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> GolfWRX Audio Chat Transcripts and Audio Download - Adams Golf April 2007

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 10:13 AM

GolfWRX is proud to present an interview with Adams Golf.  Today we are pleased to have Tim Reed, Vice President of Research and Design and Michael Guerrette Senior Engineer and Tour Specialist.

Audio Download:

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part I

0:13 – GolfWRX:  Hi guys, how are you doing today?

0:16 – Tim Reed:  Good morning, how are you?

0:17 – GolfWRX:  I’m doing awesome, thanks for asking.  Guys I want to put both of you on the hot-seat to start, I want to get your individual backgrounds with Adams and your histories in golf in general.  Tim, why don’t we start with you?

0:33 – Tim Reed:  Well, I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve been in the golf industry for 21 years, right out of school a mechanical engineer at Penn State.  I played on the golf team.  My whole entire life I’ve been around golf, various different jobs and such.  I took a role with Tommy Armour Golf.  I spent the majority of my career there.  I had the opportunity to work with Odyssey and head up the R&D group there for a short period of time before we transitioned that to Callaway.  Moved back to Chicago and ended up here at Adams in 2000.  My whole career is really about golf club designing and getting knowledge about all categories, whether it’s irons, putter.  One of the reasons I joined Adams was to really find out what happens with a fairway wood and driver to round out my career.  Since at Adams, we’ve invested quite a bit into the R&D side.  When I started we had four in the group.  Now today we have budgeted thirty who do everything from industrial design to the pure scientific approach.  Mike Guerrette who’s joining me today, who specializes in the better player and also the Tour, was fundamental to why we’re successful there.  With that, I’ll have Mike talk a little bit about his background.

2:14 – Michael Guerrette:  Thanks Tim.  Before I talk about myself a little bit, if I may and this is not just because Tim’s my boss, coming here and working with Tim, you guys out there in the market section – Tim has got twenty plus years in the industry and coming to work for a guy like that who is really one of the pioneers in integrating engineering and golf club design, coming to work here has just been a fantastic opportunity to learn from Tim.  The likes of Tim in the industry are far, few in between and that’s really a big part of our success here at Adams.  A little bit about myself – I graduated from Arizona State in aeronautical engineering.  I worked in the helicopter business for the better part of ten years.  Golf has always been a passion, playing on the Air Force team.  I tried to walk on at ASU, but guys like Billy Mayfair edged me out so I never really got to play there.  I got a chance about seven years ago to go design golf clubs and that was at TaylorMade.  I took the opportunity and it was a major change in my life, but it was a godsend in that I got to combine passion and work.  For five years I got to develop the product for the Tour out there, that was my mission.  I worked with some really talented people at TaylorMade and learned a lot from those guys.  Then I had the opportunity two years ago to work with Tim and the guys and it’s just been a whirlwind combining what we learn out on Tour and integrating that into the market, that’s been fun and it’s what’s brought me in the last few years.  

4:00 – GolfWRX:  Interesting bios guys, thanks for sharing.  Okay, let’s get right to it.  In the past three years, Adams seems to have taken a dramatic shift away from it’s traditional image as a senior’s and high handicap’s brand towards more of a player’s market.  Why the change in target audience, or was this just an addition to what you currently have?

4:25 – Tim Reed:  Our approach at Adams has always been a segmented approach to develop world class products.  We haven’t gone away from the game-improvement or super game-improvement category.  Those are always profitable for us and we have a tremendous amount of expertise in this area.  Something Barney has put in the R&D since the early days is “Make it airborne and forward.”  Make it really super-easy to hit, so we’re not leaving that particular category.  We have made the decision to expand that and to create easy to hit products and forgiving products for all player types and so far that success has been documented.  We’ll continue to develop products into this category even for the lower handicappers.

5:15 – GolfWRX:  Going hand in hand with the previous question, Adams has also greatly increased its Tour staff.  Who are your current staffers and why were they chosen to represent the Adams brand?

5:29 – Michael Guerrette:  We have a strong presence on the Champions Tour and we’ll continue to try and dominate that.  We’ve got a bunch of guys, Tom Watson, Dana Quigley, Scott Hoch, Jerry Pate, a bunch of guys just signed on, we just signed Bernard Langer.  We’re combining our successes on the Champions Tour and moving that into the Nationwide and PGA Tour.  We want to continue to leverage that success and continue broadening the brand presence out there.  We’ve added on guys like Bubba Dickerson, Stephen Wheatcroft, Michael Boyd, some young guns that are coming out of the Nationwide that are making their play onto the regular tour.  We’ve got a lot players playing our product out there.  We’ve got Scott Sterling who won once playing our product in Australia.  We want to continue leveraging that on our Tours.  One of the biggest changes we’ve had on our Tour strategy was going to the LPGA which really wasn’t our plan a couple of years ago.  Having acquired the Ladies Golf Company gave us direction there and it was amazing what we’ve done there in just a few months signing Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lange, and Heather Young.  Brittany Lincicome winning a couple of weeks ago was just phenomenal for us and our presence out there on the LPGA has been fantastic.  Players have been knocking on our door trying to get our product.  It’s really advocating the success of our design engineer and the product so it’s really helping us out a lot.  

7:15 – GolfWRX:  Our website was very excited to see pictures of the A3 thank you very much for the sneak preview.  Other than the square hybrids which we’ll get to in a second, what technological aspects of the traditional irons set the A3 apart from other Adams clubs?

7:33 – Tim Reed:  Let me start here and I’ll have Mike follow up.  The design intent of the A3 is what I call, “the most difficult segment to design for,” that game-improvement player.  Over the years the Ping Eye 2, the Tommy Armour 845, Callaway X-18 and X-20 have captured this market and has shown dominance in this particular class.  In my opinion, these particular designs offer everything the player needs, or game-improvement type attributes but with better player lines.  So that average player and better player, how do you put those two together so you can capture the fancy of that entire segment of players that want to play better or they’re great players, but they understand they need a little bit more technology or game improvement features.  With this, it seemed to be a perfect fit.  The A3 is loaded with technology in the Boxer, what I would call world class performance, but with the mid and short-irons designed with the expected features of all player types.  

