Q A Quarters and Engineers

By Frank ThomasMay 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
Frankly GolfEditor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@thegolfchannel.com
Dear Frank,
I cut my putter down from 35 to 33, and afterwards it felt too light. I taped some quarters to the back and liked it better. Is it legal for me to use the putter with the quarters taped on? -- Charlie Smith

This is a good news bad news story. The good news is that you have managed to find the weights which make your putter feel comfortable by using the quarters. The bad news is that these are not considered fixed and adjustment can be readily made, as well as they may become loose during a round and on top of this they may also be considered as external attachments. All of which are good candidates for violating Appendix II 1a and 1b. of the Rules of Golf, the penalty for which is disqualification.
What I suggest is that you find the equivalent amount of lead tape and substitute it for the quarters. Adding lead tape is permissible and an exception. Make sure that you use the tape on a spot that is not on the striking surface and is applied for the sole purpose of adding weight.
This is weighty question but we can get around it.

Mr. Thomas,
Has the weight of the driver clubhead become lighter over the years, or has it stayed at roughly 200g? Golfers are constantly told to swing 80% to encourage proper balance, tempo and consistency, but golfers are also told to get their swing speed higher for maximizing distance. Since the club is delivering a Force to the ball, should the clubheads weight also be customized along with the shaft flex and length, since F=MA where A will be near constant for an 80% swing? My hypothesis is: if the fitness of the golfer allows, a heavier head with a stiffer shaft, to allow proper dynamic loading and transfer of force to the ball, is the optimal fitting for distance. A variation of this idea seems to be the strategy of the Perfect Driver. Thanks for your time, and I really enjoy your column. -- Chris (engineer & golfer, in that order)

Club head weights have not changed much over time, and 7 ounces or about 200 grams seems to be the weight we have settled on as being most comfortable. This has not changed even though new clubs have a higher COR than before.
For a simple explanation of COR click on www.franklygolf.com and under Frankly Speaking you will find this and other really fun stuff for regular golfers and not just engineers like you.
It has been found based on some research that the optimum head weight is between 5 and 10 ounces. The head is not he only thing we are swinging and in fact the shaft, grip, arms and even the shoulders are contributing to the amount of force we have to overcome to make the motion. The book Search for The Perfect Swing by Alastair Cochran deals with this subject in some depth. Based on a formula using head weight, ball weight, head speed before impact and COR (Coefficient of Restitution) the ball velocity can be determined for various head weights.
Using the higher COR in todays drivers, it is interesting to see that the ball speed is a little less than the head speed if the head weighs the same as the ball. This ball speed goes up to 1.52 times the head speed if the club head weighs 8 ounces (227grams) and only 1.66 times head speed if it goes up to 16 ounces (454 grams). And only 1.8 times head speed for a head weight of 256 ounces. Not a good return for the amount of energy needed to generate the same head speed.
Bottom line Chris, is that you need to start at about 7 ounces (about 200 grams) and tweak it each way until you feel comfortable. Unfortunately shaft flexes and shaft weight may interfere with your experiment and need to be accounted for in your comfort conclusions. After 400 years of experimentation (trial and error) we have almost got it right. So work on the shaft flex first, using the standard head weight.
I just purchased a new club set after my last set was stolen. During the fitting process we spent a lot of time making sure the lie angle was correct for my new irons. My fitter used sole tape and ball flight methods to tweak the final results. When my set arrived I was somewhat surprised to see the lie angle and shaft length for my two hybrid irons (3 and 4), 3 wood and driver all appear to be 'off the rack dimensions' given that my irons have a Plus 2 degree from standard and plus 1/2 inch in length.
If lie angle is such an important part of the fitting process for irons, wouldn't the same hold true for the rest of the set, up to and including the driver? -- Wes

The lie angle is important for irons especially as the loft increases. When your clubs have lofts less than 20 degrees they are not customized for lie or much else, either out of convenience to minimize the inventory, the manufacturing process or that it matters less with the lower lofts. Maybe all of the above. As you understand when you have an unfortunate lie on the course where your ball is substantially above your feet you must aim to the right because the lie presented to the ball is very upright and the direction of the line drawn at right angles to the face is pointing to the left. This is more so with more loft. A 2-iron will not need to be aimed as far right as a wedge from the same lie.
I sometimes find it hard to believe that we are advised by manufacturers to get exactly the right length and will sometimes be told that an extra or inch is required. This sort of customizing makes us feel good and special. But when it comes to drivers one size seems to fit all.
If your 6-iron is too long for you by an inch, how on earth are you going to hit your 5- iron, which when customized to be an inch shorter, is now the same length as the 6-iron used to be?
Bottom line, check your shaft flex for all clubs and lie angles for lofts above 20 degrees and dont be too concerned about the long irons, hybrids of fairway woods or the big stick.
I am a left-handed golfer trying to correct a slice, if I use lead tape on my driver, do I put it on the toe or the heel? -- Sharon

As a left handed golfer your slices are from right to left. Applying lead tape is similar to correcting this by changing weights in the driver.
Before we go into any details you must know that if your slice is bad then a weight change is not going to do the trick. The weight ports in some of the latest drivers are for tweaking purposes only. Only a lesson resulting in a swing change can help a slice or hook.
For some of the better golfers who want to give the driver a draw bias, they will move the weights to the heel of the club. This does two things: First it makes it easier to rotate the club about the shaft into the impact zone. If you try to swing a club by gripping it at the head end it is easier to swing than gripping it at the grip end because the weight, when gripping it in a conventional manner, is farther away from the hands.
Second, by moving the weight to the heel one also moves the center of gravity (c.g.) toward the heel away from the center of the face. So when you hit the ball in the center of the face, the head will tend to twist about the c.g. and thus give the ball a little draw spin. This is the same as hitting the ball on the toe of a standard weighted head. This is called the gear effect.
You should know that for this phenomenon to be effective you need to hit the ball consistently on the same spot on the face of the club (not something most of us are capable of doing on a regular basis).
Changing weights is good to tweak a club as Phil Mickelson did at the Masters where he carried two drivers, as he didnt want to change his swing to give the ball a slight draw or fade, it just a little in both cases.
Weight ports are a good idea but not to solve swing problems. The same applies to lead tape.
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@thegolfchannel.com
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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”