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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.

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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.

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

Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums: “Pull cart recommendations?”

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Today from the Forums we take a look at pull carts currently on the market. Bogeygolfer55 is looking for a quality pull cart for less than $300, and our members have been giving their recommendations in our forums – with Clicgear proving to be a popular option.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Yuck: “I have had a clicgear 3.5 for nearly four years now. Holding up well with well over 200 rounds on it so far.”
  • Hawkeye77: “I had a Clicgear and liked it a lot, but my daughter “appropriated” it. Came upon an article a year ago about the Blade IP. Ordered one. It folds flat instead of into a cube which I like, and when I take it out it is quicker to get ready to go, and easier to take down. That doesn’t mean the Clicgear was particularly difficult, but it was more involved and 4 pounds heavier – don’t mind pushing a lot less weight.”
  • Celebros: “Another vote for Clicgear. The 4.0 just came out, so you may be able to find some of the 3.5+ models discounted soon.”
  • I_HATE_SNOW: “Sun Mountain user. Tall thin tires roll through the grass the easiest. Ours are old enough that the tires inflated. Once slimed, they stay up all winter. Mesh baskets on the cart are nice for carrying headcovers, water bottles, dog leash, etc.”
  • birddog903: “I’ve had a caddytek lite three-wheel version for a year or so. No complaints and I paid less than $100.”

Entire Thread: “Pull cart recommendations?”

 

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