8:51 – GolfWRX:  Will traditional irons be available to replace the hybrids in the A3?  

8:56 – Tim Reed:  It’s the same thing we looked at in the Idea Pro, although we only developed a 4 and a 5 club that would replace the hybrid.  We haven’t started shipping this yet, but when we do, I would expect that the consumer’s going to – either through demo days or through fitting – they’re going to find that the hybrids perform so much better, why would they go backwards in technology.  We’re going to continue to preach, “Get the best club that gets the best performance.”  I don’t see us, although we bought a few, you’d be shocked to hear how many we buy.  Less than 20 or 30 heads total, and I wouldn’t expect us to sell through those.  

9:48 – Michael Guerrette:  Relative to the A3 from a Tour perspective, when we started designing these, like Tim said you have the 360 irons and the relative game-improvement irons and they’re being played on Tour.  The 845 were great selling irons for game-improvement product, but they were played on Tour.  The great thing about this A3 design is we wanted to design it for the game-improvement market, but we also wanted to design attributes to it so that it could be played on Tour.  I would bet that you’re going to see a few sets of these on Senior Tour and even on the PGA Tour because they’re that good a quality and that broad a spectrum relative to the center of gravity, the sole profile.  Like Tim mentioned, it’s a beautiful looking club, so good players will look at it and say, “This looks good,” and give them the game-improvement aspects they need.  So I think it’s going to be a homerun with this set.  

10:49 – GolfWRX:  I know you guys are having great success with the Hybrids out on Tour.  I would imagine that with the success you’ve got, a lot of visibility on the Tour and you’ve got a good avenue to go in and talk to players as well.

11:17 – Michael Guerrette:  The success we’re having on the Tours here is new for Adams and people are looking at us in a different light.  We’re going to continue growing our staff, we’re going to continue growing our product presence out there, getting as many players into our product and the product will speak for itself there.  From an international standpoint, as the company grows and as the presence of the branding grows, so will that opportunity grow internationally.  That’s really all I can say at this point on that, but good things to come in that area from there.  

11:57 – GolfWRX:  Where does the design process being for Adams golf clubs?  Do you start with a specific handicap range or swing type?  Where do you go from there?

12:09 – Tim Reed:  Again, the mission at Adams is always to create world-class products and we’ve been successful with our segmented market approach.  When we begin a new project, each project starts out with an intended market player type which can be defined by swing speed or by handicap.  Over the eyars we have collected a tremendous amount of data based on launch conditions and swing techniques of a tremendous amount of players.  With that critical data, we’re able to establish our mass property goals.  With that we go ahead and design the chassis around those particular specifications.  The next step is we’re now going to push the envelope.  Meaning that we’re going to push the mass properties into new areas whether it’s moment of inertia Y for forgiveness, moment of inertia X for amount of spin that a golf ball would see.  We try to improve upon the product we’re replacing but also we want to make sure we’re going to leap-frog the technology so that we’re best in class in the targeted player segment.  That’s the only goal our CEO Chip Brewer gives us when it comes to a new, defined product.  Make sure that we are the best in class when it comes to measurable metrics out there and with that at the end of the day those products will win and gain the lion’s share of the market share based on true performance.  

13:47 – GolfWRX:  How big of a role does machine testing like Iron Byron play versus player testing?  Is one more important than the other?  

13:57 – Tim Reed:  We look for answers from both.  The machine gives us early indications of launch conditions and how they compare to the intended competitors.  Player testing is ultimately the final decision maker.  The machine doesn’t necessarily swing like the average consumer and it doesn’t, more importantly give you any type of reaction to the shot.  We are trained and our testers are trained to study the ball flight.  We use the latest technology, the Trackman which the majors use, we take that data and we can compare it to the machine testing.  But we also want to capture and study the consumer’s initial reaction to the product.  We want that “Wow factor” if possible.  We also want to make sure we are not producing a dog.  The players will uncover and flaws the machine will not show.  Again, the machine is hit off a perfect lie, it’s got the perfect swing plane, and such; but the player is going to make contact with the Earth and is going to affect the golf club through the hitting zone.  We want to see, make sure and confirm that we’ve done our homework and the product performs and also it sounds great.  To make a long story short, the ultimate decision maker is the feedback from the consumer – that’s what tells us if it’s ready to go or not.  The same is going to be true if Mike is working with the Tour players.  He’s going to study the ball flight and the launch conditions but that’s only a small part of the decision.  Ultimately if it comes back with the “Wow factor” we know it’s going to be a home run.  That was the reaction we got when we did the original Idea set.  We knew right away that these hybrids worked.  Same thing with the Idea Pro, we had the “Wow factor,” the original Tight Lies, same thing happened.  Long story short, player testing is the ultimate driving factor, but the machine testing gives us really quick answers on the spin numbers we’re looking at.  

16:09 – GolfWRX:  How much input does the Tour Staff have on the development and design of your products?

16:15 – Michael Guerrette:  Quite a bit.  The old coined adage of, “Necessity is the mother of invention” – there are needs out on Tour that there are on the market.  Product needs from the Tour, a player will come back and say, “Hey, I need a product that does this,” or, “I need a product that does that.”  We see competitor products that are doing things players like or dislike.  That becomes our bed to start development if you will.  We work very closely with our Staff players on things like shaping and mass properties, and all those things to make sure the product is correct for what they need.  

16:50 – GolfWRX:  You guys are well known on the golf boards for large numbers of great looking great looking prototypes that have never seen retail.  Do Tour players ever get confused by the number and options of clubs, or is it good to have all those options so they can tweak the right head for the right launch angle, what is the purpose of so many different options?

