QA Looking for Distance in 2008


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
I am 68, using a King Cobra stiff graphite since 94. Lost speed and distance - how do I find the right shaft for new clubs in '08?

Happy New Year.
I will try to turn over a new leaf in 2008 and shorten up on my answers to the many of the questions I will be asked this year, by not get caught up in extraneous but interesting related technical matters. At least this is my plan.
Because you have such a short question, I will start my New Year by giving a short answer.
Mike, I can help you find some more speed and distance now that you have reached 68 and have a fourteen-year-old driver with a stiff graphite shaft.
  • First; you really do need a new driver.
  • Second; assuming you have a head speed of a little less than average approximately 80 to 85 mph this driver should have a loft angle of about 12+ degrees so you can launch the ball at about 14 degrees above the horizontal.
  • Third; this driver should be close to 460 cc in size because this is the size most drivers are today and they all have the maximum COR (spring like effect) to launch the ball faster without changing your clubhead speed and they are all close to an acceptable MOI (forgiveness factor).
  • Fourth; the shaft stiffness should be an R (regular) flex graphite and the club length should not be longer than 45 inches and preferably 44 inches long. This will keep you in the fairway more often and on average increase your overall length.
  • Fifth; start doing some strength and flexibility exercises (after getting permission from your doctor). Stretching after proper warm-up will increase your range of motion and increase your head speed.
  • Sixth; if Santa didnt leave a wallet full of money in your stocking then buy last years model of driver which will be half price and just as good as this years.
  • Last; you will need to work on your game and put some of the money you save buying last years model of driver toward a lesson or two.
    Did I just break my New Years Resolution?
    Good golfing in 2008 and for many more years.
    I am one of those guy's that has a large stomach. How does it affect my swing?

    I think most of us are suffering from the same problem right now after the recent Gobble-Days so dont feel alone. Because you are in the midwest now and the weather is not good for golf, you may be able to start working on the size of the problem.
    In most cases, it (a large abdominal protuberance) is considered a little bit of a hindrance to making a good swing. Some have been able to overcome this obstacle but it would probably be better to reduce the size of the bulge, which will allow you to have more options in your swing repertoire. Whatever you do, dont ever think of giving up the game because of this protrusion and take some solace from the fact that you have more weight to throw around.
    Happy New Year
    Hi Frank!!
    Enjoy your insight on golf and the rules. Here is an easy one, while on the green I putt and the ball goes all the way off the green. Am I able to leave the pin in? This came up last week and we were not sure.

    The answer is YES you can leave the pin in because you are not on the green.
    If you enjoy this column, then I know you are going to enjoy my book which will be published before the Spring. If you would like updates, please sign up as a Frankly Friend by visiting here . Enter your email address and click on book. I will keep in touch and you can then reserve one of the first signed copies off the press.
    Happy New Year.
    Frank Thomas new imageFrank 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