QA Judging Distance in the Cold

By Frank ThomasNovember 28, 2007, 5:00 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
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last week, I answered a question sent in by Jim, asking if the time had come for two sets of equipment performance rules: one for the elite and tour players, and another for the common folk of golf (99% of the golfing population).
Within hours I was inundated with e-mails from our readers -- concerned golfers -- who for the most part support a single set of rules for everybody, but dont want to see restrictions placed on the equipment we use to address real or imagined problems caused by a very few.
If our guardians feel the guys on tour need to be reined in, there are ways to do it that wont change the performance standards of our equipment. However, if they insist on making such regulations, then our readers seem inclined to suggest that a separate set of rules may be required.
Some readers pointed out that there are already different playing rules for the pros. This is true, but most of these are local rules such as: the one ball rule; the conforming ball list; a five-minute grace period when youre late for your starting time; no practice on the putting green just played, as well as relief from T.V. towers and spectator stands which most of us dont have to worry about.
These local playing rules, adopted at the pro events, are different from the conditions of our games, but we dont worry about those. However, when the equipment performance rules are changed because of what the pros can do, and all of us may be affected, then we react differently and seriously consider whether its time to divide the rules. There dont seem to be any good options here for people who believe there should only be one set ' as I do.
It seems to me that if some reining in of the pros is needed, a less intrusive way would be to create a local rule limiting the elite competitors to 10 clubs, while we continue to carry up to 14. Nothing would change in how the clubs perform, but the pros would be challenged to perform similar feats utilizing fewer tools. I would also like to see strategic course setup options that would more appropriately challenge the best in major competition. This seems to be a better alternative than disrupting and rolling back the performance of the equipment and thus inviting us -- the common folk (99% of golfers) -- to call for two sets of rules.
Because this subject has become so provocative, I decided to get your opinions by providing a four question vote.
To participate, click here and give me your votes, and your thoughts if you feel so inclined. Next week I will summarize your input.
Thank you,
I really enjoy reading your column. I have learned much about the science of the game while receiving some practical insights into playing and equipment. My question today revolves around the wedge game and how many wedges to carry. I am currently 52 years old, a traditionalist type player (forged, muscle back irons, pear players-shape fairway metals and drivers) with a 2.8 index. Just this year I switched from only carrying a 48-degree PW and a sand wedge of 56 degrees to carrying wedges of 48, 53, and 58 degrees. This combination seems to work well for me, but I am wondering if I should be carrying a 60 instead of the 58, or even changing my set configuration to a 51/53, 56, and 60. What insight and/or advice can you give me regarding the choices that would give me the most versatility in the short game? Thanks very much and keep up the good work. I hope that I get a chance to meet you in the future.

Thanks for you kind comments.Your question is one many lower handicap golfers ask me and themselves, because loft specs and set makeup have changed quite a bit over the years and the selection of wedges (the scoring clubs) has become more important.
As you know, what used to be a 9-iron (or even a weak 8-iron) is now a pitching wedge. This move away from the unwritten loft standard is about the only way (other than adding some length, which is also done) to create a marketable performance difference between irons. This has happened over the last 30 years in an effort to prove that one manufacturers iron set hit the ball farther than his competitors clubs. They did this by changing the lofts of the set (giving a 7-iron the loft of a 6, a 6-iron the loft of a previous 5, and so on) without advising the consumer -- but the Sand Wedge stayed at 56 degrees of loft, which is a good loft for a SW but now meant a gap of about 10 degrees between the unchanged SW and the reworked PW.
Pitching wedges are generally about 46 degrees today, and in the short irons (wedges), you want about 4 degrees between consecutive clubs. You say that you used to carry a 48-degree PW and a 58-degree wedge. The 58 is presumably your SW, so obviously with this 10-degree difference you have a gap that needed to be filled and the 53 was a good choice.
Remember that the SW is a utility club specifically designed for sand shots. It can be used in other situations but this carries some consequences; its significant bounce (approximately 14 degrees) increases to an effective bounce of 17 degrees if you open the face for a lob shot, and this bounce angle will do what a bounce angles are meant to do, i.e. bounce. Not what you want from a fairway lie.
If you feel the need for a lob wedge and are happy with the wedges you presently have, then get one with a 60- or 61-degree loft but low bounce, about 6 degrees. This club can then be used for the lob shots and do what your SW is not designed to do very well.
My advice is to hold onto the wedge set you have, which you say works so well, and add a proper lob wedge rather than trying to evenly space the lofts in all of these wedges.If you lob this one around in your mind for a bit I think it will land softly.
-- Frank
Dear Frank,
Thank you for you for your straight talk about equipment. It is really helpful to us amateurs to have an unbiased opinion when selecting equipment; otherwise it becomes which vendor has the most convincing salesmen. For example, every driver will enable you to hit it farther than every other driver.
My question concerns cold weather play - how to estimate how much distance I will lose as the temperature drops. If I can hit my # 3 Iron 180 yards in 85-degree temperatures, how far will it go as the temperature drops every 10 degrees?
Thank you.
-- Charles

Before we get to the temperature thing, let me assure you that most of the drivers today have reached the limit as far as MOI and COR are concerned. As a result, they are all good, as long as you are close to the optimum launch conditions for your clubhead speed. So it has become something of a hype issue.
Some manufacturers are now trying to demonstrate improved performance by increasing the shaft length of their drivers. This is not a good move because a longer club is harder to control; this change does nothing for your score but quite a bit for your ego on that rare occasion when you catch it sweet and the club head and direction are as intended.
(See for explanations of MOI & COR and other useful easy to understand technical terms).
As far as temperature is concerned you can expect a maximum difference of about 2 yards in carry for every 10 degrees F change in temperature. Colder air is more dense, so the drop in air temperature will decrease your distance. Ball temperature will also affect distance but not as much as air temperature.
Take an extra club for every 50 degreesdecrease in temperature.Hope this helps. Maybe you should just come to a warmer climate.
-- 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
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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”