17:25 – Michael Guerrette:  That’s a good question.  Prototypes are basically where designers or engineers get a chance to experiment.  You have to experiment to figure out what direction you’re going to go in product.  It’s a two way street there.  Like on the market, there are different players that have different needs and the Tour is no different.  You’ve got a lot of different swing types out there and you’ve got guys that need spin and guys that don’t need spin, guys that have right bias, guys that have left bias.  You can’t develop one product and say, “Here you go.”  We’ve got to continue to develop products and tweak them for guys out there.  How does that translate itself into the market?  We look at the best performers and the market needs and we translate that into what will work for the market.  

18:19 – GolfWRX:  The A-Tour irons quickly became a favorite of many players on the golf boards and are still getting quite a bit of play on Tour.  Can you discuss a little bit about their development since they were such a major departure from previous Adams clubs?

18:33 – Michael Guerrette: It started a couple of years ago.  That was actually my first project a couple of years ago, Tim came into my office and said, “Tom Watson needs a set of irons, here you go.”  So I worked with Mr. Watson and that was really the need for it.  Tom Watson needed a set of irons, so we designed them and worked closely with Tom to get them there.  That’s what we got.  That was the genesis of the A-Tours and why they came about and where they are today.

19:16 – GolfWRX:  What is the difference between the Red and Black hosel A-Tours?  Some say the red has more offset, others say they are the same with different paintfill, some say one’s a squarer boxier head?  Can you explain the differences for us?

19:31 – Michael Guerrette:  Yes.  They are exactly the same shape and they are different in offset.  The Red version, believe it or not, Tom Watson likes a set of irons that are .150 offset from the 3-iron down to the pitching wedge, which was surprising to me.  The traditional offset usually starts a .180 in your 3-iron and go down to about .080 in your pitching wedge.  When we developed those for Mr. Watson, we thought they were beautiful irons, but not everyone’s going to want .150 offset.  So we decided to create another set which is the black ones that have more of a traditional offset from the 3-iron to the pitching wedge.  That’s basically the difference between those two.  

20:10 – GolfWRX:  Since many players thought you had already created the perfect set of irons, why were the A-Tours changed into the Pro Forged when it came to market?  Any chance we will see the cast A-Tours coming to market any time soon?

20:26 – Michael Guerrette:  As we stated a while ago, Adams went on a departure from being your grandfather’s set of clubs to now where we’re completely different development and different market.  For us to have brought the A-Tours out at that time would have been, probably not very fruitful for us because people would have said, “Well, they’re beautiful, but Adams?  What’s this?”  So when we looked at launching ourselves into the “Player category” if you will, we thought the A-Tours would have been a little too risky so we decided to make them – I wouldn’t say game-improvement but a little more forgiving from a blade length and sole performance and all that and be more across the board from a better player’s club but at the same time capture more players with it.  The A-Tours would have been very isolated, very few players would have got them.  You have to look at it from a business standpoint, you can’t just build a set of clubs, throw those out there, expect to sell a thousand clubs and be happy with that.  You have to try and get some sales in there.  The Idea Pro, with that in mind, we looked at making it forged, and it was a better club across the board for better players.  Allan Doyle won the U.S. Senior Open with them right off the bat, so that proves to us they’re Tour quality.  Brittany Lincicome won with them a couple of weeks ago, so they’re Tour player quality, but we’ve had guys with 8, 9, 10 handicaps come in try them, and they’ve loved them as well.  So it’s a club that fit what we needed to do as far as a broader spectrum of players.

22:07 – GolfWRX:  Smart marketing move on your part.  

Part II

0:14 – GolfWRX:  Since the retail Idea Pro Forged irons were aimed at lower handicap players, why the decision to include hybrid replacements for 3 and 4-irons?  Was there a fair amount of demand among consumers for traditional 3 and 4 irons?  

0:32 – Tim Reed:  Well, it’s interesting, during the development when we set out, our intent was to have the longest club in the bag, whether it was the 2 or the 3-iron, just be the hybrid and the rest of the set would be just good performing forged slight cavity back irons.  The market told us more hybrids was better and also physics won out.  Like Mike stated about the Tour, we saw this happen on the Champions Tour where guys were not only replacing their 1 and 2-iron, guys were going all the way down to their 5-iron, or even their 6-iron.  It’s interesting, I’ve seen this before with Ping Eye 2 irons for example, they were designed for super game-improvement style players, but in the late ‘80’s, you would see what I would call “traditional Tour players” that had these 1 and 2-irons in the bag.  Some would cover them up with towels because they were kind of embarrassed but I would go all the way back to that time and tell you that was probably one of the first hybrid sets because they saw the benefits of that design – it was easier to hit, it had more moment of inertia, more forgiveness and such.  With that information, we made the ultimate decision – put as many hybrids in there that would make sense.  The 3 and 4-hybrids were a no brainer, we debated a 5 and when we get into the A3 discussion, that’s why we have a 5-hybrid in that set.  We went ahead and made the 3 and 4-irons for custom options.  I can tell you right now that out of all the sets that have sold, I believe we’ve only had two requests for long irons.  I believe the consumer is embracing the fact that it is a better product.  I can always go back to one thing as an engineer, ultimately if it has better performance through physics, it’s going to win in the market.  The evolution of the iron set going from forged to cavity back, cavity back to oversized, to integrated sets, the reason that’s occurring is because they’re better product.  We didn’t want to short ourselves – we knew that if it was going to be a better product in a better integrated set, we’re going to offer the most hybrids in there.  That’s kind of how the decision came out and again right before launch we saw more and more players switch to it on the Champions Tour and it was overwhelming that there’s going to be a day, potentially, when you’ll see the best players in the world carry up to a 5-hybrid on Tour.  It’s happening today, it’s even happening on the PGA Tour.  

3:23 – GolfWRX:  Kind of like when the game-improvement clubs came on the scene versus the forged, it looks like it’s the same thing happening here.  

