Pros: A forged blade-type iron with a little bit of a size advantage for extra forgiveness. Tungsten weighting offers excellent feel, and the presence of KBS C-Taper shafts and Iomic grips as standard options reinforces the XTD Forged’s status as a “player’s iron.”

Cons: All the highfalutin standard features do make a set pretty pricy ($1100 MSRP). Also, the irons are in a middle ground between “player’s blade” and “player’s cavity back,” which might be awkward to some.

Bottom Line: The XTD Forged irons hit the forged iron “sweet spot” splendidly, combining the workability and feel of blades with the enhanced forgiveness of cavity backs, thanks to the Cut-Thru Slot.

Overview

Adams Golf has long been regarded as principally a maker of good hybrids and fairway woods, from the original Tight Lies on down to 2014’s brand-new PRO hybrid, but they are coming up in the world in terms of drivers (more on that here) and, yes, irons.

Enter the XTD Forged irons, which blend the traditional size, shape and feel of blade and “player’s cavity back” irons with the more technology-forward trend that has emerged in the last couple years of golf equipment development. Adams took the basic head shape and thickness of a blade, enlarged it somewhat and added the two recognizable technological features: tungsten weighting and what Adams calls a “Cut-Thru Slot.”

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The general idea of the Cut-Thru Slot is that that space just behind the clubface — be it for a driver, fairway wood, hybrid or iron — creates a “floating face,” which enlarges the sweet spot, even on a traditionally less-forgiving sort of club such as a forged iron. The feature also helps lower the center of gravity, which produces higher-launching shots that generally do not suffer from runaway spin numbers.

The aforementioned tungsten weights also sit on the sole of the XTD Forged irons and work together with the Cut-Thru Slot to optimize each iron’s center of gravity which, once again, helps produce desirable launch and ball speed.

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Adams XTD 4 iron pictured above

It should also be noted that the XTD Irons ($1099) come standard with the popular KBS C-Taper shafts and high-end Iomic grips. The irons are also available with Aldila’s RIP Tour 115-gram graphite shafts in R, S and X flexes for $1199.

For no upcharge, golfers can add Adams’ popular Dhy 3 or 4 hybrids, which can be substituted in the place of an XTD Forged 3 or 4 iron.

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See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums.

Performance

There is palpable synergy among all facets of the XTD Forged irons. As a result, they constitute a set ideally suited to a player who may have reservations about playing “true blades” but still wants as much of the two best features of blades as possible: clear feel on different qualities of contact and wide shotmaking potential. High draws, low fades and all shots in between can be coaxed out of these irons by the skilled player.

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Click the images above to enlarge

Shots produced by the irons pass the eye test handily: I noticed somewhat higher launch and good, stable ball flight when hitting shots with them both on the range and on the course. Even the long irons, when struck solidly, held firm greens. If I needed to hit a punch shot, the irons were equal to the task.

The good aesthetics of shots I hit with these irons was, happily, confirmed by the numbers they produced when I tested them on a launch monitor at Myrtle Beach’s PGA Tour Superstore location:

Ball speed / launch angle / spin rate / distance

8 iron: 111 mph / 19.4 deg / 7,055 rpm / 159 yds

5 iron: 126 mph / 12.2 deg / 4851 rpm / 200 yds

The Cut-Thru Slot and tungsten weighting in these irons were especially noticeable on shots with the longer irons. Slight misses on the heel and toe yielded little in the way of lost distance, as did shots where I made slightly thin contact.

adams xtd forged irons

Photo above is a raw XTD head showing the multi piece construction with floating face and tungsten inserts to lower the center of gravity. 

See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums

Looks and Feel

Many club manufacturers stay very traditional when it comes to forged cavity back and blade irons. But seeing as Adams put a bit more technology into XTD Forged series, they are decidedly more modern looking. This is not to say they are gaudy or ugly, but they will certainly never be confused with your dad’s old Hogan Apexes or Wilson Button Backs.

