Lets be Frank

By Frank ThomasOctober 28, 2008, 4:00 pm

Spreading the Weight Around

Good Afternoon Frank,
First I want to thank you for your weekly Q&A. I really look forward to seeing the new Q&A posted email in my in-box every week. My question is about drivers and I guess woods in general.
I have been playing golf now for about 4 years and I am really into the game. I have been playing about 3 or 4 times a week this summer and think it might be time to upgrade my driver (and woods) from my discount brand hand-me-downs since I have an occasional slice off the tee... Well maybe a little more than occasional.
I have read about the draw biased clubs from TaylorMade and also moveable weight systems from other brands, but don't really think they will help improve my game. Wouldn't I be better off trying to improve my swing;
Are the moveable weights and draw biasing just gimmicks to get people to buy more equipment? It almost feels to me that using a club like that would be cheating, maybe not cheating at golf but cheating yourself out of actually improving your game?
Thank you,

Joe, The Golfer
Thank you for your kind comments and I am pleased you are enjoying the weekly Q&As.
I will try to get to all your questions with one answer to avoid spreading it around.
Playing as frequently as you do, I hope you read the small print when taking up this game four years ago; WARNING: this can be very addictive and difficult to give up.
Yes, it is time to get a new driver. The other woods ' if they are behaving themselves, work well and are in good shape ' may keep their place in your bag, otherwise think about some new fairway woods, such as a 3-wood and maybe a 5- wood.
As far as your driver is concerned, YES, you would be very much better off working on your swing rather than trying to get a draw bias driver to solve a swing flaw. In addition, YES, you will be cheating yourself by getting a band-aid to solve your problem which will require the purchase of a new driver if you ever corrected your swing and no longer needed the band-aid.
A good swing correction is always the best solution. This will not only improve your outlook, confidence and enjoyment but improve your distance and accuracy.
The draw biased drivers are designed to satisfy golfers who are looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately, the quick fix may not be as effective as advertized.
Those golfers who can benefit from the slight shift in the center of gravity (c.g.) to the heel of the club ' a draw bias club ' are the very good golfers who fade (not slice) the ball. They want to take advantage of the gear effect by hitting the ball away from the c.g. toward the toe. Most of us have experienced this effect when missing the sweet spot toward the toe and the result is a slight draw.
The draw bias driver has the c.g. shifted to the heel and you will benefit from this slight adjustment, and thus the gear effect if you hit the ball on the sweet spot more frequently than most of us do.
Joe, get a lesson or two and get a standard neutral driver and last years model will do as the technology has not changed rapidly and you will save a dollar or two for your lessons.

Difficulty of a 3-iron

Why is it so difficult to hit a 3-iron?

Your question is to the point; doesnt take up much space; very short and not as difficult to answer as it is to hit a 3-iron. Try a 2-iron or even a 1-iron if you are really looking for a challenge. This is if you can find a 1-iron!
The 1-iron lost its place in the bag about 35 years ago, soon after manufacturers started decreasing the unwritten standard lofts for irons. They did this surreptitiously in an effort to demonstrate how their irons hit the ball farther than the competitors clubs. This trend created a 2-iron with the same loft as a 1-iron of old and the 3-iron is now equivalent to the old 2-iron and closing in on a 1-iron. Clubs are now about 4 to 5 degrees stronger than the same numbered clubs of the 1960s.
There are no loft standards for clubs as these are now somewhat dependent on the club head design. You will find that the trend of decreasing the loft is reversing a little because of the mass distribution in the club head of the more forgiving heads. These have a backward and low positioned c.g. (center of gravity) which is getting the ball up into the air more easily and as a result, the lofts are less than expected to compensate for the higher trajectory.
Your 3-iron, which you find so hard to hit is probably one of the older blade like designs without the forgiveness now afforded the newer bulky but forgiving cavity back designs. This bulkiness means that the Moment of Inertia (MOI, which is the forgiveness factor) is greater but not as forgiving as an equivalent lofted fairway wood or hybrid. This makes the 3-iron more difficult to hit If, however, you hit your 3-iron flush i.e. right on the sweet spot, it is as sweet as any shot can be.
My suggestion ' because we are not that good ' is to leave your 3-iron and even your 4-iron in the box they were shipped in, even if these are of the latest design and use the space in your bag for a three and four hybrid.
Hybrids will certainly do a very good job, which you expected your 3- or 4-irons to do.
Iron technology has not changed significantly in the last 10 years or so but it certainly has changed since Jack Nicklaus was at his peak in the early 1960s but he was able to hit a 2-iron very well. Ping introduced forgiving irons ' cavity back clubs ' in the late 1960s and this concept is now used in almost every iron club on the market designed for most of us who are not on the tour or aspiring to get there. But even these long irons are more difficult to hit than hybrids.

Playing with a Practice Club-Clarification

To: Gerald and Terry, (aka Rules Police )
Ref: Q&A to Ron on Playing with a Practice Club (click here to view last week's Q and A).
Both of you caught an error in my answer to Ron. (I do this every now and again to see if you guys are really paying attention:)
Seriously I thank you for your input and for keeping such a close eye on me. I thought my answer to Ron last week i.e.' You may declare a club out of play by saying so to your fellow players and it is suggested that you remove it from the bag or store it upside down so it is obviously not intended to be used after your declaration ' implied during a round once the discovery had been made.
My excuse ' if I need one ' is that in trying to address every situation re. practice clubs/devices; warm up clubs; and extra clubs, which conform or those which dont, I lost sight of a critical part of the question. This was; did Ron need to go back to the car to dump the non-conforming or extra club before he started the round if he didnt want to incur a penalty?
Ron, unfortunately you cannot KNOWINGLY START a round with an extra club or a nonconforming club without incurring a penalty just by declaring it out of play. The rest of the answer seems to be in good shape but if not, I know I will again hear from the Rules Police Gerald and Terry. Only kidding guys ' I thank you for this input.
Sorry Ron if my answer mislead you, you will have to go back to the car if you dont want to incur a penalty.
To Gerald and Terry, I am going to send you a signed copy of my book as a prize for catching the error.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It.' Last week's lucky winner was Roosevelt, with his question about his hole in one.
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Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to helping golfers. Frank is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. 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
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Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

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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.’”