3:34 – Tim Reed:  It’s interesting because back then the best player sin the world grew up playing forged or traditional flat-backed designs, they moved into certain game-improvement golf clubs – they’re now playing the Champions Tour.  These young guns out there, some of them never hit a persimmon wood, they didn’t hit forged golf clubs, they played Ping’s out of school.  That’s the bear minimum normal golf club design for them.  A club with offset is standard and giving them a hybrid is not that difficult and it makes sense technically.  

4:14 – GolfWRX:  I’ve got to feel sorry for them if they’ve never hit persimmon or a forged blade, they don’t know what they’re missing.  (laughing) I grew up in the ‘70’s and that’s my background, but I wouldn’t trade the game-improvement stuff these days.  I just love that answer, it’s just fascinating – you guys may start the next revolution like the cast clubs came in – now you guys are coming with the hybrids all they way down to a 5.  That’s just so fascinating.  There’s so many steel shafts on the market, why was the Black Gold chosen as the standard shaft offering for the Idea Pro Forged iron?  Are they soft stepped from the factory?

4:58 – Michael Guerrette – First part of that, why did we choose the Black Gold – it’s a two fold effort.  There’s always the marketing aspect of a club, there’s a hot shaft out there and everybody wants to hold onto it.  We do that to a certain extent, we have to make sure that shaft will work well with our product.  We did some testing with the Black Gold and we got some really good results with it in the Idea Pro.  In our testing we realized that in our player testing that the shaft profile when we did an EI curve, when we measured the shaft that they weren’t quite matching up 100% with what the players demanded out there.  By softstepping it, it gave us a better profile of shaft to put in that product with what the market demanded.  That’s why we chose that shaft and chose to softstep it, it just gave us a better configuration with our irons together as a set.  

6:02 – GolfWRX:  Guys, will the forged iron construction be extended to game-improvement lines in the future?

6:09 – Tim Reed:  Well, to answer this question, it’s pretty simple.  We’ll consider a forged iron product in that category if it does not affect the mass properties performance.  One of the factors of processing forged clubs is that you don’t have the ability to make deeper cavities and thicker sections to thin sections.  It’s very challenging in traditional forging techniques.  The other side of it is the cost.  We would rather put all of the costs in the technology into the right shafts and into the hybrids because that’s ultimately where the consumer needs the most help and design the best short irons possible.  We have looked at it, because there’s added value there, but we can’t justify the cost to the consumer.  We’re not sure they’re willing to pony-up for the added expense, especially when it’s only going to potentially be from the 6 or 7-iron down.  

7:08 – GolfWRX:  Yeah, that makes sense.  They hybrids have played a big role in the success of Adam’s Golf.  What makes the current Idea Pro Hybrid so successful among low and high-handicappers alike?  

7:22 – Michael Guerrette:  We’re always developing prototypes as we said earlier, so we’ve always got prototypes out there.  The Idea Pro was the result of looking at our prototypes and how they did on Tour and what they were lacking.  I don’t want to get into the details, because I know there are competitors out there that are potentially going to read this, if I gave our secret, it might potentially tip our hand.  But we looked at things in the mass properties – when I say mass properties we’re looking at ground interaction with the sole, where the center of gravity is relative to the face and the hosel, where all that fits.  We found some things we were doing and our competitors were doing that were kind of going in the wrong direction.  After looking at that data and having three or four engineers sit around and look at it and say, “Wow, we’ve got nirvana over here.”  That’s really what went into the Idea Pro.  It’s pretty cool because we’re seeing it work.  Sometimes when you come up with something like that it can fail, but at this point we actually got it right, so that was fun.

8:36 – GolfWRX:  Well, you know what’s amazing about this club is that I hear from both low and high-handicappers just how incredible the club is.  That’s extremely unusual.  Normally I hear from one segment and the other segment doesn’t like the club.  For both segments to rant and rave about it, you’ve got something special here.

8:59 – Michael Guerrette:  Thanks.  

9:00 – Tim Reed:  I think that not only does it fit the eye of a better player, but it still has exceptional forgiveness number, MOI number.  To put it in perspective, it’s 2500-2600, what that all means for a hybrid is it’s probably about 30% higher than just a game-improvement iron but over the market it’s probably in the neighborhood of 15-18% higher than the other competitors on the Tour.  I’ve done some analysis of the evolution of the iron set, and this falls right into why we think the hybrid plays well – over time the iron set that did best in the market, when you analyze it and look at the data, that club typically had the lowest center of gravity and had the highest MOI regardless of the class.  For example, if you look at old forged irons, there’s a bunch of forged irons, the clubs that did well, the MP-11, the MP-14, the Hogan, FG-17’s.  All of those golf clubs at that point in time had the most forgiveness and the lowest center of gravity; if you look at the middle of the market, Ping Eye 2’s, 845’s, same thing again, the highest MOI, lowest center of gravity.  Look at it on Tour, the hybrids that have the best mass properties win.  It’s a little bit more complicated than those two metrics because we’ve got to worry about face progression, what we call offset, but at the end of the day we think we can explain technically why it’s winning, but when we look at what we’re doing with various other models, we can affect ball flight with what we know now.  That’s what’s happening and when you see other prototypes coming out on Tour, they’re designed for different parameters.  It’s an exact science now for us.  

11:01 – GolfWRX:  What are the all grey hybrids we’ve seen pictures of at various Tour events?  Are they different from the current Idea Hybrids in any way?

11:12 – Michael Guerrette:  Like we said a while ago, there are different needs for different players.  As good as the Idea Pro is, there are certain players that didn’t quite migrate to it.  The Darrell Survey is a big part of why we’re out there, and every club counts, so there were players that weren’t necessarily going into it that needed special needs.  What we did is make an Idea Pro version with different characteristics – a little more spin, a little bit more sole radius that would give it a little bit more performance out of the rough.  We call it a Peanut, that’s what that club gave us out there and got into a few more bags the Idea Pro wouldn’t have gotten into.  As far as that being on the market, we’ll look at it and see if there’s an attraction out there, it may translate itself into the consumer market, we’ll see.  