For starters, the clubhead has a somewhat matte finish, where most players’ irons — blades and cavity backs — tend to have chrome or satin finishes. The C-Taper shafts echo the look of the heads: matte steel rather than chrome or satin, which is modern and stylish without being ostentatious.

adams XTD forged iron review

The XTD Forged clubheads are a little larger than those of many other irons in its peer group, but not so much so that they look boxy. Their amount of offset is closer to that of forged cavity back irons than true blades. The topline is thicker than one would expect from a true blade, but again, certainly not more so than most forged cavity back irons.

adams XTD Forged iron

The top lines of the XTD Forged irons strikes a balance between thin and thick.

Feel-wise, there are no negative surprises with the XTD Forged irons. If you hit a shot solid, you will know it and you will love it. If not, well, that’s forged irons for you. Good players would not have it any other way; feedback in irons is important, after all. These irons will not unduly muffle contact on any part of the face. If you love the sensation and slightly higher-pitched “click” of contact with forged irons, you will enjoy the XTD Forged.

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The Takeaway

With the XTD Forged irons, Adams continues to establish itself as a major player in the irons category for lower handicappers. If you want to reap the agreed-upon benefits of forged irons — trim clubheads, easily discernible feel, shot workability — but are not ready to take the plunge into full-on blades, these irons deserve your serious consideration.

Adams XTD forged iron review

The XTD Forged irons come standard with one of the most popular steel shafts in golf, as well as high-end Iomic grips, which contribute to a higher price tag. However, the harmony of those big-ticket features produces a product that is worth a higher tariff for the ambitious golfer.

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See the discussion and gallery of the full Adams XTD line in the forums.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

25 COMMENTS

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  1. Had thse for about 2 weeks, all i can say is awesome. They are sneaky long and have pushed my PW from 125 to 136 ! In fact Ive struggled clubbing due to the extra distance …Wow… Pricey I know but with Tour C-Taper shafts as standard you cant go wrong. Adams are onto a winner here but they are hard to get in he UK, if they had more PR the better players would love these> Ive had them all, Ping, TM, Titleist and Vega but these are the best….Highly recommended

  2. I have been gaming these for approx.4 months and must saw that they really do live up to my expectations. They are a little forgiving but let you know when you get it wrong. That said they are accurate and consistent shot after shot and pretty easy to shape into pins. I can hit high and low, left and right with little difficulty. I do not understand why TM have BURIED this other than to focus on their own models – that must be it. Cant help but think that the new RSi’s have more in common with Adams than TM

  3. I bought a set and changed out the shafts with a higher trajectory XP95. I took these to Dicks today and had a go on the simulator. The farthest I could get the 5i straight was 220, 6i 193, 7i 189. I turned around and said to the employee, really how much do you plus up the numbers so you sell clubs? I’ve never hit irons this long. I’ll hit the course later this week. I can say this…the actual iron head is heavy. I mean heavier than any other forged iron I have. I got a decent deal on ebay for 700 bucks or so.

  4. TM messed up a good thing. Adams peaked with the CMBs, now they are in a oversize, offset, wasteland of players clubs. No one that buys in this market is looking for a clunker with more offset. Thanks industry for fixing something that wasn’t broke.

  5. I tested these last week. I really liked the feel. 6i avg. 164 carry w/4692 spin rate. 114 ball speed at 15.7 launch angle. Also tested Mizuno JPX 825 pro, Taylor TP, Ping I25, Ping Anser, and XTD CC. These were the most consistent for me. 10-12 handicap.

  6. I really wanted to love these considering the stock shafts/grips and the club is beautiful. Of the 2014 players offerings I hit these the shortest and the least consistent. I think the shaft is too much for me to handle, would love to try with the graphite offering but they did not have that option to test neat me.

    • I swing driver between 100-105 mph, and I found the regular flex ctaper was a better fit then stiff. I play titleist 710 CBs, and these felt better and went a few more yards I found. Loved em. I would sell my irons right now and buy these but I just bought aerotech shafts and my equipment budget is done for the year.

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