Dear Frankly Friends,
It is with profound sadness that I share the news with you that my beloved husband, Frank Thomas passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2021 in Celebration, FL, USA, having suffered a heart attack on our daily walk.
It was 58 years earlier, to the day, that he set sail from his native South Africa, to head across the Atlantic toward America in his 25-foot sailboat Banshee with his friend Malcolm Maidwell in an incredible adventure that shaped his life and his enduring philosophy.
Frank lived the American Dream. He loved America and the freedoms and the opportunity that this country provides to everyone. He was an innovator and in America he was able to follow his dreams.
He invented the graphite golf shaft as Chief Design Engineer with Shakespeare Sporting Goods, an invention that was not only was a milestone in golf, but also in the manufacturing of consumer products where strength and lightweight is important.
He then joined the United States Golf Association (USGA) as Technical Director, where he developed the Research and Test Center. He directed the development of almost all the performance standards for golf equipment now used to maintain the integrity of the game enjoyed by so many people around the world. He directed the development of the Indoor Test Range (ITR) to measure golf ball aerodynamics, which is now used industrywide. He also directed the development of GHIN (golf handicap system) as well as redesigning the Stimpmeter now used internationally to measure the speed of greens.
Upon leaving the USGA, Frank started Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to helping golfers. Specializing in putting, he used his years of experience in science and research to design the Frankly Frog Putter and create the Certified Putting Instructor (CPI) Course, now used by eight PGA’s around the world for ongoing education.
Frank loved to help people. He wrote a regular column on our website and in Golf Digest, and had a segment on Golf Channel, answering golfer’s equipment questions for many years.
He loved innovation, nature, adventure, the beauty and evolution of life. No challenge was too great, and he believed that everyone should “Follow their dreams and never give up.”
He is survived by his sister Nora Hill and his children from his first marriage to Wendy Thomas: Joanne Thomas, Ginny Zimmerman, Will Thomas and his grandchildren Colin and Jordan Zimmerman and Alli and Ryan White.
Frank had an amazing life. He was a very kind person and was truly a gentleman. He always saw the good in people. As his wife, I would like to let you know that Frank appreciated and enjoyed all your questions and correspondence through the years and your loyalty and support of our business, Frankly Golf, as we took our dream and made it real.
I will miss Frank terribly. He was the love of my life and my best friend. However, I look forward to working hard to continue Frank’s legacy and helping golfers into the future, which is what I promised him.
If you would like to leave a message below, it would be so nice to hear from you. I will be reading them all individually. Thank you.