12:07 – GolfWRX:  Is the Aldila VS Proto in the Idea Hybrids the same as the aftermarket version?

12:16 – Tim Reed:  Yeah, Aldila offers both a 95 and an 80 gram version, we elected the 80 gram version for the obvious reasons, it’s lighter.  95 Gram is the predominant one in play on Tour, there are some 80 gram versions I know on the women’s LPGA along with the Champions Tour.  Long story short, it is the same as the aftermarket version.  

12:37 – GolfWRX:  What advantages do the Boxer Hybrids have over the Idea Pro?  Will some form of the Boxer hybrids replace the Idea Pro?

12:50 – Tim Reed:  I’ll start with this.  The Boxer Hybrids on the A3 were designed with the first goal in mind – higher MOI because it’s going to be a slightly different player segment, slightly slower club head speed than a Tour player, but it’s that meat of the market and it was designed with slightly more spin which helps that slightly slower club head speed.  As far as what we’re doing on Tour, that technology could go across the line – it’s a platform.  I know Mike has been working on versions for the Tour mainly to produce a club with more forgiveness but strategically trying to maintain certain mass properties that made the Idea Pro so successful.  If we can make a product that is more forgiving without affecting the spin parameters, then it’s going to be a home run.  Again, that technology is out there being tested right now.  It’s a little bit early to say because when you start changing the moment of inertia in one plane, you affect spin and other parameters in another plane.  So we’re debating whether we have to look at it, change it a little bit, or we’ve got a good product.  What else on that Mike?

14:07 – Michael Guerrette:  As far as the hybrid is concerned, you’ve got to look at where the market is headed and how to improve your product.  Sometimes they don’t necessarily coincide and we’re looking at making our product better regardless of what the market wants to do.  That’s what will go into our next product that will replace the Idea Pro.  I can assure you we’ve already got prototypes in play and they are phenomenal so we’re looking forward to that.  

14:38 – GolfWRX:  There are a large number of tour prototype fairways such as the 2080, 4060, 5050, etc.  How do you decide which of these will make it to retail?  How do the tour and retail versions differ, do they differ at all in launch characteristics, MOI, etc.?

15:01 – Michael Guerrette:  Right off the bat, there’s always that misconception out there that the Tour product is different from the market product when it’s sold as a “Tour” product.  The industry used to do that years ago, but what we’ve found is a lot of the products Tour players use, a lot of the players can use out there.  When we put a product on the market that says “Tour,” it’s the same product.  Let that be clear.  The 2080, 4060, 5050 again were all prototypes based on what we said earlier, we’re looking at different face heights, different CG’s, different bounces, and how those things work out with the best players in the world to give us feedback on what should go into the market product.  Really, that’s what we use to develop the market product and the 2080, 4060, and 5050 all lead to the RPM Fairway and the Insight.  We took the best of what those products had to offer in each one of them, combined that, and came up with those products.  So that’s how they got to retail and eventually turned right around and became a Tour product with a different name.  

16:16 – GolfWRX:  The new BTY and BUL fairways look great, what improvements can we expect to see with them?  How have they been accepted on Tour?

16:28 – Michael Guerrette:  They’ve been accepted considerably well.  The BTY has the center sole weighting on it.  We’ve looked at center of gravity, moving it in fairways and hybrids, to put multiple weights in those is senseless.  It’s got a short club moment arm, it doesn’t make any sense to do that.  So we put a weight in there to help us get our center of gravity in the right position and at the same time to help the acoustics to give better feel with it.  That’s what the BTY has been able to get us out there.  The BUL, on the other hand, is a slightly different animal, but again is getting a lot of play with the seniors and the women.  Again, it’s got a little different spin characteristic, a little different sole interaction with the ground.  Again it’s giving a different player what they need.  As far as changes to those in the future, we’re going to continue improving inertia, forgiveness, spin characteristics, ground interaction – it’s a science that continues to evolve as we develop these products.  

17:35 – Tim Reed:  To talk a little bit more about the technology, the technology that’s in these two fairway woods is revolutionary in this industry because this is the first product that actually has two dissimilar metallic materials that are effectively bonded together.  You can’t weld two dissimilar materials together effectively . . . yet.  What we’ve done, first of all you’ve got the the upside down design.  Upside down technology at Adams gave us moment of inertia and low CG - made the golf club that has that “Wow factor.”  The engineers here decided, wouldn’t it be great if we could make the entire top of the crown and face of the crown titanium?  The benefit there, you get the benefit of reducing the weight of the crown to lower the CG, put titanium in the face, that’s going to give you improvement in COR, make it a hotter ball flight.  Then couple that with the bottom of the club which is stainless steel and the skirt which is stainless steel, so the heavier, denser materials are where they need to be in a fairway wood.  I’ve told everybody when they ask, “What’s the hardest golf club to design?”  It’s the fairway wood because you have to concern yourself where you’re going to use it, whether it’s off the tee, from the fairway, in a bunker, or if you’re Mike Guerrette it’s out of the trees (laughing).  So unlike a driver, where you’re focused on the center hit, or slightly above center, consumers aren’t necessarily hitting their drivers off the deck any more.  I think the driver, although complicated itself, is a little easier than the fairway wood.  Our technology and knowledge around that golf club, 13° to 22°, we feel we’re ahead of the industry because of how it goes through the ground.  Then what do we have to do to improve the launch conditions.  So I think what they’re going to see when they hit this product, it’s going to give you two things, it’s going to give you great performance off the deck because the CG is lower, and it’s not going to spin a lot which means it’s going to get up in the air but it’s going to have a really good, penetrating ball flight.  The face height is a little bit taller because, again we wanted to have a certain CG height, but we went a head and made the face taller because we had a lighter crown.  Off the tee performance is going to be like a backup driver.  This thing is hot, the COR is maxed out, but the CG position is going to be comparable to where it’s at on a driver, so when you hit it off the tee, even at forty-three inches, the thing flies like the old drivers that are a couple of years old.  

