QA Can Girls Play Boys Clubs

By Frank ThomasOctober 3, 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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 
Frank,
 
Your response to a female this week inspired me to ask a question of my own. I have three kids: two boys, ages 12 and 9; and a girl, 7. I have been thinking that as they get older the younger ones will be able to use the hand-me-down clubs previously used by the older sibling(s). So far, this seems to be working pretty well. Is there any reason to think that my daughter would need something different in the way of clubs from what her older brothers used when they were her age?
 
Thanks so much for your columns!
--John

 
John,
 
There is no reason that your daughter shouldnt be able to use the same clubs her brothers used at her age. Generally, girls develop a little faster than boys in the early stages, but need to recognize that the boys will soon catch up, so dont try to take advantage of this phenomenon as the tide will turn.
 
However, there have been many changes in kids clubs over the last ten years or so, so if your daughter is 7 and is using the same clubs your son used five years ago, she may be at a slight disadvantage. Fitting clubs to the stature of smaller people specifically for kids has improved significantly over the last several years rather then retro fitting by shortening existing designs. She may benefit from those advances in the design of kids clubs -- or should I say, clubs for the young aspiring golfers we need so badly.
 
In adults clubs, the march of technology that can truly affect performance has slowed to a crawl, even though manufacturers would have you believe otherwise. Each years new driver cannot possibly increase our distance 20 yards. We are suckers and we buy hope, which is one of the charming things about golf.
 
A new young golfer like your daughter needs as much help as you can give her, so look around for some newer clubs that may suit her (smaller people) better. I would say the same thing for your next child, whether its a boy or a girl.
 
I suggest you look for courses that have been modified for play by younger and beginner golfers, not necessarily those designed for the scratch male golfer with forward tees for the rest of us. An abundance of hazards and forced carries to the greens can take the fun out of the game for the beginning player, and fun should be what its about for your children. Fortunately, architects are starting to recognize that only 0.55% of the golfing population are scratch or better, and theyre giving more consideration to and developing courses that pose an appropriate challenge for a wider segment of golfers.
 
John, you may be interested to check out the results of our extensive research project covering preferences of over 14,400 golfers. You can find this report at www.growingthegame.org .
 
I urge you to do what you can to allow your daughter and sons to become addicted to this wonderful drug we call golf.
-- Frank
 
Frank,
 
I play golf with a guy who puts some type of goo or petroleum jelly on his driver face. Im sure its against the rules -- but does it really give you more distance and less slice and hook?
-- A Frankly Friend

 
Dear Frankly Friend,
 
First, thank you for signing up to be a Frankly Friend, so we can advise you every week when we our fresh Q&As are posted, as well as receiving alerts to other interesting and helpful equipment information as it becomes available. For those reading this who aren't Frankly Friends yet, you can sign up by clicking here.
 
Now, to answer your question about whether putting goo or Vaseline on the face of a club helps. Vaseline is meant for babies bottoms, not for the face of a golf club. Applying it to the face of a golf club is a violation of the rules: Rule 4-2b, Foreign Material, states that foreign material must not be applied to the face of the club for the purpose of influencing the movement of the ball. The penalty for this violation is disqualification.
 
So first, get back all the money this guy has ever won from you while violating this rule. Then suggest that he stop doing this if he wants to continue to play with you, unless you are thinking about doing it yourself.
 
Does it really work? The answer is that almost anytime you can reduce the coefficient of friction between the ball and the club you will reduce the spin. The problem is that this isnt consistent, and the practice may result in less backspin than you actually need to get the ball to fly as far as it should. You cannot be selective about which spin you want to reduce -- i.e., only the sidespin component.
 
My suggestion is dont do it, especially since the rule deals with intent. When you know it is a violation, then any time you attempt to do this -- even if you do it by making your practice swing through the rough on the edge of the teeing ground in the hope that enough grass juice will stay on the face of the club to influence the movement of the ball -- you are acting improperly. An ex-friend of mine used to do this on occasion before he became an ex.
 
The wonderful thing about golf is that as long as a rule exists and you are aware of it, then you know when you are in violation. This is one of the reasons I believe that if we adopt a rule thatsays a golfer is not permitted to use any performance-enhancing chemicals, then this in itself should be sufficient to stop it from happening. In golf, you and only you know when you are violating a rule. Theres no need to give a referee the responsibility that should be yours alone. Sometimes only you know if the ball moves at address. Yet you are expected to call such a penalty on yourself, and players generally do. Golf distinguishes itself from almost all other sports in that we call ourselves on violations, and if we dont our peers will suggest we do as long the rule exists and its intent is unambiguous.
 
Leave the Vaseline to babies.
-- Frank
 
Frank,
 
Do graphite shafts in irons get soft over time and use?
--Thomas

 
Thomas,
 
Graphite shafts do not change their flex properties over time. The phenomenon of changing flex properties is known in steel and other metals as work hardening. Even though this is not of any consideration in steel golf shafts, if it did happen it would result in a stiffer shaft over time, not a softer shaft.
 
