QA The Weather Effect


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
I asked this question a while back and have lost the article. Have looked at your website, which is very informative, but find nothing mentioned about weather.

The question is: Does humidity have any effect on whether a ball flies shorter or further? I know temperature has an effect, and wind of course.
Thank you
Noel Heacock

Humidity has the effect of reducing the air density and as a result this will reduce the drag on the ball allowing it to go through the air mass with less resistance but at the same time the ball will experience a lower lift force because of the lower air density so it is almost a wash. Bottom line is that the ball will have a lower trajectory and for a drive it will not travel as far on a humid day as it would on a day with air which is drier and more dense. This effect is very small, however, when compared the effect of air temperature. You can figure about 2+ yards per 10 degrees F difference in temperature. The colder temperatures with relatively dense air, increase the drag resistance significantly. When it comes to wind, you should know that a head wind of about 10 mph will reduce the driving distance by about 13 yards whereas a tail wind of the same speed will only help increase your distance by about 9 yards.
Dont worry about humidity but wind and temperature are very important and need to be compensated for appropriately.
Hope this helps solve your weather or not problem.
Mr. Thomas,
Could you please explain what is meant by kick in the shaft? Some have low, mid, or high. How do you know which is right for you?
Thank you, Lurisa Waldron

Shafts are designed to bend more at the tip end (the smaller diameter end that goes into the head) than the butt (grip) end. This has been found to be the most effective bending profile for most effective transfer of energy from the golfer to the club head.
A certain bend pattern has been developed over the years and this is relatively standard. This pattern can vary by making the shaft more or less flexible at the lower section of the shaft. When a shaft is compressed from both ends it will bend. The point which is farthest away from a straight line between the two ends is defined as the bend point or kick point. The distance this point is from the tip end of the shaft can vary up and down the shaft. The total range of this kick point is only about five inches but does have a significant effect on ball flight. A lower kick point is inclined to allow the shaft to bend forward from a lower section allowing the head to present a higher loft to the ball creating a higher launch angle and a little more spin. The higher kick point will reduce the effective loft angle and result in a lower launch angle and lower ball flight.
I do not recommend that most golfers try to alter their ball flight by changing the kick point in the shaft but rather by changing the loft or even the swing. Trying to affect launch angle, by using kick point is a tweak and something one can do when you have tried the most obvious other remedies.
Try to work with a standard flex pattern before you kick yourself.
How does a person line up the pitching wedge when you are only two feet away from the green? Please help I am a new golfer and needed some advice.
Teresa Morales

Alignment is always a problem with almost every club. I have designed a putter, which you can find on my website, which has engraved lines on the top of the head, both in line with the intended putting line as well as at right angles to this line. Unfortunately wedges dont have the area on top to accommodate such lines. Neither do most irons. So the next best thing to do is to line up the leading edge (where the sole meets the face) of the iron at ninety degrees to the intended flight line. In the case of some modern irons and certainly some wedges this leading edge is not a straight line so this makes things difficult. Fortunately for us most manufacturers have lined up the straight grooves at right angles to the flight path (assuming a square impact). So take advantage of this and when addressing the ball make sure that the grooves on the face are at right angles to the intended flight of the ball.
This should help get the correct alignment. The next thing to do is to reproduce this position when impact is made. Hope this helps.
Hi Frank,
Thanks for the great info on your site about the best wedges BUT can you tell us what MODELS within the brand were used?
Thanks Rob

Thanks for the kind comments. Our mission is to help golfers and you will find all sorts of helpful information on the site as you already have. Please understand that in our effort to provide as much reliable information as possible we need to survey our Frankly Friends. I believe that in excess of 1,100 avid golfers answered the questions asking them to rate their wedges. In trying to get this information to you in a timely manner we were not able to ask for the details which include each model but rather just the wedge type.
For example I carry two Titleist Vokey wedges a 52 and a 56. The 56 is a model SM5614, which means it has a loft of 56 degrees, has a Spin Milled (SM) face and a bounce of 14 degrees. My 52 is a 25208. This is not a spin milled face but does have 8 degrees of bounce. The number of wedges in the market place is very large and this multiplied by the number of models of each type is tremendous.
This was a tough one but I am sure you will have no problem with Frankly the Best Drivers or the Balls. Thanks again and stay in touch.hope we can help you and others coming to the site.
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