Club-fitting series: Adams Golf's Michael Vrska
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Pay attention to proper gapping between clubs. And pay attention to proper lie angle.
Those are among the messages of Michael Vrska, director of product development for Adams Golf.
Adams has earned a reputation for developing innovative mixed sets that contain irons and hybrids. Tim Reed, vice president of research & development, is the main man in the company’s creative design efforts. Vrska is one of Reed’s lieutenants, frequently serving as a spokesman during the introduction of Adams clubs.
The newest mixed set from Adams is the Idea Tech V3 hybrid irons. There are two versions – the Forged Set and the All Hybrid Set. Both have sleek black heads. Skilled players will be interested mostly in the Forged Set, with four normal short irons (8 , 9, pitch and gap), a mid-hybrid 7-iron and three full hybrids (4, 5 and 6).
Vrska makes no attempt to hide his infatuation with hybrids in general and the Idea Tech V3 in particular.
“We’ve got the gapping right,” Vrska said. “We designed these clubs very precisely. Most golfers will have a gap between clubs that is 8 to 12 yards. It’s no secret that anybody can play better if they know how far their clubs are going.”
When many of us were learning to play golf in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, we didn’t think of gapping. If we had, we might have been forced into honest opinions. With traditional irons, gapping often broke down in the long irons. Because they were so difficult to hit and trajectories often were too low, there was an inconsistency that hurt many players.
“All amateurs should be playing hybrids, period,” Vrska said.
The big deal about hybrids is simple enough: They get the ball up in the air, and they can be used effectively from a variety of questionable lies.
Vrska offered a helpful hint that applies to many golfers: Lie angle is just as important for hybrids as it is for irons. The wrong lie angle can nullify a good swing, producing a variety of mysterious results.
“Lie angle affects two things,” Vrska said. “One is left-to-right dispersion. The other is solidity of contact. If you get the wrong lie angle, you can get some funny turf interaction – the club just feels funny going through the turf.
“Here’s the advice I would give any golfer: If you are getting pushes and pulls on what feel like good swings, I definitely would be looking at lie angle.”
Any Adams hybrid can be bent for lie angle. This is true of hybrids from several other companies as well, because hybrids typically are made of stainless steel.
Also, Vrska has become a huge fan of graphite shafts.
“When people say graphite is for distance and steel is for accuracy, it’s just bunk,” he said. “Graphite shafts are just marvelous today. They are very consistent from shaft to shaft. Very repeatable.”
This is not a knock on steel shafts. Vrska maintains that some golfers are better with steel in their irons, while others are better with graphite.
“Some hit their irons longer with steel,” he said. “It has to do with how they load and unload the shaft. On the other hand, there are big, strong men out there who are better suited for graphite.”