QA Right Shaft Hybrids Woods

By Frank ThomasApril 18, 2007, 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@franklygolf.com
 
Frank:
Weve heard so much about shafts. What is the best way to know that youre choosing the correct shaft for your woods and irons?
John

 
John,
In the last 10 years or so, shaft marketing has gone into overdrive. If you read the ads or the articles in most golf magazines, youll get the impression that getting the right kickpoint and torque properties for your individual game is as important as getting the right prescription in your contact lenses. In fact, unless youre a very low handicap golfer, choosing the right shaft is very simple.
 
The one and only important decision for you to make, unless youre abnormally tall or short and standard lengths wont work for you, is in your choice of shaft flex. You should look first for one that you feel comfortable swinging, and in general you should begin with the more flexible shafts and move towards the stiffer ones only if you find the flexible ones too whippy. (Most golfers use shafts that are too stiff for their swing speeds.) Finding a comfortable shaft will help you build confidence, which makes all the difference in your performance.
 
Chasing distance and moving outside your comfort zone to get it is a move in the wrong direction.
 
Generally your choice is largely dependent on your swing speed and your skill level. If you have a high swing speed (100 + mph with your driver), then you are a candidate for a stiff shaft or even an XS. Most of us who swing in the 90 mph zone dont need more than a R-flex in our woods, and this is probably the case for our irons as well. You can even use a stiff shaft in your irons and R-flex in your woods if this is what feels most comfortable to you. If you do this, Id recommend using the same flex shaft in your hybrids that youre using in your woods. (Today many manufacturers are installing specifically designed hybrid shafts in these clubs, but they still come in the usual array of flexes.)
 
I would certainly not try to be too exotic with the choice of your shaft -- e.g. low or high kick-point, specific balance point or some extreme in torque properties -- until you have reduced your handicap to close to scratch. At this point you can think about some of the fancy stuff if you need a specific flight pattern that neither a loft change nor overall shaft flex change is helping you achieve. But when you are at that point, youll have developed sufficient feel that youll be able to tell if the shaft is right for you or not. For more on shafts Click here
 
Hope this helps.
Frank
 
Frank:
I own three hybrids: 18, 21 and 24 degree. I hit the 21 and 24 very well about 7 out of 10 times, but I really struggle with the 18 degree; it's either a big slice or a big pull, though when I do hit it right I can get about 180 to 190 yards with it. I put in the 18 degree to replace my three wood as that club was a real problem for me. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Bob

 
Bob,
I would NOT normally recommend replacing your 3-wood with a hybrid. The likely reason you were having a problem with your 3-wood was either 1) it has the wrong flex shaft, i.e., its different from your driver (assuming you are not having a problem with your driver); 2) it has too long a shaft; or most likely; 3) you have the same swing flaw with the 18 degree hybrid as with the long fairway wood.
 
I suggest that you try to correct the swing problem before giving up on the 3-wood, which is an important club in the bag. Hybrids are generally used to replace the hard-to-hit long irons, but most golfers find fairway woods easier to hit than hybrids. Another solution for you ' and I would suggest you try this first -- is to substitute a 5-wood for the 3-wood for these long fairway shots to determine if the problem is the club or you. If youre still having a problem with the 5-wood, then get someone to look at your swing. If the 5-wood works, then dump the 18 degree hybrid.
 
Hi Frank. I just traded my Callaway 460x for a Callaway FTi and am now getting 19 yards more out of the new driver. Is this just in my head????
Chuck

 
Chuck,
 
I have no reason to doubt that the distance increase you are getting is real. But I do ask if you also increased your driving distance when you changed from your previous driver to the Callaway 460X?
 
If you did, then I would take advantage of and have fun with the 19 extra yards while this lasts.
 
The only reason this will last beyond the Placebo Effect Time (PET time), which is about a month or two depending on how much you paid for the new driver, is that you were not getting the launch angle and spin rates you needed to optimize your launch conditions with your 460 X. If so, it was not the right club fit for you.
 
Both drivers have the same COR and approximately the same head weight, so if you hit them both on the sweet spot with the same head speed, then the ball speed will be the same.
 
If the ball speed is the same then the only way you are going to get 19 more yards is if you launch the ball closer to optimum conditions for you and your head speed than you did before. Or you may now be playing off hard turf and getting about 19 yards more roll.
 
The answer is in your head, but I dont know which one.
 
