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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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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

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.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

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.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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