20:14 – GolfWRX:  There’s been a lot of talk about that Power Brazing.  A lot of guys that have used it have said they’ve picked up a lot of distance from that.  

Part III

0:14 – GolfWRX:  Now that size, COR, and MOI have all been capped, how much room do you see for improvements in driver design in the future?  Do you guys think we have we reached a plateau?

0:29 – Tim Reed:  In my opinion, no.  Any time the USGA sets a limit, then the engineers get really focused on how to get a better product.  At the time when they set the COR limit, they set it at .822 with an upper tolerance of .830 and the reason they set it there was because at that point in time, I believe the Ping Titanium slightly over 300cc, was right around .81.  No one though they couldn’t get to .830.  It took about a month for the engineers to figure out how to maximize it – same thing for MOI.  What this is going to do, it’s going to force the engineers to develop new materials sooner.  Our goal and everybody’s goal is to lighten up the chassis weight so you can have more discretionary weight to move around so you can not only improve forgiveness but you can optimize the golf club in performance.  The future of drivers is going to go into fitting.  Through systems like Callaway’s Opti-Fit System, things we’re working on, because to get total performance you’ve got to get the right head that has the perfect mass properties for you plus the right shaft combination.  Then you’re going to see a substantial performance in distance even with these capped off technologies of COR and MOI.  

1:53 – GolfWRX:  Well, since you guys brought up the Callaway Opti-Fit system and since you understand fitting is the next frontier, what are you guys doing to change it?  Are you going to provide the same kind of Opti-Fit wagons as Callaway’s doing or do you guys have something else up your sleeve?

2:15 – Tim Reed:  We’ve been working on that, really the driving factor was for improvements in our demo days and ultimately giving consumers the option to try different shafts.  We’ve stepped it up a notch to be able to make it what Callaway and ultimately what TaylorMade will be offering is a consumer can go in and go through the process and leave with the actual product.  It’s interesting, we’re going through numerous intellectual property out there and we came across a patent that actually Dave Pelz did back then and it will actually be in public domain here next year.  It’s very similar technology to what’s out there today and it was interesting because Barney Adams used to work with Dave and actually used to run Pelz Golf.  Adams Golf actually started from assets of Pelz Golf, so it’s interesting that this is not a new technology, it’s been around, numerous others have tried it.  Because again going back to limitations of head design, the next step is total optimization and we’re going to be participating in that game across the line.  

3:34 – GolfWRX:  Titleist and TaylorMade have a destination fitting center, any chances you guys may consider building a fitting center in Ft. Worth open to the public?

3:50 – Tim Reed:  We haven’t considered Ft. Worth specifically, what we are doing is called Pro-Tech fitters.  We’ve selected some accounts out there to offer this high end fitting of products with weight ports so they can actually adjust the shafts and such.  We’re in the early – it’s about a year old process for us now – and we would consider looking at various markets out there to be able to do this and potentially Ft. Worth could be on the map, but as of today we do not have a dedicated satellite where consumers can go into.  Ultimately we’re still going to rely heavily on what the retailers have to offer and try and incorporate that into the retail and give that service.  

4:42 – GolfWRX:  Talking about the retailers, I find it interesting when I go into your website and see that you deal with all the heavy hitters out there.  Do you guys have any plans to work with the mom and pop operations, the local pro shops? Or are you strictly sticking with larger retailers, do you feel that’s where your best success is?

5:06 – Tim Reed:  What’s interesting is that over the last year, and we just published our numbers from last year, being a public company you can dive in, our growth has come from the segments of those mom and pop and the green grass.  That has been one of our pushes, because that’s where influencers start is the green grass, so we’re going to service our major retailers just like everybody else, but we’re also going to work with these green grass accounts because there’s valuable information there for what happens for the engineering side, what happens when you run demo days, and what consumers are really looking for.  

5:50 – GolfWRX:  Let me backtrack to one more question about the Power Brazing.  I’m just curious why your drivers don’t utilize the same technology as your fairway woods?

6:03 – Tim Reed:  Well, it boils down to the allowable mass you can produce a driver at.  We’re trying to max out the size and max out the moments of inertia, it limits itself by Power Brazing because you’ve got to add, even though it’s small, some tongue and groove to be able to hold the two materials together and you’re taking up quite a bit of weight.  Some people would offer both for continuity in marketing, but we believe physics will determine what we should do directionally.  The fact of it is on the BUL driver we don’t offer a weight port because that will reduce and sub-optimize the moment of inertia, and that particular product is meant to be as forgiving as any Adams Golf has ever built.  The decision was made to maximize it with titanium, don’t worry about the brazing because it’s not going to be of benefit, and the cost wasn’t justifiable and don’t worry about the weight port because it’s going to sub-optimize performance.  

7:11 – GolfWRX:  A lot of us were expecting Adams to be the first to market with both the BUL and BTY in January. So far only the BUL has come to market in any quantity, why is that?

7:22 – Tim Reed:  We have started shipping the BTY’s and they are at retail now as we speak, but yes those were delayed.  The golf club is interesting, we don’t talk a lot about our construction, but the BTY driver for example, has a very, very thin crown that is attached to it by effectively – it’s not welded on because it’s so thin – it’s attached in a different manner.  We just weren’t happy with the durability of the product, so we had to re-tool and redesign to make sure the product would meet with expectations of the consumer.  As far as the fairway wood, it’s the same deal.  It’s a very complicated process and it’s a capacity issue.  We’ve got the BUL’s out there, the BTY is a smaller portion of our business, so we’ve just started shipping those to the consumer market.  

8:19 – GolfWRX:  One of our members noticed an Insight driver prototype in play on the Champions Tour which features two weight ports.  Why does the retail Insight BTY driver only have a weight port on the heel? Will the two port versions make their way to retail, and what did the Tour pros desire from the club head that the one-ported version does not offer?

