In my opinion, the acquisition of Yes! Golf is a very significant maneuver for Adams Golf. The deal, costing Adams a total of $1.65 million, was announced late Wednesday.
For starters, some of the Yes! patents could be very valuable to Adams. Yes! was a pioneer in grooved putter faces, the theory being that grooves help the ball roll quicker and more consistently. In golf shorthand, this has been called the anti-skid movement.
The man behind C-Groove putters from Yes! was Harold Swash, a teaching professional known as Europe’s “Putting Doctor.”
Retief Goosen, through the influence of Swash, picked up a C-Groove Tracy putter and won two U.S. Opens with it (2001, 2004).
Other companies, including Rife and TaylorMade, joined the grooved putter movement. Rife became popular with touring pros, particularly those on the Champions Tour, but it was TaylorMade, one of the world’s largest golf equipment companies, that ramped up interest in grooved putters, especially with its white-headed Ghost series.
More important than the Yes! patents, though, is the completion of the golf equipment circle by Adams Golf. We’re talking here about a company that started primarily with one product – the Tight Lies fairway wood. Gradually, Adams became known for its hybrids as well. Then came its drivers.
In today’s marketplace, Speedline drivers from Adams have gained a solid measure of prominence and recognition. Along the way, Adams added muscle to its reputation by becoming a sponsor of the Long Drivers of America and two-time world long drive champion Jamie Sadlowski.
Irons have been a point of concentration for Adams, which offers an extensive mix of game-improvement irons along with three different models of forged irons.
The Adams wedge family includes two lines — the Watson wedges, named after five-time British Open champion Tom Watson, and the Puglielli Black wedges, named for Adams golf tour director Max Puglielli.
All that was missing from the Adams portfolio was highly visible putters.
A bit of personal history: I have known Barney Adams, founder of Adams Golf, since the late 1980s. He drove a 20-year-old Mercedes, and he owned a tiny golf shop in Dallas, fitting golfers and making custom clubs.
In my opinion, Adams is one of the best fitters in contemporary golf. He is a no-nonsense guy who insists that golfers hit three balls and then move on to another club.
“I want to see what happens with their real swing,” Adams said, “before they are able to make adjustments and adapt their swing to the club they are hitting.”
Adams developed a long history with instructor Hank Haney. After Adams Golf was founded in 1987, the Hank Haney Golf Ranch in McKinney, Texas, became the epicenter of fitting sessions with Adams clubs.
I have been around long enough to remember early Adams putters with Haney’s name on them. I still own two of these signature putters, and they produce a wonderful roll.
However, Adams was a struggling young company and seeking greater business opportunity, concentrated on full-swing clubs. The Haney putters quickly disappeared.
Now, finally, Adams Golf is equipped with a solid inventory of patents and putter designs. It remains to be seen just how many Yes! putters make it into the Adams fraternity.
Yes! and its CEO, Francis Ricci, were eccentric from the very start. The first C-Groove putters were manufactured in 1999, and right away Ricci started naming them after women. He never stopped.
So we have Goosen’s putter, Tracy, which happens to be the name of Goosen’s wife, and many more models with feminine names – Mollie, Morgan, Dawn, Madison, Athena, Robin, Donna, Natalie, Sandy, Marylin, Callie, Sophie and Victoria among them.
My favorite is the Natalie. This D-shaped mallet putter is an icon among golfers who love center-shafted putters.
In today’s volatile economic environment, golf equipment companies have to move cautiously, but the addition of Yes! putters should be a winner for Adams.