Adams UL 9088: A new look at lightweight drivers
With the upcoming August release of the Speedline 9088 UL, Adams Golf is joining a rapidly growing number of club manufacturers offering a lightweight driver--but this one comes with a twist, literally.
"We did a lot of fitting and testing with different builds," says Scott Burnett, Adams' director of advance development. "Right now, it's very popular to build these sub-280 gram drivers, but [most companies] do it by keeping the head weight about the same and making the shaft and grip very light, so they end up with very high swing weights. What we found through our testing was that the vast majority of players, especially when you averaged it out, tend to hit that type of build to the right. Even when we set it up in the GolfLabs robot, which is not a perfect thing but we did it because we were trying to understand the mechanics, the robot hit it right also. And the reason is that the balance point of the club is much farther out toward the head than in a normal golf club. It's about four inches farther out, which is a lot."
According to Burnett, with so much of a club's mass being positioned closer to the clubhead, the inertia "about the grip" (the resistance to twisting of the entire club, not just the clubhead) is higher, affecting the way the club turns over through impact. "It actually takes more torque to release those clubs," he explains. "The golfer has to put more force into it to get the club to do that final pendulum motion, even though it's a lighter club overall."
To combat this problem, Burnett and his colleagues wanted to design the 9088 UL to be light--290 grams to be exact--but still balanced in a way that kept the swing weight, and thus the inertia about the grip, down. "We could accomplish this one of two ways: we could either use a standard 45-gram shaft and put a heavier-than-standard grip on it, or we could make the stock shaft a higher balance point and put a standard grip on there, that way people could re-grip it and not mess up the balance of the overall club. Since one of the feedbacks we got [from our accounts] was that everybody wants to be able to re-grip with standard grips, we went with the latter. So we had a high-balance-point, 45-gram Matrix shaft specifically designed for the club, which brought the mass up more toward the grip. We now have a lighter club with a lower inertia about the grip, and we found that players - almost all players, but especially players that need more speed - hit that club straighter than the superlight build. They don't have to put as much effort into actually releasing the club."
The Speedline UL 9088 will be available in 9.5-, 10.5- and 12-degree lofts, and a draw version will be added to the line later in the fall ($300).