Pros: Hittable from any lie, most notably from the light rough. Great versatility and distance on off-center strikes. Finds the middle ground between a hybrid and off-the-tee fairway wood. Forgiveness across the face even with shallow, smaller-sized head.
Cons: Flat/dead/dull sound at impact. Lack of distance relative to ball speed makes the club less appealing off the tee. The crown and sole appearance is not for everyone.
Bottom Line: A fine reincarnation of a versatile game-changing wood. The Tour version provides the lower launch and spin favored by better players and both models are easy to hit from any lie. The non-tour Tight Lies club is a great fusion of the hybrid and today’s 3 woods, which are primarily played off the tee.
Released in the mid-90s, the original Adams Tight Lies revolutionized the fairway wood and catapulted the fledgling company into the ranks of major OEMs. The breakthrough technology of that club included the signature “upside down” head design that lowered the club’s center of gravity, increasing playability and making approaches with the fairway wood easier to get airborne.
Nearly 20 years later, Adams reverses a trend with new Tight Lies, offering a 25 percent smaller face than average fairway woods on the market. In doing this, the company has created a more compact and versatile fairway wood that is suited for play from any lie, not merely a mini-driver to play from the tee. Adams took a gamble on a club that doesn’t maximize distance in the present distance-crazed world of golf.
The 2013 edition of the Tight Lies wood is equipped with a velocity slot on both the crown and sole of the club. The technology contributes to clubface flexibility making the face nearly twice as “springy” as the original. The company says the velocity slot face is more flexible than current Adams woods, which adds 1 to 2 mph more ball speed (6 to 10 additional yards). Adams’ Tight Lies Tour has a slightly deeper face and more forward center of gravity to facilitate lower-spinning shots. The Tour version retails for $229 and has a stock Aldila Tour Blue shaft.
Adams launched a 16-degree version of the Tight Lies fairway wood Aug. 15 for $199, and will follow with a 3 wood (14 degrees), 5 wood (19 degrees) and 7 wood (22 degrees) for the same price. The non-tour club comes stock with a Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara shaft that measures 42.5 inches in the 3 wood.
In testing, the Tour model carried between five and ten yards shorter than modern, larger-sized 3 woods. The regular Tight Lies carried an average of 10-to-15 yards less. However, allowances ought to be made for the latter’s 16 degrees of loft. Thus, the club isn’t likely to go quite as far as your current gamer off the tee or from the fairway for high-speed golfers. For slower swing speed players, the additional loft and spin might actually increase distance, however.
Above: The Tight Lies (left) and Tight Lies Tour (right) appeal to two different types of golfers.
Performance from both light and heavy rough, though, is superb and makes up for possible loss of distance. Both Tight Lies models are legitimate fusions of hybrids and today’s 3 woods, and are at least as workable if not more workable than comparable models. Off-center strikes, particularly from the rough, carry surprising distances.
Here’s a look at some numbers using both models on the simulator at GolfTec. The bottom club is the regular Tight Lies (16 degree) with a stifff Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara. The top club is a the 14-degree Tight Lies Tour with a stiff Aldila Tour Blue ATX shaft.
Looks and Feel
[three_fourth last=”no”]The velocity slot on the crown of the club may bother some players. However, the flat black finish is certainly enough to mute any slot-related distraction. The absence of an aim marker on the crown may erk some players too. Ultimately, though, the flat, minimalist look of the crown is likely to be broadly appealing.
The Tight Lies’ smaller head size, relative to other three woods on the market, is apparent at address. However, the feeling isn’t one of stepping up to the ball with an old persimmon, and most players will be comfortable with the sizes of the heads.
On centered strikes, the club sounds and feels more like a hybrid than the majority of current three woods on the market—which feel more like drivers, really. The difference is a bit surprising at first, but it is quickly forgotten. The face is remarkably springy on off center hits, and shots from the rough feel solid as well.[/three_fourth][one_fourth last=”yes”][/one_fourth]
New Adams brand elements permeate the club, including the scripted logo on the toe. Unlike the Speedline woods, which are similar in appearance to the models from Adams’ parent company, TaylorMade, Adams has created an entirely different look with the Tight Lies woods.
[three_fourth last=”no”] As Mike Fox, Adams’ director of global product marketing said to David Dusek of Golfweek:
“Most golfers are looking for a club that they can hit about 200 yards, because that’s what most of us have into greens on par 5s. If you can find a club that can go 200 yards off the fairway, out of the rough and out of fairway bunkers, that’s a club that everyone wants and is searching for.”
With this in mind, at the end of the day, for “most golfers,” the Tight Lies is that club. [/three_fourth] [one_fourth last=”yes”][/one_fourth]