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Review: Adams XTD Forged Irons

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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.

adams golf irons 2014

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.56.40 PM

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.

adams xtd forgedadams xtd forged iron 2014adams xtd ironsadams xtd forged 2014

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.

Adams XTD forged iron reviewadams golf 2014 ironsadams golf forged irons 2014adams golf forged iron

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.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://adamsgolf.com/XTD-Forged-irons/DW-AL287.html” oemtext=”Learn more from Adams Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FXLF84E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FXLF84E&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=XWOVYECUFUPPBDZA”]

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

25 Comments

  1. Nathan

    Oct 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Well my 8 iron is 155m that is 170 yards for all you lady swingers.

  2. Pingback: Adams Golf Xtd Forged Iron Set - Seguin Valley Golf Club

  3. paul

    Nov 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    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

  4. John

    Nov 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    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

  5. Travis

    Sep 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    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.

    • brian

      Sep 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      I’ve been eyeing these for quite some time. Get back to us with the results once you have a chance to take them to the course. it would be much appreciated.

  6. Jase

    Aug 19, 2014 at 3:33 am

    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.

  7. ryan

    Apr 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    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.

  8. Kev

    Mar 26, 2014 at 3:32 am

    really 8 iron 159yds ! I’d be on tour if I hit irons that far

    • paul

      Mar 31, 2014 at 2:10 am

      160 for an 8 iron is not unusual. I have only a 100mph driver swing speed and My distance is 145-150 (not a strong loft on my 8i either). If someone swings at 110 they will be around 160 with an 8.

      • milo

        Jun 22, 2014 at 5:47 am

        If someone swings at 110 with an 8 iron then i would expect nearer to 200 yards! 110 would be the ball speed not swing speed.

      • Brian Delorme

        Jul 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm

        I’m around 96-98 MPH with an 8 iron. Hitting my 8 160 on a smooth swing. And to rip it 165 (but may suffer the hook on a full tilt rip) it’s all compression. I notice yardage difference even from ProV1 to ProV1X……

    • Brandon

      Apr 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

      My standard 8 iron at sea level is 163yds with misunderstood mp 57. Tour players don’t hit it that long.

  9. MT

    Mar 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    The obsession by TM to add a slot to everything ruined the feel of these heads.

    • Martin

      Mar 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

      I absolutely agree. I hate the feel of the Taylormade irons with the slots in the heads. They go farther, but the feel is horrible. I was afraid this would happen.

      • Dave

        Mar 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Glad I bought CMBs when I could.

        • Kev

          Mar 26, 2014 at 3:31 am

          Yep me too waited 2 years and got a brand new set at silly money, makes you woneder how they start off such a high price tag

    • Dan

      May 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      It was actually Adams technology from the getgo…Taylormade bought the company prior to a lawsuit over this slot technology. They said with their purchase that adams had to wait a year to put these irons out while Taylor put out the RBZ irons.

  10. Tom Duckworth

    Mar 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I wonder if these launch much like the Speedblades? Kind of reminds me of a CMB with a cut-thu slot. I hope TM lets Adams keep on being themselves.

  11. The dude

    Mar 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Are those distances off TM on carry?…..with your driver CHS…hitting an 8 iron 159 seems high

    • Chris

      Apr 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      I hit my 7 iron 150, and I’m 56 yrs old and a 25 handicap, so I don’t agree with all the doubters regarding the distance of that 8 iron.

  12. LorenRobertsFan

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Another 4.5? Guess everything is good!

    Wish they weren’t so expensive, even through PUD. Seen slightly used sets on the BST for <$600

  13. Evan

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    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.

    • paul

      Mar 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      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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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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