Adams XTD driver and fairway woods
Adams Golf has referred to itself as a “second shot company” while riding the success of two generations of Tight Lies fairway woods and a variety of hybrid models.
However, none other than Kenny Perry has emerged as a chief advocate in celebrating recent drivers produced by Adams. “Best driver by far I’ve ever used,” Perry said of his Adams Super LS driver (10.5 degree) after winning the 2013 U.S. Senior Open for his second consecutive senior major championship.
Now Perry has a new club, the 2014 XTD driver from Adams.
Justin Honea, senior director of research and development for Adams, makes several claims about the XTD: "This is the first driver with Cut-Through Velocity Slots. We have three of the slots in this driver. What we ended up with is maximum deflection across the entire face. Coupled with progressive-face thickness, we have what we feel is the best driver in golf.”
According to Honea, every XTD driver will be checked four times during the construction process for CT, or characteristic time. CT has replaced coefficient of restitution, or COR, as the reference point for spring-like effect in the faces of golf clubs.
The name was changed to CT after the U.S. Golf Association invented a new pendulum measurement test. “We want to have the tightest tolerance of any driver on the market,” Honea said.
The challenge, of course, is to come close to the CT limit without going over. Exceeding the limit would result in a nonconforming tag, which historically has been the kiss of death in the golf marketplace. Golfers repeatedly have demonstrated their preference for playing with legal clubs.
Additional highlights of the driver:
• Adams places two Cut-Through Velocity Slots on the sole and another on the crown. This is similar to the design scheme used by Adams in fairway woods and hybrids. The slots are intended to amplify trampoline effect when the ball contacts the face, thus increasing ball speed off the face.
• The overall length of the XTD driver is 45 inches, which is shorter than many recent Adams drivers. “We are not chasing the overall distance claim,” Honea said. “We want to deliver a product the golfer can hit the best.”
• The interchangeable Fast Fit system from Adams is now compatible with TaylorMade’s fitting system, meaning a golfer can use either Adams or TaylorMade fitting carts to find the best combination of driver head and shaft.
The $399 driver is scheduled to be available Nov. 15 at retail. It features a Matrix Red Tie shaft and Iomic grip. Lofts for men are 9, 10.5 and 12. A women’s version has 12 degrees of loft.
- James Achenbach
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Adams XTD Ti fairway woods
When it comes to fairway woods these days, Mike Fox, Adams' director of product line management, says he thinks most companies that produce fairway woods are just trying to maximize distance and ball speed without inducing sticker shock.
"The goal of all of these super-long fairway woods out there right now is not to be the best fairway wood, because if it was, you'd make them out of titanium," Fox said. According to Fox, titanium is the strongest, fastest and best material for the job – but it's expensive.
Fox said companies rely on stainless steel because it's strong, durable and costs less than titanium.
Setting price issues aside, Adams opted to build its new XTD Ti fairway woods with a titanium body attached to a high-density stainless steel sole. The new clubs, which cost $299 each, are expected to hit retail Nov. 15.
According to Fox, one of the first things that Adams designers did when they started to create the XTD Ti was incorporate the larger slots featured in the company's new Tight Lies fairway woods. Previous slots in Adams fairway woods were designed vertically, going down into the head. The new slots, however, are horizontally positioned under an overhang in the topline and in the club's sole.
According to Adams, these slots – covered by a polymer to keep debris out – let the club face flex more effectively at impact than previous iterations.
Combined with the ball speed of a titanium face, Fox said this actually created a unique problem.
"[The prototype] was so illegal it was crazy," Fox said, referring to the club's characteristic time (CT). The USGA limits CT at 238, and most drivers achieve scores in the 230s. Fox claims the prototype XTD Ti fairway woods had CT measurements that exceeded 300.
To make the XTD fall within USGA parameters, engineers borrowed a patented technology from Adams' sister brand, TaylorMade. Inverted Cone Technology makes the center of the face thicker while keeping outer portions thin. Its application effectively suppressed power created in the sweetspot, yet enhanced spring-like effect toward the exterior of the face.
"This is the first fairway wood we ever designed with progressive-face thickness," Fox said. "It's a big deal because it creates speed on off-center hits." Fox claimed that the XDT Ti has 30 percent more ball speed on off-center hits than its predecessor.
To encourage fades or draws, an adjustable hosel allows golfers to open or close the face by up to 1.5 degrees.
The XDT Ti fairways will be available in 13.5-, 15- and 18-degree models with an Altus Matrix HQ3 shaft. An 8-gram sole weight also will come pre-set in the sole, but clubfitters will be able to adjust the weight to fine tune the club's balance and swing weight.
- David Dusek