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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
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Snedeker leads by one heading into final round

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:26 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brandt Snedeker took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the weather-delayed Wyndham Championship after finishing the third round Sunday with a 2-under 68.

Snedeker was at 16-under 194 through three rounds of the final PGA Tour event of the regular season. Brian Gay and David Hearn were at 15 under, with Gay shooting a 62 and Hearn a 64.

Thirty players were on the course Saturday when play was suspended because of severe weather. After a delay of 3 hours, 23 minutes, organizers chose to hold things up until Sunday morning.

Snedeker, who shot an opening-round 59 to become just the 10th tour player to break 60, is chasing his first victory since 2016 and his second career win at this tournament.

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Olesen edges past Poulter in Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 3:10 pm

With only two weeks left in the qualification window, Thorbjorn Olesen is now in position to make his Ryder Cup debut.

Olesen finished alone in fourth place at the Nordea Masters, two shots out of a playoff between Thomas Aiken and eventual winner Paul Waring. Olesen carded four straight sub-70 rounds in Sweden, including a final-round 67 that featured three birdies over his final seven holes.

It's a tight race for the fourth and final Ryder Cup spot via the World Points list, and Olesen's showing this week will allow him to move past Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, both of whom didn't play this week, into the No. 4 slot. Olesen is now also less than 40,000 Euros behind Tommy Fleetwood to qualify via the European Points list.

The top four players from both lists on Sept. 2 will qualify for next month's matches, with captain Thomas Bjorn rounding out the roster with four selections on Sept. 4. Poulter and Casey will both have a chance to move back in front next week at The Northern Trust, while the final qualifying week will include the PGA Tour event at TPC Boston and Olesen headlining the field in his homeland at the Made in Denmark.

Even if Olesen fails to qualify automatically for Paris, the 28-year-old continues to bolster his credentials for a possible pick from his countryman, Bjorn. Olesen won the Italian Open in June, finished second at the BMW International Open three weeks later and has now compiled four top-12 finishes over his last five worldwide starts including a T-3 result at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month.

In addition to the players who fail to qualify from the Olesen-Poulter-Casey trio, other candidates for Bjorn's quartet of picks will likely include major champions Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

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Thompson bounces back from rule violation

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2018, 2:22 am

If Lexi Thompson’s trouble in the sixth fairway brought back any painful memories Saturday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, she shook them off in a hurry.

If the approach of another rules official amid a spirited run of brilliant play rattled her, she didn’t show it.

Thompson posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round despite another awkward rules infraction.

Her round was impressively bogey free but not mistake free, and so her work will be a little harder Sunday chasing Lizette Salas.

After incurring a one-shot penalty for violating a local rule in effect for preferred lies, Thompson will start the final round five shots back instead of four.

She knows she’s fortunate she isn’t six back.

If a rules official hadn’t witnessed Thompson in the middle of committing the infraction, she could have been assessed an additional penalty shot for playing from the wrong spot.

Thompson got the penalty after stepping on the 10th tee and blowing her drive right, into the sixth fairway. She got it after picking up her ball over there and lifting, cleaning and placing it. She got it because she wasn’t allowed to do that in any other fairway except for the fairway of the hole she was playing.

The preferred-lie rule was distributed to players earlier in the week.

The story here isn’t really the penalty.


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


It’s Thompson’s reaction to it, because she opened this week in such heartfelt fashion. After skipping the Ricoh Women’s British Open to take a month-long “mental break,” Thompson revealed this week that she has been struggling emotionally in the wake of last year’s highs and lows. She opened up about how trying to “hide” her pain and show strength through it all finally became too much to bear. She needed a break. She also candidly shared how the challenges of being a prodigy who has poured herself into the game have led her to seek therapists’ help in building a life about more than golf.

That’s a lot for a 23-year-old to unload publicly.

Last year may have been the best and the worst of Thompson’s career. She said dealing with that controversial four-shot penalty that cost her the ANA Inspiration title, watching her mother battle cancer and losing a grandmother were cumulatively more difficult to deal with than she ever let on. There was also that short missed putt at year’s end that could have vaulted her to Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and led to her winning the Rolex Player of the Year title. She still won twice, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year.

That’s a lot of peaks and valleys for a young soul.

That’s the kind of year that can make you feel like an old soul in a hurry.

