Ask the expert: Barney Adams

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Adams is famous for his Tight Lies fairway woods, which were first sold in 1996.

Barney Adams

Founder, Adams Golf

Adams is famous for his Tight Lies fairway woods, which were first sold in 1996.

How did you invent the Tight Lies fairway wood?

I was a custom fitter, and I worked with people on the range every day. Finally I realized my job was not to sell custom-fitted golf clubs. My job was to improve ball flight. That forced me to look at my tools. I didn’t have the best tools for the job. And, quite frankly, neither did anybody else, so I invented a better tool for better ball flight.

By inverting the shape and creating a lower center of gravity, correct?

Yes, but my goal, quite simply, was A and F – airborne and forward. The Tight Lies would get the ball airborne and forward from just about any lie.

In general, why are today’s metal fairway woods so much better than yesterday’s wooden fairway woods?

Because of the nature of wood, we had no control over where the CG (center of gravity) was. It could have been high, low, in the toe, in the heel.

Are there any other reasons?

Shaftmakers today can design shafts precisely for fairway woods. In the past, you cut the shaft to length, but you didn’t have the design characteristics you have today.

What do you think of golfers mixing and matching fairway woods and hybrids?

Anything goes. Golf clubs today are made for specific shots, not for sets.

If the fairway wood is a specialty club, is the driver a specialty club?

I think so. It’s 45 or 46 inches long, which is way too long for the best control. ... If you absolutely have to hit it straight, use a 3-wood.

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