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Shorter Length Putters
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I recently had a putting lesson. The PGA instructor had me shorten my 35' putter to 32.5'. The benefit is a better shoulder motion.
During our discussion, he stated that the average length putter on the PGA Tour is 32.5'. If true, why haven't I seen a 32' putter offered by manufacturers? The shortest I've seen is 33' and rarely do I see them displayed or in stock at golf retailers.
Also, how much weight must I add to my newly shortened putter to compensate for the change?
The average length putter on Tour is closer to 34 inches. This is shorter than it was 20 years ago and is inclined to straighten out the arms increasing consistency of impact positioning on the face and reduces tension associated with bent arms, which adds to the source of errors. Shorter putters - not too short -- also help a little in shoulder rotation.
32- inches seems to be short but this depends on your setup and stature, which I am sure your PGA professional took into account when fitting you. An average height male - about 5' 9' -- should be able to use a 34 and maybe 33 inch putter very successfully.
You don't have to change the swing weight of your putter when you shorten it unless you will be taking a full swing with it.
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Persimmon Back In the Bag!
I went to the range today for lunch and put an old Powerbilt Citation 5 wood in my bag that I found in my garage to take to the range for fun. I havent hit a persimmon wood for at least 15 years and was AMAZED at how high and soft it landed on the green 220 yards away. I then took out my Callaway hybrid and hit it just as far and pretty straight but nowhere near as high. Also, I noticed when I hit the persimmon closer to the toe it would draw in and hit a couple on the heel and faded. I felt like I couldnt miss the target!!! It landed so softly I was stunned.
Am I the only one who is now thinking I should put my persimmon 5 wood in my bag as opposed to these high tech hybrids?
It should not be surprising that your wooden 5-wood will perform very well and certainly after such a period of purgatory in the closet. It has now learned its lesson and obviously doesnt like a dark place away from the course. There are other reasons for good performance and this has something to do with your fresh swing and obvious affection for this well crafted old friend and warm instrument.
Let's examine the wooden 5-wood from a technical point of view -- which may not be half as important as your attitude and good swing motion. The COR (Coefficient of Restitution) is probably very close to that of your hybrid so the ball will come off the club at about the same speed. Because the c.g. (center of gravity) of your 5-wood is most likely farther back from the face than the hybrid the face will present more dynamic loft to the ball at impact. This will send the ball on a higher trajectory, assuming a similar shaft flex. A more flexible, longer shaft will further increase this dynamic loft.
The longer shaft -- which I suspect is the case but you need to check this out ' will allow you to generate a little more head velocity giving you increased ball speed even though the COR is the same.
The down side -- for the 5- wood -- is that the Hybrid, which probably has a higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) about its vertical axis and thus will be more forgiving i.e. not twist as much on off centered impacts. It is for this reason that the Gear Effect using your wooden 5-wood, is more pronounced when the impact point is on the toe or heel as you describe.
Have fun with your old friend and dont let it or any other good friend spend long periods of time in a place it doesnt enjoy. Some will sulk and never perform properly again.
I hope this has helped give you a better insight into the social and technical behavior of your old friend.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
By Frank Thomas