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QA Pro Rules and Amateur Rules

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
Dear Frank,
Ive enjoyed reading your articles and opinions about the game of golf and its direction. As a recreational player, I also thank you for your contributions to the game.
Jay Sigel
Jay Sigel quizzes Frank about clubhead speed on 'Ask Frank,' Monday July 2 at 11:00 p.m. ET on GC. (WireImage)
I realize many in the game of golf as well as yourself strongly believe in one set of rules for all players. So here are my questions:How do you justify your 10 club proposal for the professional but not for the recreational player? Why is this different from having different equipment standards for different levels of play? I would like to thank you in advance for any attention you might give to the questions, and keep up the great work!

Thank you for your kind comments. My strong feeling is that we dont need two sets of rules for numerous reasons, one of which is that it is very impractical. Golf is one of the few sports where amateurs and professionals play on the same field at the same time and compete against each other.
Bifurcation would require that somewhere in the process of qualifying for the US Open, for example, suddenly the Pro Rules must be adopted. My question is, should this enforcement happen at the club championship, collegiate, state or sectional qualifying level, or whenever we play rounds that develop the specific handicap required for entry purposes? Think about this awkward little practical detail. Its just one of several fundamental issues we would have to deal with if we had two sets of rules.
Another concern is the overall effect that two sets of rules have on one game, especially when theres one set for .001% of the population and another set for the rest of us. If there are problems associated with the play of the superstars, the elite golfers we admire, then lets first define the problem and find solutions that address it most effectively without disrupting the game as a whole.
Most discussion of adopting two sets of rules invariably comes back to the distance the superstars can drive the ball, and concern that accuracy is no longer part of the skill required to dominate. My belief is that we can deal with this through strategic course set up at those events where the identification of the most skillful and a true champion is the only objective.
If, and only if, further confines are needed to distinguish the skill of players, then I believe the form of bifurcation should be the least disruptive proposal possible. Instead of making an equipment performance standard the distinguishing factor, reduce the number being used -- not different clubs for different groups, but only a further restriction on the number that can be carried. That way, I believe we can forestall any further talk of two sets of rules. I dont believe we need two sets of rules, but if it becomes an inevitability then the ten club proposal seems to me the best option.
I would like to hear from our readers if they think that two sets of rules -- one for the pros and one for the rest of us -- is a good idea for our game. Please click here to vote and to read more about this question.
Thank you again for you kind remarks and your concern for the health of our wonderful game.
I was wondering about the difference between the low end clubs that are sold at the big chain retail stores and all other name brand clubs available.I know you get what you pay for, but what is the real difference between, say, a 40-dollar low end driver and a 200-dollar name-brand driver. I've been told that my clubs are just fine for golfing, and spending more would be a waste of my money.
I've also been told that better clubs will not make you a better golfer, if your swing is true and you have good club speed then the equipment shouldn't really matter. But is there a point where you say to someone, 'You know, your game would really improve if you got rid of those cheap clubs, and spent some money on some real equipment'?
Thanks in advance

I do like your question, as this is on the minds of many golfers who believe they shouldnt have to pay so much for the latest equipment. Its good to keep in mind that no new club is going to give you good results if you have bad swing mechanics, no matter what its promotional materials might imply. Still, I would like to suggest that if youre serious about your game, then going for a 'disposable' driver at $40 instead of one of the brand names is not a smart move. If you bought a car that cost 20% of the price of the average new car, youd wonder about how safe and well-built it could be, wouldnt you? Youd be leery of eating food that was on sale at 80% off too, I hope.
No driver in the marketplace is going to correct a bad swing; thats the job of a pro and a lesson and some practice. But a club thats been made too cheaply wont often give you the same good results when you do make a good swing, and that can be discouraging.
Assuming you have a reasonable swing but not a fat wallet and would like to make sure that equipment is not holding you back, I suggest you look around for last years model. Even a two year old model driver is very good and very close to being as sophisticated as the brand new versions. It doesnt have to be a major brand name, but the ' disposable' version will most probably not have the properties youre looking for. I almost feel ashamed to admit it, but my driver is a good friend, a very good friend, and almost four years old. I have a five handicap and am thinking about upgrading, but having hit most of the newer clubs I feel that the advantage I will gain can be overshadowed by a few extra hours a month Id have to spend on the range working on my technique and pre-shot routine.
Ives, when your wallet fattens up a bit and youre reasonably comfortable with your swing, then there is no harm in going for broke and buying the latest and greatest -- if for no other reason than it will make you feel good, which might even affect your swing for the better. If you are serious about your game I would leave the 'disposable' version in the hardware store.
Click to purchase the Frog PutterFrank 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