Sole Width


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

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one lucky golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Randy, with his question on club head weights.
Frank will sign the first 50 orders recieved this week. To reserve your own copy of 'Just Hit It', please Click Here We are now shipping!
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Sole Width
Hi Frank,
In a recent conversation with some of my fellow golfers I mentioned something that I read sometime ago with reference to the sole of clubs and the choice to be used for difference grass levels or kind used. Am I, or was I, just dreaming of such an article or subject? Does the width or size of the sole on irons have any if any effect on the shots? Thank you.

Some of the more forgiving clubs have a wider sole which prevent the club from digging into the ground and creating a very fat shot. As ones skill level improves the width of the sole can be decreased in most cases. Unfortunately the width of the sole doesnt have anything to do with the length of the grass, however, a very wide sole generally has more bounce and may be a detriment when playing off hard pan fairways.
I, too, find myself dreaming about golf so you are not alone.
Getting a Grip
Hello Frank -
Love your column. You're a lone voice of common sense.
My question concerns buying oversized/midsized grips vs. buying standard grips and building them up with layers of tape. Other than maybe installation convenience, is there any advantage or disadvantage of one approach vs. the other? I used to buy all oversized or midsized grips but buying standard grips opens up a lot more choices. Does building up standard grips stretch them more so they would wear out faster? Or is there any significant difference in swingweights?

Thank you

I do know that there are relatively limited choices in oversize and midsize grips compared to what is available in standard grips. However I would suggest that you find the right size grip and stick with that as long as the choice is somewhat acceptable.
A significant build up of the under listing will not only stretch the grip that you like but probably compromise its properties. I consider multiple layers of under listing somewhat similar to putting on 3 pairs of socks to get the shoes to fit.
It would be in your best interests to find the right fit to begin with.
Thank you for your kind comments and be sure to sign up as a Frankly Friend for weekly updates by clicking here.
Shaft Length and Distance
I'm 53 years old and I'm noticing that I am not hitting my irons as long as I used to. I know that I'm not swinging as fast as I used to (comes with age I guess) and I'm assuming that's the reason for loss of distance. Although I am still able to maintain a 5 handicap it is for sure more of a challenge. I am thinking about adding 2 inches to the length of my shafts, hoping that would compensate for the loss in distance. What is your opinion my friend? Would that solve my problem? Thanks for taking the time Frank and all the best with your new book.


Thank you for your good wishes for the book. We have been getting some wonderful responses from some people. I hope that you will find Just Hit It informative, interesting and a guide to making the right choices when it comes to equipment. I also hope that the book will help mobilize golfers to take some action to make our game an enjoyable activity rather than a time consuming chore.
Second, I must advise you that 53 is not old but is really in the prime of your golfing career. Congratulations on maintaining your 5 handicap but I would strive to lower this as you still have the potential to do so.
Adding 2 inches to the shafts on your irons will not only increase the swing weight by over 12 points but will increase the MOI of the club itself requiring considerably more energy to generate the increased clubhead speed to obtain the increased distance you are looking for. This increase of 2 inches per club will also significantly decrease your accuracy equivalent to the difference in accuracy from a 7 to a 3 iron.
I think the best advice I can give you if you are experiencing a decrease in distance with your irons is to join a local gym after checking with your doctor and work on your strength and flexibility. This will increase your range of motion and based on research allow you to increase your clubhead speed on average approximately 5 mph which should generate at least 10-12 yards increase in distance. Youll not only enjoy golf more but your quality of life off the golf course will also improve significantly.
Lastly, if your clubs are more than 2 years old I would recommend you check the lie angle and lofts to make sure that they have not changed.
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
Frank Thomas