Adams XTD Forged irons

There was a time when elite golfers wouldn't even think about carrying a hybrid.

But according to Mike Fox, Adams Golf's director of global product marketing, the average number of hybrids found in a PGA Tour player's golf bag now is 1.2. For 0-5 handicap golfers, that number increases to 1.5.

So when it came time to create Adams' next set of irons for better players – XTD Forged – one obvious question surfaced: "Why wouldn't you make a better-player's set with hybrids in them?" Fox asked.

The standard set of XTD Forged irons, which will be available Nov. 15, includes two low-spinning Adams DHy hybrids (3, 4), along with forged cavity-back (5-7) and muscleback (8-PW) irons.

But Adams aspired to do more than simply add hybrids to this set of irons.

"The goal was to make the faces faster, while at the same time making them easier to hit for accomplished players," Fox said.

Furthermore, he added, the new game-enhancing technologies essentially are hidden to meet the aesthetic demands of low-handicap players.

Adams actually fits four pieces of metal together to make the irons. The stainless-steel head is forged with two holes on the inside of the toe section. A pair of tungsten plugs are welded into those holes, and a slot is machined into each iron's sole. A separately forged, stainless-steel face plate is affixed to the head, leaving a very thin, hollow area between the hitting surface and the body of the club. Injecting rubber foam through the slot in the sole fills that space. Finally, the slot is covered to encapsulate the foam inside the iron.

According to Adams, inclusion of a slot and inner chamber helps the face of the irons flex more at impact to increase ball speed. By filling the empty space with foam, sound is improved without sacrificing the face's ability to flex, said Justin Honea, Adams' senior design engineer. This process also increases forgiveness, he added.

"Typically, the reason why the toe is so high on an iron, relative to the heel, is to move the weight toward the toe so you can get the center of gravity in line with the center of the face," Honea explained. "Instead of doing that, we put the tungsten weight inside the club to balance it out and make it more forgiving, even for a forged blade."

While all of the irons have slots, they are not all the same.

"As you go through the set," Honea said, "the void behind the face begins to shrink as you get to the wedges, because, ideally, you still want your 9-iron and pitching wedge to go to a specific number. However, we wanted to increase the gaps between longer clubs."

Because the characteristic time (CT), or "springiness," of the long irons is high, Honea said golfers should not expect a significant distance gap between the set's two hybrids and its longest irons.

He also said that the launch angle of the long irons is higher than last season's CMB irons; the short irons fly on a similar trajectory.

The nickel-chrome plated XTD Forged irons will be available with either KBS C-Taper steel shafts for $1,099 or UST Mamiya Recoil graphite shafts for $1,199. Other shaft options are available through custom order.

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