Personal Preference in Putters

By Frank ThomasApril 8, 2008, 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

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 Boris with his question about the impact of body mass on clubhead speed.
To reserve your own copy of 'Just Hit It', please Click Here We are now shipping!
Please also note new international shipping options for those outside the US. Thanks to all who have ordered over the last few weeks!
Personal Preference in Putters

Is there an advantage to either using a heel shafted versus a center shafted other than personal preference? I have been told that it has to do with which eye is dominant to the golfer. Any putting help is greatly appreciated.

There have been suggestions that there is a difference between using an Offset putter vs. a Non-Offset putter depending on left- or right-eye dominance. I have not seen any evidence to demonstrate that this makes any measurable difference.
From my experience the shaft location center or heel mounted, offset or non-offset is very much personal preference.
In some offset putters, one may see more of the orthogonal aiming line along the full length of the head (if there is one) but with a center mounted straight shaft, the shaft itself will help in lining up. It is personal preferences.
In one of the center shafted configurations of the Frankly Frog Putter (which I designed) there is a line 10 inches up the shaft which is a very subconscious reference line making alignment a little easier.
When it comes to shaft fitting I have found that shaft length is the most important and most golfers are using putters which are too long. This adds to the source of error associated with the up and down movement (degrees of freedom) resulting in inconsistent results.
When it comes to the effect on your stroke if the putter is face balanced, it does not matter where the shaft is mounted in the head. If it is not face balanced and the straight shaft is mounted in the heel or center, the rotation speed of the sweet spot may be different. However, once impact starts with any putter the inertia about various axes of the head will take over and influence movement of the ball on off a miss-hit.
If you are ever in the Orlando area you may benefit tremendously from a visit -- by appointment -- to our Frankly Frog Putting Studio. Click Here to learn more about the Putting Studio.
Hope this helps
Your Credit Card and Driving Distance
A friend of mine consistently hits his driver right in the center (a problem I would like to have). As a result, there is a worn spot on the face of the driver. While he drives the ball straight, I suspect he is losing yardage because of the wear on the face of the driver. Am I correct in this? Since he hits that driver so well, and because it is a fairly recent model, I suggested he replace it with the exact same model and specifications. Would this be worth doing? Thanks for your advice. I enjoy reading your weekly questions and answers.

This is true friendship I must admit.
If he ' your very close friend ' is driving the ball well with his a recent model driver then there is really no need to be concerned about wearing out the face in the near future unless he hits it at speeds of approximately 100 mph + and plays a lot. On the other hand, when you find a good friend that works well, then dont change, or in your friend's case (and YES to your question), get a spare model if he can find an exact replica, just in case.
The way to tell whether your driver is starting to lose its OOMPH (sometimes known as Coefficient of Restitution), is to take a credit card and place the straight edge across the center of the face, in the vertical (top to bottom) and then in the horizontal (toe to heel) planes . If it rocks slightly, indicating it still has some convexity 'roll in the vertical plane and bulge in the horizontal plane ' then you should be good to go. If the face is flat or indented (concave) then you do need to look for a replacement. At head speeds of about 100 mph or less the face should be able to withstand about 10,000 impacts before losing COR.
Ira, I suggest this credit card test (Visa, AmEx or Mastercard will do) rather than the one most golfers use i.e. estimating the distance and claiming I am losing distance.
Most of us may lose distance, as the new driver starts misbehaving like the rest of its Bagmates. Some clubs are just not as well disciplined as others so you can expect this to happen from time to time. The real reason for the loss in distance is, most case is probably leak in the magic valve.
Tell your friend he has a good friend, both in the driver and in you so he should look after both.
A Good Deal or What?
I got a great deal on a Callaway X 3 wood 15 degrees tour version with an X-stiff pro launch shaft. Now, I am a 25 handicapper and everything I have checked says I should have stiff flex shafts and I probably have no business with a tour version golf club. My question is how much will all of this affect me and I am wondering if I should try the club or just try to sell it while it is still in new condition. I do swing over 100 mph and when I hit straight I will drive between 240-275. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks.


Well done on your good deal. I don't know what you paid for it but a good deal should be about 50% off.
Because you didn't have an option of shaft flex, and your driver club head speed is over 100mph, why don't you go out and hit it? If you have to fight the club and need to hit it hard to get it to go well then change to a more flexible shaft using the money you saved on the good deal.
From what you tell me; i.e. from 240 to 275 yards is your driving distance range (when you hit is straight) and you have a 25 handicap, I believe your problem is that your shoelaces are too tight. This is necessary to keep the shoes on during each swing but this is tough on your feet during the rest of the round.
Under these circumstances, and if I am right then the X-Stiff shaft in the fairway wood will be fine because you are not going swing slower with the 3-wood than you do with your driver. This is a natural instinct most of us males have so don't feel bad.
IF, however, you decide to slow down (which I don't believe you are going to do) and get you swing under control you will probably lower your handicap by several strokes, hit the ball about the same distance on average and keep it in the fairway more often. If you do this slowing down thing, then I think you should try a more flexible shaft with the next good deal you get or change the shaft in this club.
Sometimes a good deal isn't as good as it seems.
Hope this helps
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

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”