To make a graphite shaft, very thin fibers (fifty of them will make up the size of a human hair) are surrounded in an epoxy resin and then wrapped around a mandrel (steel rod) in different directions to provide the required flex properties and resistance to torsional loading (twisting) commonly known but not technically correct as 'torque'. Each of those fibers is fourteen times stronger than steel for the same weight. This mix of resin and fiber is put in an oven to cure, and then the mandrel is withdrawn to leave a hollow composite shaft. The properties of this graphite shaft are very stable and may change very slightly over a wide range of temperatures, -- beyond what most humans can stand -- as most materials will, but not noticeably so. Otherwise the shaft, as long as it is not damaged, will hold its properties for a long time, longer than you are likely to keep using your clubs.
 
When I developed the first graphite shaft in 1969 I found that the fatigue properties were as good as if not better than steel shafts. Thomas, Im afraid to say that we will decay and get soft long before our graphite shafts do, so don't blame the shaft for any change in performance.
 
Hope this helps and gives you a little insight into the graphite composite shaft.
-- Frank
 
Fall for the FrogFrank 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
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Mickelson: 'Not my finest moment ... 'I'm sorry'

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 2:41 pm

Days after his putter swipe ignited a controversy that threatened to overshadow the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson offered an apology.

Mickelson received a two-shot penalty for purposely hitting his ball while it was still in motion on the 13th green during the third round at Shinnecock Hills. In the eyes of the USGA, his actions fell short of a disqualification for a “serious breach” of the rules, and the 48-year-old ultimately matched his age with a T-48 finish after returning to play the final round.

Mickelson declined to speak to reporters after a Sunday 66, but Wednesday he sent a note to a select group of media members that included Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte in which the five-time major champ offered some contrition.

“I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend,” Mickelson wrote. “I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

Mickelson’s actions drew ire from both media members and his fellow competitors, with members of both groups implying that his actions merited disqualification. His most recent remarks seem to indicate that the decision to run up and stop his ball from tumbling back across the 13th green was more of an impulse than the calculated use of the rule book he described after the third round at Shinnecock.

“It’s certainly not meant (to show disrespect). It’s meant to take advantage of the rules as best you can,” Mickelson said Saturday. “In that situation I was just, I was just going back and forth. I’ll gladly take the two shots over continuing that display.”

Mickelson is not in the field this week at the Travelers Championship and is expected to make his next start in two weeks at The Greenbrier.

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Hubert Green, Hall of Famer, dies at 71

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 20, 2018, 2:06 pm

Hubert Green, a World Golf Hall of Famer who won 19 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1977 U.S. Open and 1985 PGA Championship, died Tuesday from complications following a lengthy battle with throat cancer. He was 71.

A remarkably consistent player, Green used his distinctive swing to finish in the top 25 in a third of the PGA Tour events he entered. He also played on three Ryder Cup teams (1977, 1979, and 1985) and was undefeated in singles play.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Green graduated from Florida State University in 1968. While at FSU, he won the Cape Coral Intercollegiate tournament by eight strokes and the Miami Invitational, the nation’s largest collegiate tournament, by five strokes. He turned pro in 1969, earned his Tour card in 1970 and was named PGA Rookie of the Year in 1971.

Green's first PGA Tour win was the 1971 Houston Champions International, in which he beat Don January in a playoff. Between 1973 and 1976 he won 10 more times, including a three-week stretch in 1976 when he won at Doral, Jacksonville and Hilton Head.

Green won the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., despite being informed of a death threat against him that had been anonymously telephoned to the course. He received the news after putting out on the 14th hole of the final round. He decided to keep playing, and wound up winning  by one stroke over Lou Graham.

A seldom-remembered fact about Green: he finished third behind Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in their 1977 "Duel in the Sun" Open Championship at Turnberry. He was 11 strokes behind winner Watson.

Green won his second major championship in 1985, taking the PGA Championship at Cherry Hills. By a margin of two strokes, he denied Lee Trevino's bid to win back-to-back PGAs. It would be Green's last win on the PGA Tour. Afterward, Trevino praised his opponent, saying “He’s a great sand player and probably the best chipper we’ve got. Every time he got into trouble, he chipped it close to the hole.”

Green joined what is now known as the PGA Tour Champions in 1997 and went on to win four times, the first win coming in 1998 in his hometown of Birmingham.

Green was also involved in golf course design, including courses such as TPC Southwind,  Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga.; and Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham.

Green was diagnosed with stage-four throat cancer in 2003. Treated with chemotherapy and radiation, he continued playing golf. In 2005, he was named the Champions Tour's Comeback Player of the Year. He also received the Ben Hogan Award at the Masters that year. In 2007 he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Green is also remembered for his philanthropic efforts. Over the years he participated in hundreds of charity tournaments and community fund-raising events that supported a wide range of causes including childhood cancer, united cerebral palsy, and other illnesses.

