Pressing Forward

By Frank ThomasAugust 9, 2010, 10:20 pm

Dear Frank,
I just received and read your weekly putting tips article 'Launch it consistently on the greens' – for which I thank you – and was reminded of a question I've had in my mind.

The loft of putters is such to launch the ball out of the small depressions in the green. Then what accounts for the current fad of leaning the shaft forward and thereby reducing loft? If they feel that the ball rolls better with less loft why not just get a less lofted putter?

What's going on here?

Thanks,
Gary

Gary,
Thanks for the comments about the weekly putting tips. If you are not concerned about your friends improving their putting, then you should suggest that they too sign up as a Frankly Friend to enjoy a weekly tip to help improve their putting.

Leaning the putter forward just before taking it back on a putt is called a ‘forward press’ and it does reduce the effective loft of the putter. The forward press is not more than about a half inch of movement at the grip end of the putter and this decreases the effective loft of the putter by a fraction over 0.8 of a degree. This has a minimal effect on the initial launch angle and spin rate of the putt and not enough to affect measurably the roll on the ball.

A well struck ball for a ten foot putt on a green speed of about 8 feet on the Stimpmeter needs to be traveling fast enough to go past the hole by about 12 inches if the hole was not there. On this putt, the ball will be launched off the ground out of the depression caused by surface undulations and its settlement below the tips of the grass blades. This putt will have back spin and then touch down on the green about four to five inches away from the launch spot and start sliding while trying to catch up to get forward (true roll) spin. The total distance of this launch/back spin/ slide/and forward catch up spin is approximately 17 to 19 inches away from the impact point.

The reduction of 0.8 of a degree, because of the forward press, will not significantly reduce the distance before true roll spin is achieved, as this will still be in the range above. It will affect the angle and back spin slightly when the ball is launched out of the depression. To be safe and consistent in launching the putt, it is suggested that a four degree lofted putter be used – which is most commonly designed the better putters today. This will take care of any forward press without measurably affecting the roll of the ball.

Gary, the forward press has no significant effect on the roll of the ball and its only benefit is in acting as a trigger mechanism to start the movement of the back stroke. Many golfers find it difficult to take the putter back on cue and need a prompt to do this. The slight forward press prompts us and is very successful in many cases at every level of play.

I hope this answers your question.
Frank  


Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas 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 email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com

Dear Frank,
I just received and read your weekly putting tips article 'Launch it consistently on the greens' – for which I thank you – and was reminded of a question I've had in my mind.

The loft of putters is such to launch the ball out of the small depressions in the green. Then what accounts for the current fad of leaning the shaft forward and thereby reducing loft? If they feel that the ball rolls better with less loft why not just get a less lofted putter?

What's going on here?

Thanks,
Gary

Gary,
Thanks for the comments about the weekly putting tips. If you are not concerned about your friends improving their putting, then you should suggest that they too sign up as a Frankly Friend to enjoy a weekly tip to help improve their putting.

Leaning the putter forward just before taking it back on a putt is called a ‘forward press’ and it does reduce the effective loft of the putter. The forward press is not more than about ½ inch of movement at the grip end of the putter and this decreases the effective loft of the putter by a fraction over o.8 of a degree. This has a minimal effect on the initial launch angle and spin rate of the putt and not enough to affect measurably the roll on the ball.

A well struck ball for a ten foot putt on a green speed of about 8 feet on the Stimpmeter needs to be traveling fast enough to go past the hole by about 12 inches if the hole was not there. On this putt, the ball will be launched off the ground out of the depression caused by surface undulations and its settlement below the tips of the grass blades. This putt will have back spin and then touch down on the green about four to five inches away from the launch spot and start sliding while trying to catch up to get forward (true roll) spin. The total distance of this launch/back spin/ slide/and forward catch up spin is approximately 17 to 19 inches away from the impact point.

The reduction of 0.8 of a degree, because of the forward press will not significantly reduce the distance before true roll spin is achieved, as this will still be in the range above. It will affect the angle and back spin slightly when the ball is launched out of the depression. To be safe and consistent in launching the putt it is suggested that a four degree lofted putter be used which is most commonly designed the better putters today. This will take care of any forward press without measurably affecting the roll of the ball.

Gary, the forward press has no significant effect on the roll of the ball and its only benefit is in acting as a trigger mechanism to start the movement of the back stroke. Many golfers find it difficult to take the putter back on cue and need a prompt to do this. The slight forward press prompts us and is very successful in many cases at every level of play.

I hope this answers your question.
Frank

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

Getty Images

Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

Getty Images

Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

Getty Images

McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.