8:49 – Michael Guerrette:  Just a little bit on the moveable weights which have been consuming the market here the last ten years, Tim talked about intellectual rights and patents a while ago and there aren’t many new ideas in the golf industry that haven’t been thought of before.  The original patents on moveable weights came out in 1918 I think, or 1938, so moveable weights aren’t something new to the industry.  I was fortunate to be there when that was being developed at the other OEM.  It was developed because every time we developed a new driver, we had center of gravity issues with left and right bias issues.  So we thought if we design something with moveable weight on the outside that would be great for us.  It’s been out on Tour now for a couple of years and what we’ve realized is once a player has it set, which is almost always in a neutral position, players don’t move it again.  So in essence you’re right back where you started from and now you’ve got four cans and from a physics perspective, it’s very difficult thing to design around when you want to get certain mass properties and those things.  We realized moveable weights aren’t giving us many benefits out there on Tour; although we’ve got one on Tour right now with two weights, the one that came out on market right now is really the optimal position of the CG with that weight where it is for that player in the market.  It gives us the value of adding sound to it without us having to add a lot of stuff inside of it for swing weighting.  I’d venture to say that in the future, from our perspective, you’d see a sole weight in there, but not multiple weights.  It’s really not moving the needle for us and it’s tying our hands from a design perspective and that’s where we’re at with it.  

10:42 – GolfWRX:  What custom shafts are available for the woods currently?  

10:50 – Michael Guerrette:  Pretty much any shaft that’s available out there.  From an OEM perspective, the Fujikuras, the Diamanas, the Aldilas, anything that’s pretty hot out there you can get that through our custom.  

11:08 – GolfWRX:  The Puglielli wedges look fantastic and many members love their aggressive groove patterns.  How did their development come about?  How have they been received at retail and on Tour?

11:26 – Tim Reed:  Max Puglielli who has been with Barney - he’s probably the number three or four employee of the company – his current capacity is Head of Tour Operation and all of our Tour Reps report to him.  He focuses on the Champions Tour.  He’s got a great eye for product.  He’s been involved in our design process since the early days.  He has a completely different point of view, he’s not an engineer but that’s the beauty of him.  He worked with Tom Watson on the original Watson design wedges, helped him fabricate those and he just has a lot of passion.  On the side, he creates his own wedges, we assist him here at R&D, but it’s really his thumb print, and what he sees is a good product is a very, very small niche play and that’s the beauty of it.  We don’t have tons of inventory, it keeps the demand high on them, and the retail price on them.  As far as the Tour, they love them.  If anything he wishes he had more, but we’re so focused on hybrids we haven’t give him newer models that we’re currently working on.  But when does have them, he has a tremendous amount of success with them.  The interesting thing is at one point in time, he probably led the tour once, probably two years ago, number one wedge on the Champions Tour, beating out the Vokey and Cleveland wedges.  Interesting, and I think that’s because they trust him, and they believe in him.  That’s what you want in your wedge, you want to know that it’s a great product and that’s what Max offers.

13:21 – GolfWRX:  Well, you know there’s a lot of golf websites out there and we love special grind wedges, different material wedges.  Are there any chances there may be a release raw Puglielli wedges or possibly a series of special grinds?  

13:49 – Tim Reed:  We are working with him on some new designs.  It’s going to come right out of the Tour efforts, Mike Guerrette’s going to be actually assisting him on this.  I would say you could probably see these in the next six months.  

14:02 – GolfWRX:  Really?  That’s great.

14:04 – Tim Reed:  I’m not sure if they’re going to be raw, we’re still trying to determine fabrication and what we ultimately want to do, and what Max desires, but I would say we’re going to have some new lineup there he can show around and we can offer to select customers.  

14:24 – GolfWRX:  The Tom Watson wedge set may be the best value in golf equipment.  Will that wedge set remain in your lineup?

14:34 – Tim Reed:  We actually have a lot of fun with that product, because it’s got all the design Tom likes, it’s classic, good material.  Absolutely, every year we’re going to bring out a new version, change up the finish, add some slightly new technology to it.  Ultimately Tom blesses it and he has been in the past, he’s been playing one or two of them every year.  

15:06 – GolfWRX:  On your website, you’ve got a training putter, it looks like a fascinating concept.  Even though it appears to be a face balanced putter, is it still a useful tool for a variety of putting strokes?  What segment of the market has been purchasing it?

15:26 – Tim Reed:  Well, it’s a new venture for us, we are the distributor for this putter which has been designed out of Korea and we have the distribution rights for the U.S. for this putter.  To answer the first part of the question, it’s for all different types of putting strokes.  One of the things we helped develop is the fact that a consumer can set the product up to evaluate a straight back straight through putting stroke, or they can set up the putter to evaluate a stroke that is more of an arc.  That way if you are a teacher that wants to use this to show people their tendencies, it’s able to capture a number of attributes of what happens during the putting stroke and to show the consumer what their stroke is about, the impact location, the face attitude of impact was, along with the speed, both back stroke and forward, what we call the tempo.  Right now we are using this to talk to the high end green grass accounts where the head professional teaches putting and has a desire and passion around that field.  We’re trying to align ourselves there and using this to get in the door but also to help them to improve their way of teaching and showing them what’s going on to help them with their students, or to help them make a prediction as to what type of putter they would use.  We’re not in the putter business yet, but we are using this to test the waters per-say.

17:18 – GolfWRX:  Are there any plans to expand your putter line or acquire a putter company or joint venture with a putter company?

17:26 – Tim Reed:  Over the last five years, eventually you’re going to see Adams is going to launch a putter line.  Whether it’s going to be our own technology, or it’s going to be acquired technology, we have evaluated numerous companies out there that sell putters – some that you know very well.  Ultimately we want to make sure they work.  If we’re going to hang our hat on a technology, that it did indeed work because we did want to live with it the rest of our lives here.  We just haven’t found a technology that would produce improvement in roll or performance.  Why we’re not in it today?  It’s really been a resource allocation for us.  We’ve been ramping up our R&D efforts.  Our primary focus has been on the hybrids, irons, fairway woods, and drivers, getting Tour success, growing our popularity among the better players.  We’re going to stay focused on that primary business.  Then, eventually we’re going to have enough resources to start working on putters.  I’ve seen too many companies who try to be all things in every category and they go backwards and don’t grow.  We’ve been directed from Chip Brewer, our CEO, he used to say, “Stay focused on what we do best, don’t expect us to get into full apparel, and into big bag companies.  We’re going to be focused on putters to start, and we’ll add putters once we have the resources.”  