Green is survived by his wife Becky Blair, of Birmingham; three sons, Hubert Myatt Green Jr. of Hurricane, Utah; Patrick Myatt Green; and James Thomas Green (Adrienne) of Panama City, Fla.; sisters Melinda Green Powers and Carolyn Green Satterfield and brother Maurice O. V. Green, all of Birmingham, step-sons Richard O’Brien of New Orleans and Atticus O’Brien of Dallas, Texas, and several grandchildren.

A memorial service is being planned at Highlands United Methodist Church in Birmingham, and details are pending. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Highlands United Methodist Church Community Ministry or to a charity of your choice.

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

Hailed as a hero to some and as golf royalty to others, Peter Thomson, a five-time winner of The Open and the only player in the 20th century to win the championship for three straight years, died Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members, Golf Australia said.

The first Australian to win The Open, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by American Tom Watson.

The Australian's wins came in 1954, '55, '56, again in 1958 and lastly in 1965 against a field that included Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Only Harry Vardon, with six titles between 1896 and 1914, won more.

Thomson also tied for fourth at the 1956 U.S. Open and placed fifth in the 1957 Masters. He never played the PGA Championship.

In 1998, he captained the International side to its only win over the United States at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Asked by The Associated Press in 2011 how he'd like to be remembered, Thomson replied: ''A guy who always said what he thought.''

Veteran Australian golfer Karrie Webb was among the first to tweet her condolences, saying she was ''saddened to hear of the passing of our Aussie legend and true gentleman of the game .... so honored to have been able to call Peter my friend. RIP Peter.''

Former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Thomson was ''a champion in every sense of the word, both on the course and in life.''

''Many know him as a five-time champion golfer of the year or as a three-time captain of the Presidents Cup International team.'' Finchem added. ''But he was also a great friend, father, grandfather and husband. He was golfing royalty, and our sport is a better one because of his presence.''



Former golfer and now broadcaster Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 Open champion, called Thomson his ''hero'' - ''Peter - my friend and mentor R.I.P. Australian golf thanks you for your iconic presence and valuable guidance over the years.''

From Britain, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers praised Thomson's plans for the game's future.

''Peter gave me a number of very interesting and valuable thoughts on the game, how it has developed and where it is going, which demonstrated his genuine interest and love of golf,'' Slumbers said. ''He was one of the most decorated and celebrated champion golfers in the history of The Open.''

Born in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Brunswick on Aug. 23, 1929, Thomson was a promising cricketer. He scored an unbeaten 150 runs for the Carlton club against a men's side as a 15-year-old.

But golf became his passion, and he turned professional in 1947.

He won the national championships of 10 countries, including the New Zealand Open nine times and Australian Open three times. He first played on the PGA Tour in the U.S. in 1953 and 1954, finishing 44th and 25th on the money list, respectively. He won the Texas International in 1956.

Thomson won nine times on the Senior PGA tour in the U.S. in 1985, topping the money list. His last tournament victory came at the 1988 British PGA Seniors Championship, the same year he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Overall, he won 26 European Tour events, 34 times on the Australasian PGA tour and 11 on the seniors tour in the U.S, as well as once in Japan.

In later years, Thomson wrote articles for many publications and daily newspapers, was club professional at Royal Melbourne and designed more than 100 golf courses. In the 2011 Presidents Cup program, Thomson provided an insightful hole-by-hole analysis of the composite course at Royal Melbourne.

Thomson was always reluctant to compare his wins with anyone else's.

''All records are qualified in that they were made at a certain time in history,'' Thomson told golf historian and author Brendan Moloney for a story on his 80th birthday.

''The circumstances change so much, and so do the players' attitudes. In golf, only in the last 30 years or so has there been a professional attitude to playing for money. The professionals in the USA and Britain and anywhere else all had club jobs as a backstop to their income.

''When they did play and make records, you have to understand that they were taking time off from the pro shop,'' he said. ''So the records that were set were pretty remarkable.''

Thomson always had stories to tell, and told them well. With a full head of hair and a lineless face that belied his age, the Australian wasn't afraid to let everyone know his feelings on any subject.

That was true as far back as 1966. As president of the Australian PGA, Thomson was indignant that Arnold Palmer's prize for winning the Australian Open was only $1,600, out of a total purse of $6,000, one of the smallest in golf.

''Golf Stars Play for Peanuts,'' blared the headline of a story he wrote. ''Never before has such a field of top golfers played for what $6,000 is worth today. Canada offers 19 times that. I know 19 other countries who give more.''

But he was always happy on the golf course.

''I've had a very joyful life, playing a game that I loved to play for the sheer pleasure of it,'' Thomson said. ''I don't think I did a real day's work in the whole of my life.''

Thomson served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years and worked behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

In 1979, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf, and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.