Shorter Length Putters - COPIED - COPIED

By Frank ThomasJuly 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
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 letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 

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Shorter Length Putters
 
Dear Frank,
 
Love your weekly emails!
 
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?
 
Thank you.
--Mark

 
Mark,
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.
 
If you have the opportunity when in Orlando - or decide to make the opportunity - call for an appointment at our Frankly Frog Putting Studio, which is the most advanced in the country. Click here to learn more.
Have fun
 
Frank
 
Persimmon Back In the Bag!
 
Frank,
 
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?
 
Best regards,
 
--Michael

 
Michael,
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.
 
Please sign up as a Frankly Friend on www.franklygolf.com to get all sorts of free information to improve your game and weekly alerts whenever we answer questions from our visitors.
 
Frank
 
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@franklygolf.com
 
Frank Thomas

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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.



Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.



Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.



What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

@kharms27 on Instagram

Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

@radiosarks on Twitter

Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”