Pros: A scorching hot face for boring, penetrating shots off the tee. They’re very workable, and have a sole shape that glides through rough nicely.
Cons: Hoisting a high, soft shot can be a challenge. Also, the price tag of $200 is on the high side for a hybrid.
Bottom Line: For lower-handicap players who want a hybrid that can be used off the tee, from the fairway or the rough, this one provides great distance and shot-shaping potential. It’s pretty, too.
If you surveyed the thousand or so best professional golfers in the world — in America, in Europe and Asia for men and women — you would find that Adams has incredible market share in hybrids. And you wouldn’t be surprised, either, because it has been this way for years.
Part of Adams’ success in the hybrids category is that its designers have released variations on the hybrid model that appeal to a wide range of tastes while still maintaining the same core, successful characteristics.
Such is the case, yet again, with Adams’ 2014 selection of hybrids. There are five — three with the “Pro” name and the Idea and the XTD Ti. The three Pro hybrids are the Pro, which is covered in the review, as well as the Pro Mini and the Pro DHy. The Pro is the closest of the three clubs to a fairway wood in terms of construction and performance, while the other two creep closer to the “driving iron” subset of hybrid, which is very popular in its own right.
Above: The Adams Pro Dhy (left), Pro Mini (center) and Pro (right) hybrids at address.
The Pro hybrid both echoes and confirms the innovative “upside-down” design of Adams’ original Tight Lies fairway woods in the 1990s. The fact that many of Adams’ fairway wood and hybrid models since then have adopted that general shape is a testament to its effectiveness. In essence, the club uses a longer, flatter sole and a shallow face to make it easier to launch and shape the flight of the golf ball. The Pro hybrid also uses both Adams Velocity Slot and Cut-Thru technologies, which are meant to channel more energy to the ball and optimize launch, spin and ball speed, even on off-center hits.
Adams’ Pro Hybrids ($200) come stock with Aldila’s Tour Red hybrid shafts and are available in lofts of 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees.
More than any type of club except wedges, hybrids need to be versatile. They need to be useful off the tee, off the fairway and, usually, from the rough. Also, they should be capable of helping a player hit a low draw and a high fade at will, either to escape trouble or access the green on a reachable par 5 or long par 3 or 4. I have had time to employ it from a wide range of ground conditions on a variety of holes and found it more than equal to nearly every task.
Happily, the Pro hybrid excels in all three regards, but if it has a particular strength, it is as a driving club. It is scary-long, with a similarly springy face to the XTD driver. A couple low draws I hit off the tee bounded along a fairway that was not terribly firm and rolled out to 250 or 260 yards. This from a 20-degree club that I hit much closer to 215 to 225 yards off the deck or with a fade, which is my natural shot shape. The only modest difficulty I have had so far is with hitting high fades that land baby’s-bottom-softly on the green, but I am confident that more familiarity with the club will change that over time.
I did some testing of the Pro hybrid at Myrtle Beach’s PGA Tour Superstore:
Ball speed / launch angle / spin rate / distance
136 mph / 9.9 deg / 3611 / 225 yds
These numbers support my observation that the Pro hybrid launches the ball a bit on the low side with lower spin, which makes it a particularly formidable off-the-tee choice.
Looks and Feel
I have always been picky about the at-address aesthetics of golf clubs, especially hybrids. I feared that the Velocity Slot feature in the Pro hybrid would be a distraction and make it difficult for me to align the club at address, but was glad to find the opposite to be the case. Lining up the slot perpendicular to the target is a new sensation of which I approve. I also like that the entire body of the club from the hosel down is black. Some hybrids exhibit different shaded metals or odd filigree on the crown or near the hosel and it annoys me. There is none of that with this club.
Feel-wise, it is very easy to know when you have caught one on the screws and when you’ve caught one off-center. The great advantage of the Pro hybrid over many others, though, is that even on less-solid hits, you will observe a relatively small loss of distance. When you do hit one flush, though, especially off the tee, there is no doubt that when you look up you will see your ball fleeing the clubface at breakneck speed on a pleasant trajectory. It is easy to see why the engineers in Adams’ employ have thought it worthwhile to risk some people’s opinions of the odd aesthetics of their fairway woods and hybrids: the Velocity Slot and Cut-Thru features have a tangible, positive impact on the flight of the golf ball.
I had shied away from hybrids for the better part of a decade, often preferring fairway woods to the point where I have carried a 7-wood in the past. I still like fairway woods a great deal (I deliver the club pretty shallowly to the ball with long irons and woods), but the Adams Pro hybrid has made me question my historical bias. I look forward to becoming better acquainted with it and hitting some excellent shots with it: off the tee, from the fairway, from the rough and anywhere else it may be useful. I recommend it very highly if you are in the market for a new hybrid.