19:00 – GolfWRX:  Well, putters in the works, you’ve got fitting ideas in the works, what else, where is Adams going?

19:15 – Tim Reed:  I think again, everything we’re doing we’re going to continue to improve upon.  We have ramped up our Tour efforts, I can speak for R&D, we have hired additional design engineers to focus on the categories, we’re going to take an even more scientific approach than we’re currently doing.  Our success in the women’s business has told us that we need to put the pedal down there.  With the acquisition of Women’s Golf Unlimited, we’ve shown that we can build products for that category and focus on that category to grow our revenues at Adams.  Long story short, it’s going to be about taking a more scientific approach, we’re going to continue to look at products that ultimately perform and we’re going to drive this hybrid-integrated set business to completion.  

20:21 – Michael Guerrette:  If I could just add a little bit to that Frank, I’ve worked with some pretty big companies, Raetheon, McDonald Douglas, Boeing, and General Electric.  In all my years of working in different industries, never have I really worked with a bunch of people that are gelling as well as we are here.  Tim mentioned that we’ve built the R&D group considerably in the last couple of years and you’re only getting to hear Tim and I talk, but we’ve got some really great talent, we’ve got some other engineers, some industrial design people, some marketing folks.  As far as where the company’s headed, the talent that we’ve hired and the way we’re working together, that alone is going to make us a better company down the road and you’re really going to see the influences on our products.  

21:14 – GolfWRX:  Well guys, we’ve enjoyed listening to your answers, but we don’t want to let you out of here without finding out what’s in your bags?  Tim, why don’t you start us off here?  

21:25 – Tim Reed:  Well, I’m not going to give you my handicap because I’ve got a member-guest coming up.  

21:33 – GolfWRX:  (laughing) Give us your vanity handicap then.  

21:35 – Tim Reed:  I’m a single digit player.  This year is interesting because I’ve got three hybrids in my bag.  If you were to ask me in January, “Are you going to play a 5-hybrid?”  I would have said, “Absolutely not.”  I’ve got three hybrids in my bag.  Yes I work here, and I drink the Kool-Aid, but I also have the opportunity to play every product we have here and believe it or not, I tried the Watsons, I can play those, I tried the Idea Pro Forged, I can play those.  Believe it or not, I’m playing the A3’s because I know too much about them.  I know they are slightly more game-improvement, but even though I’m a five handicapper basically, I can use those.  I play the BUL driver, again because I’m an engineer, so I’m going to play and take the advantage.  I play the BUL driver at 46 inches long, slightly longer than our standard because I know you can make the shaft longer because of the moment of inertia.  Fairway wood, I play the 5050 because I like to be able to use it off the tee, more so than off the fairway because I’ve found my hybrids go so far, farther than my fairway off the deck, so I really look at my three wood as a second driver.  Wedges, I use the Idea Pro wedges, I think they’re phenomenal.  As far as a putter, it’s pretty much best efforts here since we don’t offer one.  I actually use the Odyssey 2-Ball.  I obviously worked at Odyssey and ran the R&D there, so I believe in Odyssey and the technology, and I’m gong to stick with that.  

23:17 – Michael Guerrette:  Some of it’s classified actually, the cool thing about working in R&D is you get to work with the prototypes, although you can use them in competition.  I’ve got a driver that’s actually a prototype that you may see on the market coming up, it’s actually pretty darn good.  I can’t say much more than that.  

23:41 – GolfWRX:  Mike, does it keep you out of the woods?

23:42 – Michael Guerrette:  The driver?  (laughing) No, I’m still hitting it sideways and it’s not the club either.  I’ve got a BTY fairway, 14.5° with a Rombax shaft in it, fantastic shaft if you have the chance to try that thing.  I play the Vista Pro 80 for years, and this Rombax 80V is really, really good.  I’ve got an 18° Idea Pro and a YS-II Hybrid shaft in that, an 85-X.  It’s a really good shaft as well.  I’ve got potentially a new prototype that we’re trying out on Tour this coming weekend, and my Idea Pro might be taking a back seat to that, so that’s pretty exciting.  I’ve got the Watson irons with Project X shafts in them, I’ve got the Red Label, the .150 constant offsets, which is kind of ironic because as I was designing them, I was thinking I’d use the Black Label, it’s funny how the constant offset has helped there.  That may be translating itself into something we put on the market in the better player category in the months to come, but we’ve kind of changed that paradigm there with people.  The gap wedge I’ve got is an Idea Pro gap wedge which is awesome.  Puglielli, 58° 12, both of those with X-100 shafts in them.  The putter, unfortunately is similar to Tim’s but from a different OEM.  I’ve got an old Modena 8 from my old company and it’s just been in the bag forever, and it’s hard to replace right now.  That’s pretty much it.  

25:24 – Tim Reed:  It’s amazing this guy can’t break 100 huh? (laughing)

25:29 – GolfWRX:  I want to say from the bottom of my heart, from GolfWRX, it’s been an absolute pleasure.  You’ve exceeded our expectations from the information we’ve gotten.  I know this interview is going to go over huge on GolfWRX, it’s going to help us make informed decisions, and it’s going to help put some added excitement on our website for your product usage, so I can’t thank you guys enough for taking time out of your busy schedules to spend some time with us to help us purchase more of your product.  Thanks a lot guys, it’s been exciting and interesting and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

26:11 – Tim Reed:  I appreciate it and we thank you for all your support.

26:19 – GolfWRX:  Thank you very much guys.

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