Lets be Frank

By Frank ThomasJuly 30, 2008, 4:00 pm

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 Jim, with his question about 'toe up' on putters and drivers.
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Touching the Line of Putt
I enjoy reading your column each and every week. I have purchased your book Just Hit It and plan on reading it on my trip to Europe. Now for my rules question. If a player is unable to touch the line on which the ball will be traveling while putting why is it permissible to place the putter head in front of the ball at address?
Thanks and keep up the good work.
--Dan from Kansas

Thank you for the kind comments about my column and I hope you land in Europe better informed and having unlocked the door to the secrets of equipment technology and all sorts of other fun information. Let me know how you enjoyed the book.
Regarding touching the line of putt; I am not going to give you an explanation of why the exception to the rule but rather let you know that it is an exception to touch the line in front of the ball with your putter when addressing the ball before making a putting stroke .
Before you make the putt, however, you should know, that it is a violation of the rules if anybody indicates what your line should be by touching the green.
I would like to refer you to Rule 16-1 General, in the Rules of Golf which states in part;
a. Touching Line of Putt
The line of putt must not be touched except:
(i) the player may remove loose impediments provided he does not press anything down;
(ii) the player may place the club in front of the ball when addressing it, provided he does not press anything down;
( iii) ..

Dan, there are all sorts of rules we have to contend with on the green but the most important challenge we have is to sink the putt with the fewest number of strokes.
In an effort to help you sink more putts and build some confidence on the green, I have a very helpful putting guide which you can review and download for future reference. Just Click Here to e-mail us your request and we will send you a complimentary link to the Frankly Frog Putting Guide.
Hope this helps you have more fun on the green.
What Set of Tees?
Mr. Thomas,
I am 64 and have an index of 14.1. How do you determine the correct set of tees to play? I hit my driver (average) carry & roll about 227.
Thank you,

One of the problems with most of us is that our ego gets in the way of having an enjoyable round of golf, but at 64 you should be wiser and enjoying your game more than ever.
In our recent research study (see www.GrowingTheGame.org ) we found that the average male golfer drives the ball, on average, a little less than 200 yards but thinks he drives it a little less than 240 yards.
This optimistic over-estimate of the average distance we hit the ball extends to most of the clubs in the set and is based on a memory problem. Yes, we may have hit the ball the distance we think is our average, once or twice but certainly nowhere close to our average.
As a result of this ambitious estimate we generally pull a club out of our bag which leaves us at least ten to fifteen yards short of our target. We also play from the wrong set of tees.
Our research also shows that the average male golfer would enjoy his game more from a 6,200 yard set of tees than a 6,800 yard set. Yet we seem to gravitate to the longer set.
A good way to establish the set of tees which best suits your game, is to determine if you can make the green in regulation with your best shots. If this is not possible, then move to the next forward tees and dont worry about what your buddies are doing or the fantasy force of your ego. Your buddies should probably also move up if they want to have more fun.
This more realistic set of tees will not only allow you to enjoy your round more but also speed up play which is one of the biggest problems the game faces today.
Kirk, I want to thank you for this question, the answer to which I hope will rings some bells and thus help speed up play, make our rounds more enjoyable and help grow the game rather than it remaining in a stagnant state.
Tee it up from the right set of tees and then Just Hit It.
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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Frank Thomas

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Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

Bernhard Langer did not.

The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”