by goldenhawk

Adams Idea Black CB3 Irons, 4 to GW, KBS Tour 90 R Shafts

About the reviewer:
I am 41 years old, playing to a 15~16 HC. I get to play once or twice a month. But since there is a driving range and 9-hole course down the street from work, I get to hit a bucket or two during lunch twice or more a week and get out every now and then. Thanks for GolfWRX and Adams Golf for this testing opportunity.

Product Information from Adams Golf:
The Idea Black CB3 Irons are engineered to provide the playability most players need with the look and feel they desire. This set of game-improvement irons features heel/toe perimeter weighting and a lower CG to provide more forgiveness while being forged from 8620 carbon steel to provide an excellent feel.

  • Forged 8620 carbon steel – triple milled (cavity, face and grooves).
  • Larger, deeper cavity with a multi-layer badge that provides for a thinner face, lower cg, perimeter weighting, added forgiveness and better feel.
  • Black Ni/Cr PVD finish with a glass beaded face to produce an exceptional look at address.
  • Engineered with progressive sole widths that allow for easier to hit long irons and deadly accurate scoring clubs.
  • Scoring clubs designed with improved bounce and camber to reduce turf interaction for more workability and control.

Easy to hit. Long distance. Nice gapping between each iron. KBS Tour 90 Steel shafts are stock offering. Beautiful PVD finish and great looking design.

While I don’t personally have a problem with them, the stock KBS Tour 90 does make the CB3 irons hit the ball high. Gap wedge has 49* loft. You will need to adjust wedges to adapt. Heads of the 4 and 5 iron sometimes get snagged during the backswing out of the rough.

The Bottom Line:
Irons that are a complete package combination of great looks, forged feel, forgiveness and distance. The stock KBS Tour 90 Shaft is not for everyone, so get fitted and you will enjoy this set.

Thanks to GolfWRX and Adams for allowing me to test and review the CB3 irons. Well after playing two 18-hole rounds, four 9-hole rounds and a lot of range sessions, I must say that Adams got a whole lot of things right with the CB3 Irons. I never tried or played the CB1 or CB2 Irons, so I can’t comment on how the CB3 Irons play compared to its predecessors. From what I read on the boards, the CB2 and CB2 Irons were not exactly the easiest things to hit. If this is true, then the CB3s will be a complete change.

Personally, the pictures speak for themselves. The CB3 Irons are beautiful. The PVD finish is nice. The areas on the face where the scoring lines are have a rougher texture. The cavity has a nice color scheme with that nice silver medallion. Workmanship in finishing and assembling the iron is top notch. The Adams Tour Grips have the Lamkin Crossline Black pattern.

The CB3 is a progressive iron set where the depth of the cavity changes. The offset from 4 iron down to the GW also changes. The sole is constant width, but the bounce changes in the PW and GW. The bottom flange can be seen in the 4 and 5 irons at address. Sizes of the heads seem in line with other Game Improvement Irons. The PVD Black finish makes them look smaller at address.

Simply put, the CB3 Irons are long and forgiving. They are as long as the Callaway Diablo Forged that I have played forever. But since the CB3 iron heads are forged, one-piece construction, they are consistent in distance. I don’t get that 170-yard-with-an-8-iron flyer that I occasionally get with the Diablo Forged. (Or at least, not yet). I don’t have a problem with the high ball flight that the irons and KBS Tour 90 shafts produce since I am a low spin hitter and need that height and spin to maximize distance. Weight-wise, the CB3 Irons feel fine. I can get enough pop out of them to punch balls out of the rough. I did find that a slow and low takeaway with the 4 and 5 irons out of the rough will snag grass. The short irons glide through the grass with ease. There is minimal distance loss on shots that are slightly off the center face. Some moderate distance loss on wildly struck shots, and mostly on shots stuck outside the rough-textured scoring face.

The CB3 Irons work well with full and partial shots. Accuracy is good with the long irons and great with the short irons. Dispersion of shots tended to be similar to the Diablo Forged irons. Overall, the CB3s are a very versatile iron set too. With full sized shots, the sole is big enough to help the club glide through the turf and grass. But not too big to be versatile to hit a cut/fade, or draw every now and then. I can chip with the 8, 9 (my usual favorite), PW and GW reasonably well, with good distance control.

The GW is 49*. I am currently gaming this set, but found that I had to change my wedges to 54* and 60* accordingly. To give a good idea of the size of the CB3 irons heads, the GW is really similar in size to the Titleist SM4 wedges.

After several rounds and range sessions, I found that the PVD black finish is holding up well. There are some brush marks on the sole and ball imprints in the face. I think Adams may have been able to prolong the life of the PVD finish by providing a rougher surface in the striking area of the clubface.

The Lamkin Crossline Black is my grip of choice. I use Callaway’s version in my RAZR Fit driver. I have them on my SM4 wedges. So having the Adams version of the Crossline Black already installed on the CB3 set is an added bonus to me (no need to re-grip).

It’s a forged set. That sweet feel of a shot off the sweet spot is there. I can tell when I miss the sweet spot. That teeth-chattering feel of the thinly stuck shot is there too.

Bottom Line:
The CB3 Irons are a Game Improvement Iron Set that will deliver great performance in one great looking package. They will produce shots of good/great distance while keeping control. I found the CB3 Irons to be more forgiving than they looked. I must say that I found my iron set to play for 2012.


The Photos:

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Rob is a golf junkie that has been involved with GolfWRX since its inception in 2005. From designing headcovers, to creating logos to authoring articles to social media management to sales and marketing, Rob has done it all. Born and bred in NJ. Favorite golfers: Phil, Freddie. Favorite club: Driver.


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  1. Made the mistake of buying these because they were like 50% off and I wanted some GI type help for my ball striking. No matter what I did I could not get used to them, they felt bottom heavy with an awkward weight dispersion. It’s the KBS shafts…I hate them and I hate that so many companies are making them their stock shaft. I’d have love to been able to give these irons a fair chance with some Dynamic Gold shafts and considered reshafting, but for the little I paid and the fact that I was able to sell them for about a 90% of that, I just moved on to something else.

  2. Be very careful with Adams irons (esp with KBS shafts),they have very poor “quality control”,i ordered CB2 with Stiff shafts and got Senior Mens shafts,the company has been weak at dealing with the issue!!.It seems no process in place,they seem to have forgotten we pay for Ernies clubs!!.

  3. Thinking about getting these, is it a good choice for a 17 handicap? I currently use R9 irons and want more feedback and workability. I sometimes practice with the TaylorMade MB 6 iron to hone my ball striking and I hit it about 180yds and consistently center of just off, with the occasional toe hit.

    • I have bought a set of these Adams CB3 with KBS shafts.
      I have to say they are very impressive.
      It took a while to get used to coming from Mizuno
      I am definitely a club longer now but the Adams do have slightly stronger lofts and they seemed to have squeezed a Gap Wedge in there too.
      The dispersion is not quite as good but not terrible by amy means.
      The only thing to be careful of is swing speed, if you try and smash the ball with the long irons the ball will go sideways. Keep your tempo and swing speed smooth and these irons will do the rest.

      • Pablo, it seem you had a bad experience which is probably the fault of the store you bought your irons from. Adams is synonymous with quality, and clubs made for real everyday golfers. No matter how many times you post here to air your one-time grievance with whoever shipped your clubs, it’s not going to sway those who are loyal to the brand for good reason…

        • I agree KBS are the best shafts on the market and that is why they are becoming the stock shaft in so many product lines. Dynamic gold I have always felt to be all over the map with consistency, this coming from an ex golf pro ;)