QA Little White Lies about Lofts

By Frank ThomasOctober 10, 2006, 4:00 pm
Editor'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
 
Mr. Thomas;
I have heard that the stated loft on a driver will play 1 1/2 degrees weaker. Is this true and would you please elaborate?
Thank you,
John

 
John,
In general, how a club will play depends on the golfer and his/her swing; your angle of approach to the ball can influence the effective loft. But I suspect you're asking about something more specific.
 
It is true that, five or more years ago, the lofts on some drivers were at least 1 degree more than what was stamped on the sole. This was done only on the higher lofted drivers, e.g. 11 degrees or so. The reason was that even though a large number of golfers would benefit from a 12-degree lofted driver, they wouldn't buy one, believing that 'real golfers don't use 12-degree lofted drivers.'
 
To help these golfers get past their ego problem and improve their performance, some manufacturers put a little white lie on their clubs, building in 12 degrees of loft but stamping them with 11. I am pleased to say that this is rarely the case today, because we've gotten smarter as golfers and have come to accept that loft is one of our best friends. We have at last recognized that lofts on driving clubs can be as much as 15 degrees to approach optimum launch condition for slower swing speeds. As a result, manufacturers don't have to be as naughty when stamping the lofts on the sole of clubs.
 

Hi Frank,
I am in the process of custom fitting my clubs and was wondering about shafts. If I find a shaft that is well suited to me for my driver, should I use this for my woods and hybrids as well? Or should every club be fitted individually?
Thanks,
Michael, Canada

 
Michael,
Finding the right shaft, if that is your mission, can be quite a chore. I suggest that you go with standard shafts and change only the flex rating. Rather than fiddling with the shaft for every single club, for the sake of consistency (which is reasonably important) you should group them by type. Put the same shaft in all your woods; you may find that these also work for the hybrids, but try it out first.
 
The irons (what is left of them after you've substituted with your hybrids) also need to be checked separately, but there's no reason you'd need a different shaft for your six-iron as opposed to a nine-iron.
 
You may well find that the same shaft flex and material will work for you on all types of clubs; I'm only suggesting you check to make sure.
 
Today's wood shafts are usually graphite, hybrids are either graphite or steel and irons are steel. The golfer in need of a little help could go with graphite for the entire set.
 

Hi Frank,
I'm having a problem getting around on my new TaylorMade R7 425 driver, and I don't have this problem with other clubs. Sometimes I hit a hybrid off the tee and can get up to 200 yards using that club, but when I put the driver in my hands it feels uncomfortable. Would it be OK to cut it down to 44 inches, or would that change the performance of the club?
Thanks,
Tom

 
Tom,
I hope I understand what you mean by 'having a problem getting around.' I assume this means bringing the club from the top of the backswing to impact, rather than closing the face at impact.
 
If it is the former, then you can test the feel of a shorter club by choking down on the driver grip by about 1 inch or more and hitting a number of balls on the driving range. The grip in this lower gripping position will be a little smaller, but you'll get a general feeling of how the shorter club will work.
 
If you're talking about having a problem closing the face into impact, then I recommend you try moving as much weight as possible to the heel weight ports by inserting the heavier weight plugs. This is an advantage of this type of club design.
 
If my first assumption is correct and you like what you feel, then cut the inch off the club and go for it. If that doesn't solve the problem, you can try adding the heel weights next. Good luck.
 
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
Getty Images

Casey (62) opens up four-shot lead at Travelers

By Nick MentaJune 23, 2018, 9:48 pm

On the strength of an 8-under 62, Paul Casey will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship. Here’s where things stand through three rounds outside Hartford.

Leaderboard: Casey (-16), Russell Henley (-12), J.B. Holmes (-11), Anirban Lahiri (-11), Brian Harman (-11)

What it means: Casey is hunting his third PGA Tour victory and his second this season. The Englishman went nine years between Tour titles and racked up a number of near-misses after dedicating himself to a full-time U.S. schedule in 2015. He finally broke through earlier this year at the Valspar, edging a resurgent Tiger Woods, and now looks to further kick down a finally open door. TPC River Highlands is a gettable golf course, and notable names like Day, Watson and DeChambeau lurk at 10 under, but the field may need some help from Casey, who has separated himself through 54 holes.  

Round of the day: Casey fired the round of the week with six birdies and an eagle at the short par-4 15th. He leads the tournament in birdies made with six in each round for 18 total. He has hit each of his last 23 greens in regulation.

Best of the rest: Jaime Lovemark signed for a 6-under 64 highlighted by an eagle at 15. He enters Sunday tied for 11th, hunting his fourth top-10 finish of the season.

Biggest disappointment: While Casey was ripping up the course, four of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking - Rory McIlroy (69), Brooks Koepka (69), Justin Thomas (70) and Jordan Spieth (71) - combined to shoot 1 under par Saturday. .

Shot of the day: James Hahn’s slam-dunk ace from 154 yards at the par-3 11th.

After a 3-over front nine, Hahn closed in 29 on the back for a ho-hum 67.

Quote of the day: "That's something I rarely see from me, 18 greens in regulation. So whatever he told me worked" - Casey on his work with his swing coach, Peter Kostis

Getty Images

Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

It was Hahn's first ace on the PGA Tour.

Getty Images

Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

Getty Images

Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.