manufacturers of some of the best known big titanium drivers test their product for durability and generally claim that because of the spring like effect of the face it may start deteriorating after about 6,000 to 10,000 impacts at impact speeds of about 100 mph.
 
With 10 practice balls before your round and 14 drives a round and 2 rounds a week this will allow you to play up to 208 weeks, or four years if you play all year. I don't think you need to worry but I do suggest that you check the flatness of the face using the edge of a credit card. If you see some flatness or signs of concavity in the face then you may want to change drivers. Generally there is a slight bulge and roll built into the driver face which means it is convex. After it starts to deteriorate it will flatten out. As I said it should not be of any concern for about 4 years of fairly intense golf activity, but check it any way. After four years you will probably want another driver anyway.

 
Frank,
I'm a 20-handicap and not getting any younger. What kind of shafts
(graphite/steel) and flex should I use. Thanks.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ed Winkler
Arlington Forest United Methodist Church

 

Pastor Ed,
I would first recommend that you check with doctor and see if you can get involved in a strength and flexibility exercise regimen. Studies show that three months of flexibility exercises result in a greater range of motion and have increased the average club head speed of 30 to 50 year olds by 5 mph. This will result in 10 to 15 more yards on your drives. This is more than any club or shaft will do for you.
 
Next I would suggest that you try an R-flex shaft if you have been playing with a Stiff shaft. And certainly try graphite shafts in your irons as I assume you have them in your woods already. If this doesn't work then the last resort is to say a little prayer.
Frankly I can only help so much....the rest is up to you.
 
Frank,
Is there any difference in the clubs that Phil Mickelson uses and the ones I could buy off the rack? Would it be possible for me to be using the exact same driver, shaft, grip, etc. as Mike Weir? If so, where do I find a copy of a pro's driver? -- Tim O'Coffey, Mackenzie, B.C.

 
Tim,
If you had exactly the same swing (speed and path etc.) as Phil or Mike then I would suggest that you try to get their specs and duplicate these for your club. These guys are unique and have their clubs tweaked almost every week.
 
As you remember Phil recently carried two drivers with slightly different properties so he didn't have to adjust his swing to achieve a certain flight of the ball for specific occasions. These guys are good but each requires something a little different. It would behoove you to select a club which suits your swing rather than try to use one which suits someone else's.
 
Assuming that Phil's clubs (the ones for that week) will perform well for you, is like assuming his shoes will also fit you and be as comfortable for you as they are for him.
I hope this will help in your search for the ideal club for a lefty. Depending on your skill level I would start with a standard set before you get into the real customized specs.
 
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