QA Length Loft

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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
 

Frank,
 
If I shorten my driver from say 45 1/2' to 44' will it have any affect on the loft? Would the ball go higher or lower because of the change in length? Thanks for the knowledge you impart!!
 
Thanks,
Gary

 
Gary,
 
If you shorten your driver from 45 to 44 -- which I recommend, if you want to lower your scores and stay in the fairway more often -- it will not change the loft of the driver, but because the shortening will affect the stiffness a little it may decrease the dynamic loft a little. Also a stiffer shaft will generally keep the ball down a little. This decrease in length will definitely affect the swing weight by about nine points so if you have a club head with weight ports, increase the weights to bring the swing weight back partially or if needed, all the way back to your comfort swing weight zone. If the farthest back rear ports are used this may return the dynamic loft back to where it was with the longer driver.
 
What you will find with your shorter driver is that you will start building confidence in your tee shots, stay in the fairway more often and will most likely make a better swing and certainly hit the sweet spot more often. Hitting the sweet spot will increase the ball speed and you will probably get the same distance on average as you did with your 45 inch driver but wont have to carry your snake bite kit with you any longer.
 
Tiger, when he played so well in his early days used a 43 1/2 inch driver.
 
Hope this helps.
-- Frank
 
I have upgraded to a Titanium driver, but I still use an original Acushnet Bulls-Eye and putt very well. I have been playing Ping Eye 2 + for about ten years. I play to a ten, but my golf became easier when I gave up forged blade irons. How do the Ping Eye 2's stack up against the more modern versions? These are reasonably forgiving, the heads are modest in size and I get sufficient feel especially with todays golf balls. What might I gain from irons with newer technology?
 
-- Mark

 
Mark,
 
There is no doubt that you can still enjoy your game very much with your Acushnet Bulls-Eye putter and your Ping Eye 2 irons. Your irons are classics and the very club that started the cavity-back revolution. Few iron sets are more user-friendly than your Eye-2s. This does not mean that you should not look around at some of the latest technology in irons but don't get too excited or expect your game to improve significantly if you decide to make the change.
 
As much as the Bulls-Eye putter is also a classic it is time for a change. My Bulls-Eye is on the shelf with some of my persimmon woods. The reason for a good mallet putter is that you really do want an instrument with as many sources of error removed. We have enough sources of error in our putting stroke that we don't need any more built into the putter.
 
A good putter should have a high MOI (4,500 to 5,000 gm cm )about the vertical axis but also the horizontal toe/heel axis. This is the case with some of the mallet style putters. The center of gravity (c.g.) should be as low as possible using tungsten (twice as heavy as lead) weights to achieve this. This putter should also have a radius on the sole from toe to heel very similar to the Bulls-Eye. Last, the putter must have a good feel on impact and face balanced if at all possible. The face balancing will tend to square the face at impact if it is off line.
 
So, for your own sake review what is out there in the market and check out a Frankly Frog. I designed the Frog a few years ago and it was the first in the marketplace to have rear split weighting. You'll notice now how many of the bigger manufacturers have taken this concept and are introducing it as their own. Very flattering, I have to say. Like the Ping Eye 2 irons, it's only true innovations that are imitated.
 
You can read more about what I believe were the three innovations that changed the game in my upcoming book 'Just Hit It'. It is due for release on the 29th February, but you can reserve your copy by Clicking Here. The first 50 pre-orders this week will received a signed copy.
 
-- Frank
 
Hello Frank,
 
I recently read an article in a leading golf magazine that recommended changing wedges on a regular basis. They stated that wedges begin to loose their bite and efficiency in spinning the ball after about 40 rounds of golf. I discussed this with a friend of mine who is a pro on the Canadian tour and he said he changed his wedges about every 6 months. How often would you recommend that the average 80-90s shooter change their wedges? I realize that these are probably the most important scoring clubs in the bag, but at what point does this begin to make a difference for players at this level?
 
--Michel

 

Michel,
 
I am a 5 handicap golfer and havent changed my wedges in three years. The fact is that I am not able to make my wedges do yo-yo tricks on the green the same way Tiger can even if they were brand new. What you should be concerned about is the correct loft, lie and bounce in your wedges. Some manufacturers tried to convince us that their irons where better than those of their competitors, because the same numbered iron hit the ball farther and as a result we have had to live with a change in unwritten loft standards.
 
The lofts were changed without changing the number on the bottom of the club. The Sand wedge has remained at about 56 degrees, but the Pitching Wedge moved up with the rest of the set and is now about 46 degrees compared to 52 degrees that it was before the cheating started. This forced the birth of the Gap wedge.
 
Both the Gap wedge and the PW are really a continuation of the sets of the past and dont need a bounce of more than about 8 degrees. The Gap wedge (50 to 54 degree loft) should have a bounce of about 8-10 degrees of bounce with the SW close to 14 degrees of bounce. For the Lob wedge (60 degree loft) the bounce goes back to 6 degrees or even 4 degrees of bounce.
 
These loft, lie, and bounce properties are those you should be concerned about with your wedges and once you have them sorted then start working on your short game technique. The grooves are important but will not affect your game as much as a little work around the green and/or a lesson. When you and I start shooting in the low 70s on a regularly basis then we can look at and rework the grooves every year.
 
Not such a groovy answer is it?
-- 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