QA Moving Driver Weights

By Frank ThomasNovember 7, 2006, 5:00 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,
Adding weight to the toe or heel of a driver or fairway club will affect the flight. Which will it do for a draw or fade? Thanks for your time. I like your short part on Mondays The Golf Channel. -- Steve Malley

 
Steve,
To create a draw bias in these clubs move the weight to the heel and for a fade bias move it toward the toe.
 
There are two reasons for the flight changing when you rearrange the weight distribution in wood clubs (these clubs are distinguished from irons by shape, not material). The reasons for differences in performance are first, the center of gravity (c.g.) changes its position and thus if the impact point is the same the spin applied to the ball is going to be different due to the gear effect. Normally a toed shot gives a little draw spin because the c.g. is toward the heel and back from the impact point. So if you add weight to the heel of the club the c.g. moves toward the heel and if impact is in the center of the club it will appear to be a toed shot relative to the new c.g. location and will thus apply a little draw spin to the ball. This assumed that you hit the ball on the same spot each time.
 
The second reason for the club, with weight moved to the heel, applying a slight draw to the ball is because the MOI (Moment of Inertia) of the head, about the shaft, is a little less as the c.g. is moved to the heel and as a result rotating the head into the impact position is a little easier and in fact may tend to allow the face to close a little.

Please understand that weight manipulation is a tweaking of ball flight and not a cure for a bad slice or hook. The first thing to do for a slice or hook is to try to alter your swing. Generally a good teacher can correct this type of swing flaw. Then you can tweak the flight by changing the c.g. location.
 
Frank,
I read, oftentimes, about pros playing wedges that are bent to lofts one or two degrees less than what they were manufactured for. My assumption is that, this would remove a similar amount of bounce from the wedges themselves. How is this beneficial? You've recommended that when purchasing a wedge, we should look for wedges with at least 14 degrees of bounce. What is different about a professional's play that they do not need as much bounce as an amateur? -- Thanks, Matt Rittler

 
Matt,
You are right, if you bend a wedge to decrease the loft by two degrees you will similarly decrease the bounce by the same amount.

A large bounce (14 degrees or more) is required on most sand wedges to avoid the club digging deep into the sand. Once the clubs leading edge starts to penetrate the ground (sand or soft turf) the bounce will add resistance to prevent continued penetration and tend to make the club slide. So instead of digging into the sand or turf it will tend to bounce off it or slide through it. On the other hand this same bounce on a club will literally bounce off very hard fairways or hard pan in bunkers. When the pros are confronted with hard turf conditions such as many of the Open courses in Britain they ask for the leading edge of their wedges to be sharpened so that the club can dig (cut) through the turf before the bounce takes effect. They may also choose wedges with less bounce for these conditions.
 
As far as most of us are concerned we are not consistent enough, in the way we present the club to the ball to get away with the clubs with less bounce as used by the pros.
 
If we hit it fat we dont want the club to continue to dig itself deeper into the turf or sand and thus need more bounce which will forgive our mistakes. The pros dont need the added resistance to the club as they are able to control the amount of dirt (divot size) they take. For more on wedges click here. For updated information please sign up as a Frankly Friend by clicking here.
 
Frank,
I've tried a couple of drivers of the last couple of years, a 10 degree and a 10.5 degree. I can't seem to find the fairway as much as with my 13 degree 3 wood that I hit nearly as far as the driver, I'm an 11 handicap, and I'm wondering if I would get more distance with a 13 degree 460cc driver, or should I just stick with the 3 wood? -- Jeff, Wis.
 
Jeff,
The fact that you are hitting more fairways with your 13 degree 3 wood and getting almost as much distance as with your 10.5 degree driver is because first a shorter club is always easier to control and secondly you are getting the ball into the air more efficiently using your 13 degree fairway wood. I absolutely believe that you will get more distance with a 400 cc to 460 cc driver if you can order one with a 13 degree loft (many manufacturers offer a 13 degree driver but many are 45 inches long). This should not be longer than 44 inches in length because the shorter the club the better you are able to control the direction. If it is 45 inches long then choke down a little. Your 3 wood is most likely no longer than 43 inches so your driver being one inch longer is about the right difference. The other reason for going to a 400 to 460cc head is the forgiveness is greater and the size allows for a more efficient spring like effect design than your 3-wood.
 
Jeff, go for the bigger driver with 13 degrees loft and 44 inches long. You will love it and once you start hitting more fairways then you confidence will take over and with the improved swing you will get the distance the a longer shaft gives but with the accuracy you are looking for.

Frank,
Do you think I should consider trying hybrid club to replace my 3 & or 4 iron.
I'm bogey golfer and find it hard to hit my long irons. Will new hybrids be more forgiving and which ones should I try. -- Thanks, Norm S.

 
Norm,
There is no doubt in my mind that you should replace your 3 and 4 irons with hybrids. These are generally about an inch longer than the club they are replacing with a similar loft. The bigger, more forgiving head with a wide sole will allow you to hit the ball more efficiently and as far or a little farther then the iron it is replacing. The greater forgiveness will tend to give you considerably more consistent shots which will on average be very much more accurate than the long irons. The difference between long irons and hybrids is tremendous especially in your case where you are finding it hard to hit my long irons.
 
For most of us, there is only one place for a 3-and 4-iron and that is on the mantel shelf, well secured to a wooden board so you are not tempted to put them back in your bag.
 

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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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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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.


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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.