Frank Thomas, founder of Frankly Golf, is one of the world’s leading golf equipment experts and innovators.
As the chief design engineer at Shakespeare Sporting Goods, in 1969 he invented the graphite shaft, a piece of technology found in the bag of nearly every golfer today.
As Technical Director of the United States Golf Association (USGA) for more than a quarter century, he issued thousands of rulings on equipment, and was instrumental in rewriting or modifying all the rules that govern the implements used in the game. During his years with the USGA, he developed the extensive testing procedures that measure the performance of equipment. He also directed the development of today's Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN), the Indoor Test Range (ITR) to measure golf ball aerodynamics now used industrywide, and redesigned and introduced the Stimpmeter to quantify the speed of the greens, now used worldwide.
Since leaving the USGA in 2000, he has devoted his efforts and passion to educating golfers about golf equipment and putting. Over the last fifteen years, his extensive research work related to putting, the putting stroke as well his design of the Frankly Frog putter line has resulted in Frankly Golf becoming the worldwide leader in putting instruction.
His honest and straightforward evaluations of today's technology have reached millions of golfers through The Golf Channel, Golf Digest and his own company website www.franklygolf.com.
In his youth, seeking to explore the world, Frank and his friend Malcolm set sail from their native South Africa in their 25-foot sailboat "Banshee" in 1963. During this harrowing trip around the Cape of Storms and across the Atlantic, he faced several life and death situations, helping to shape Frank's character and philosophy, teaching him lessons about self-reliance, adaptability, and the relative value of technology and ingenuity in the face of the awesome forces of nature.
Frank combines this lifelong experience as a designer, innovator, rules maker, educator and founder of a golf company to lend his expertise as a judge on Wilson Golf’s Driver vs Driver a TV show which aired on Golf Channel in Fall 2016.
Valerie Melvin is co-founder and Managing Director of Frankly Golf.
Her career in golf started at an early age when she won the British Under-16 Age Group Championship and found herself sharing the stage with Lee Westwood, who won the Boys Championship the very same year.
She went on to represent her native Scotland at all international levels of the game, playing around the world. She has won the Women’s Metropolitan Championship as well as playing for the state of Florida in team competition.
As a member of the highly successful sports bursary scheme at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Valerie obtained a B. Sc. (Honours) Degree in Psychology, focusing her final year dissertation on brain activity when putting. She went on to the University of Glasgow where she obtained an M.Sc. (Medical Science) Sport and Exercise Science degree.
Her first position in golf was as a Research and Information Officer for the World Scientific Congress of Golf Trust, funded by the R&A and USGA, where she edited Golf Science International a publication of the Trust, turning academic research into informative articles that golfers could understand.
In 2000, Valerie left her native Scotland to join Frank Thomas in the USA to start Frankly Golf, with a mission of helping golfers.
She applied her research knowledge to putting, recognizing the need for solid information about the science of putting, helping to develop the innovative Frankly Frog putter line, introducing the first ever putter accompanied by instructions for use, as well as developing a state of the art putting academy to help all levels of golfers perform, nurturing some of the best young talent from around the world.
At the request of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, Valerie and Frank together developed the online Certified Putting Instructor learning qualification which has now been adopted by 8 PGA’s around the world for ongoing education.
She has also co-authored 3 books: Dear Frank, From Sticks and Stones, and The Fundamentals of Putting.
Valerie was responsible for managing and conducting the “Growing the Game” survey, which was the largest survey ever conducted in golf at the time. The results of this research have been used throughout the golf industry, and a summary report is available on this site.
Every day, Valerie continues to pursue the mission of Frankly Golf to help golfers, by developing interesting, informative content for www.Franklygolf.com visitors, which include Weekly Putting Tips and a Golf Equipment Q&A. She uses her creative and innovative talents working with other golf associations to help grow the game.