So seeing a rules official approach her on Saturday, you wondered about Thompson gathering herself so quickly. You wondered what she was thinking stepping up and ripping her next shot 215 majestic yards, about her hitting the green and saving par. You wondered about how she  bounced back to birdie 13 and 14 and finish bogey free.

With this week’s soul bearing, you wondered a lot about what rebounding like that meant to her.

We’re left to wonder from afar, though, because she wasn’t asked any of those questions by local reporters afterward. The transcript showed three brief answers to three short questions, none about the penalty or the challenge she met.

Of course, there were other questions to be asked, because local rules have been an issue this year. Did she read the local notes with the preferred lies explanation? She got hit with another local rules issue in Thailand this year, when she hit her ball near an advertising sign and moved the sign, not realizing a local rule made the sign a temporary immovable obstruction.

Of course, there were other good stories in Indy, too, with Sung Hyun Park poised to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn and return to Rolex world No. 1, with Salas holding off Park so brilliantly down the stretch Saturday.

Thompson, though, is the highest ranked American in the world. She’s the face of American women’s golf now. A face more tender, resolute and vulnerable than we have ever seen it.

Folks along the ropes watching her on the back nine in Indy Saturday got to see that better than any of us.

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Salas capitalizes on Park gaffe to take Indy lead

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 2:07 am

INDIANAPOLIS – Lizette Salas waited patiently for Sung Hyun Park to make a rare mistake Saturday.

When the South Korean mishit her approach shot into the water on the par-4 16th, Salas capitalized quickly.

She rolled in her birdie putt then watched Park make double bogey – a three-shot swing that gave Salas the lead and the momentum heading into the final round of the Indy Women in Tech Championship. Salas closed out her 8-under 64 with a birdie on No. 18 to reach 21 under – two shots ahead of Park and Amy Yang.

“I have been striking the ball really well, and I just had to stay patient,” Salas said. “And yeah, putts dropped for sure. I just really felt comfortable.”

If she keeps it up one more day, Salas could be celebrating her first tour win since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship and her second overall. With five of the next six players on the leader board ranked in the world’s top 30, Salas knows it won’t be easy.

The changing weather conditions weather might not help, either. If the forecast for mostly sunny conditions Sunday holds, the soft greens that have kept scores at near record-lows through the first three rounds could suddenly become quicker and less forgiving.

But the 29-year-old Californian seems to have the perfect touch for this course, which weaves around and inside the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

She shot three sub-par rounds and finished tied for fifth last year here. This year, she has three more sub-par rounds including a course record-tying 62 on Thursday and has been atop the leader board each of the first three days.

“I have been so confident the whole year,” Salas said. “I have a different mentality, I’m a different player. So I’m just going to go out and play as if I’m behind.”


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


Salas’ toughest challenge still could from Park, who spent most of Saturday flirting with a 54-hole scoring record.

She birdied the last four holes on the front side and made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to reach 21 under with a chance to become the sixth LPGA player to ever finish three rounds at 23 under.

The miscue at No. 16 changed everything.

She never really recovered after dropping two shots, settling for par on the final two holes for a 66 after shooting 68 and 63 the first two days. Yang finished with a 65 after going 68 and 64.

“I was a little weary with right-to-left wind,” Park said. “I think a little bit of weariness got to me, but overall, it’s OK.”

Defending champion Lexi Thompson was five shots back after completing the final nine of the second round in 2 under 34 and shooting 64 in the afternoon.

She made up ground despite being assessed a one-stroke penalty after hitting her tee shot on No. 10 into the sixth fairway and lifting the ball without authority. Rules officials had implemented the preferred lies rule because more than an inch of rain had doused the course.

Thompson still made her par on the hole though it temporarily broke her momentum after making six birdies on the front nine in her first appearance since taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion.

“Twenty-seven holes, I definitely had a few tired swings toward the end,” said Thompson, who finished each of the first two rounds with 68s. “But overall, a lot of positives. I hit it great. I made some really good putts.”

Three players – Nasa Hataoka of Japan, Jin Young Ko of South Korea and Mina Harigae – were tied at 15 under. Ko started the third round with a share of the lead but had three bogeys in a round of 70.

Now, all Salas has to do is cash in one more time.

“I’ve been knocking on the door quite a bit in the last four years, haven’t been able to get it done,” Salas said. “I’ve got good players behind me, I’ve just got to play my game.”