Open QA Charting Greens

By Frank ThomasJune 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
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
Tiger Woods is preparing for this year's U.S. Open by charting the greens at Oakmont. How does one go about 'charting' the greens at a golf course? Is there any information you can share with me on how to do it? I know my home course but wouldn't mind knowing it even better.Thank you.
Sincerely yours,

Dave Eichelberger
Dave Eichelberger asks about faster ball velocity in 'Ask Frank,' Monday, June 18 at 11:00 p.m. ET on GC. (Getty Images)
The best way to chart your home course greens is to survey them to determine the exact elevations and slopes and develop a topographical map of the green. I dont think this is what Tiger did at Oakmont. This survey technique will tell you the break from any location based on the change of slope, giving you an idea of how much break to expect. I dont recommend you do this on the weekend.
Most of us have played most of the normal hole locations on our home courses, so we have a general idea of what to expect from different spots on the green, but sometimes we forget. We also rely on our caddie, if we have one, to help read the green. (We somehow put a lot of faith in the caddie even if this is his first job for the summer; it may even be the first time he has seen the course!)
If you are serious and want to chart your home greens, I would suggest that you select zones where the hole locations are most often cut. Roll the ball across these zones many times in different directions (also not on the weekend) and watch how they break. Youll want to record this in some detail on a representative sketch of the green for future use. Referencing your notes is not a violation of the rules. You may also want to roll a ball across the full length of the green in a few directions and record how it breaks as it approaches the zones youve already charted.
Theres no substitute for experience, seeing the breaks on a day-to-day basis like a good caddie does, but you can learn a lot from a little creative visualization. As you approach the green, try to picture how water would drain off the green after a sudden heavy downpour. This will help determine the general breaks, which will follow the water flow. I find this to be helpful. Unfortunately this doesnt work well on a flat green with subtle breaks, which I find are some of the hardest greens to read.
I believe Tiger spent some time putting to various locations on each green at Oakmont while he (or Steve) made some good notes. Well see if it helped him this week.
Frankly Speaking, first let me thank you for the information you provide on your website and through the questions you answer weekly. They are great. My question is about the US Open. From what I read, this event is going to cost the USGA about $16 million to conduct. Does that sound right? And how do you think the course is going to be set up?
Thanks and keep up the good work.

Joe, thank you so much for your kind remarks. I would like to let you know that the website has just been upgraded to make it even easier to navigate and find the fun stuff you are looking for. Check it out here. You can also see my brief answer to you on our new video feature by visiting the Q&A section on my site.
As far as the cost to put on the Open, I dont have the numbers but I do think you are in the ballpark. But dont feel sorry for the USGA, as it will make about $40 million on the event, showing a net of about $25 million. The US Open is one of the better-organized sporting events in the world, and in the past there have been more cameras on site than at the Olympics. The USGA does a very good job of running the Open and so it should. It is the golfing highlight of the year.
As far as course setup is concerned, I think it will be very fair but tough. The rough will be long enough to cause the long hitters a few moments of concern before using their drivers with abandon. The greens will be fast. The greens at Oakmont are always fast: When I introduced the Stimpmeter in 1977, I used green speed data from 35 states to develop a guide-line table for average weekly play. I had to discard Oakmonts data from the analysis because it was what we call an outlier, an anomaly. It was about four feet faster (10.5 on the Stimpmeter back then) than the other clubs that had been measured.
For a championship such as the US Open it will not be difficult to get the speeds up to 13, 14, or more. I think the problem will be to figure out how to slow them down from what the club members would like them to be. It can be a problem to prevent the club members from influencing the course setup. They want it as tough as possible.
I dont think we will see a 63 at Oakmont this year.
Thanks again Joe for your comments, and make sure you check out the newly made-over site.
Your column and your answers to questions posed are a great benefit. My question is, can you explain the concept of placing weights on the driver in multiple positions and how they may help in controlling ball flight?

There are several reasons one would change weights and their location on a driver or other club head.
The first is to change the overall weight, which changes the swing dynamics and balance of the club. Increasing the head weight will increase the swing weight, and also the systems MOI (Moment of Inertia) about the swinging axis. The swing axis changes throughout the swing, so its a complex engineering problem to try to determine how to modify the weight for maximum efficiency through the entire swing.
Generally, in measuring the system MOI one uses the axis of rotation as the point about which the club head is rotating when its at its highest velocity, which is during the last foot or so before impact. This axis point is about 4 inches above the end of the grip. This is only important if youre trying to make the swing dynamics of the club feel the same for each club in the set. Its a little better than using swing weight for this purpose, because weighting the club at the grip (even if just by wearing a wrist watch) changes the swing weight but doesnt affect the MOI very much.
A lot of golfers and manufacturers are talking about MOI these days, but what theyre referring to is the MOI of the head only, with the center of gravity (c.g.) as the axis.
The MOI is generally understood to be a measure of forgiveness of the head. The farther the weight is from the c.g., the harder it is to start the club head rotating, so off-center hits arent as badly affected as with a club with a lower MOI. (For more information and an easy-to-understand explanation of MOI, click here
Changing weights in the head -- which has become popular, or at least advertised, in the last several years -- is not generally done to change the overall weight or the MOI of the head, but rather to change the location of the c.g. This is done to affect the spin on the ball. If you move the c.g. toward the heel of the head and still hit the ball on the same spot on the face, then the club head will twist around the c.g. and give the ball a slightly different spin.
Lets take an example. Youve seen how an impact toward the toe will give you a slight draw spin because of the gear effect. So if you shift weight to the heel, which moves the c.g. toward the heel, then at impact the club head will twist around this inside c.g. and center impact on the face may react just like a slightly toed impact. This is what is called a draw biased weighting; you can get the same effect in reverse (fade bias weighting) if you shift the weight toward the toe.
In addition, relocating weight to the toe will make it a little more difficult to close the face, adding to the fade. Thats why, even apart from the c.g. effect, building an open or closed face creates a further fade or draw bias.
My suggestion is not to mess with weight relocation until you are hitting the ball consistently in one spot ' ideally, the center of the face. If you have a swing flaw, it is better to visit your teacher rather than tinkering with weights to try to solve it.
Quite a weighty subject, isnt it? Hope this helps
Click to purchase the Frog PutterFrank 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
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Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

The week was more than nostalgic. 

It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

“I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

“It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.

Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

“It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

“Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

“Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

“A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

“It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.