Irons Hybrids and Woods - COPIED

By Frank ThomasMay 8, 2010, 12:16 am


I’ve just turned 60, stand 5’ 8” and never was a long hitter (It now takes my 4 hybrid to reach the green from 150 yards). My question is in the area of hybrids and fairway woods. I have 3 and 4-wood styled hybrids in my new set, and 5 and 7 fairway woods from my previous set. I’d like to know in descending order the longest club to the shortest in relative distance.

Now to my pressing need. You have convinced me to work on my putting game, and my next step is to purchase a Frog. I often 3-putt from twenty-five feet. I find a 34” shaft on the putter works best for my back as opposed to a 33”; however; I’m not sure this would match with your recent suggestions. I also had questions on the center positioned shaft on the Frog.

– Greg

I think the best way to answer your hybrid-fairway wood question is to explain the differences in design and the effect of these differences. An iron with a loft of 24 degrees (a 4-iron, dependent on manufacturer) has the same loft as a 24 degree hybrid and a 9-wood.

As forgiving as the 4-iron may be, the hybrid of the same loft has a higher Moment of Inertia (MOI), a center of gravity (c.g.) farther away from the face and the shaft is about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches longer. For this reason it will hit the ball higher than the iron and about 5 to 10 yards farther. It is also more accurate and easier to hit than the iron and that is why I strongly recommend that 99% of us replace long irons with hybrids, starting the set at a 5 or 6-iron.

The fairway wood when compared to the hybrid of the same loft, has a higher MOI, a c.g. slightly farther back from the face and the shaft is generally about two inches longer than the hybrid. This will in turn hit the ball higher than the hybrid and because of the shaft length hit the ball about 10 to 15 yards farther. It is more forgiving because of the high MOI but less accurate than the hybrid because of the additional shaft length.

Greg, these are the differences but you may find – based on your swing and the club you choose – some variations from what I have given. For this reason and until the manufacturers sort these differences out for a new set make up you will have to do it for yourself based on what you need to fill the distance and the shot types you like.

Regarding putters; you are right in that I do recommend a shorter putter which allows you to release the tension in your arms but not at the expense of getting a sore back. When you practice your putting, you should always stand up after a couple of putts or better yet between each putt.

As far as a center shafted putter is concerned, these are becoming more popular and accepted especially in the face balanced versions and mallet headed design. You can get a heel shafted mallet with similar properties to the center mounted because the shaft axis is in the same plane as the center of the face and the c.g. but the shaft is bent to attach at the heel. Which ever you choose, it is personal preference which is important.

We have been led to believe that a blade putter (toe-heel weighted with a goose neck hosel) is the best but in fact these putters are probably most suited to the very best players who don’t make any mistakes. For the rest of us (99%) a mallet and center shafted makes intuitive sense.

I hope this has helped you and thanks again for your kind comments.

Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email


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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.