When Adams Golf introduced the Tight Lies fairway wood originally in 1996, it became a sensation for not only its unusual upside-down shape but how its low center of gravity design helped average golfers get the ball in the air on shots from 180-220 yards.
Almost two decades later, Adams is back with the Tight Lies offering much of the same easy-to-hit features as the original with one particularly noticeable upgrade in horsepower, thanks to changing the angles on the company's patented sole and crown slots.
It's all about the potential for speed. According to Justin Honea, director of product development at Adams, the characteristic time on the original Tight Lies measured out at an anemic 110 microseconds. (Characteristic time is the term used to describe a club's relative spring-like effect.) The spring-like effect measured on the new Tight Lies is 220. (The limit under USGA rules is 237.)
What's just as important is that Adams appears to be accomplishing those numbers within the similar lower-profile shape of the original (1.18-inch face height) and an overall size and volume that's more than 20 percent smaller than many leading fairway woods today.
Rather than utilizing a slot cut straight through the crown to the sole, the new slot configuration has been angled back toward the face to improve ballspeed at the center and on mishits. Honea says the new slot aims to create a "floating cupface" and yields about 10 percent more deflection at impact than Adams' most recent "velocity slot" designs on this year's Super S fairway woods.
Like the original, the Tight Lies design also emphasizes a low and back center of gravity location in an effort to increase launch angle by creating more dynamic loft at impact. Typically, clubs that have a center of gravity that's farther back may sacrifice some ballspeed numbers, but Honea believes that doesn't happen with the new Tight Lies.[#image: /photos/55ad7714add713143b427bfe]|||Tight_Lies_vst toe.jpg|||
"We think the slot design emphasizes full face forgiveness," he said. "With these two slots and a low-back CG, we're not losing ballspeed, we're actually gaining ballspeed. We're also getting higher launch, a mid-spin and we're getting a higher [moment of inertia] for more forgiveness."
The new Tight Lies already have been played on tour by Tom Watson and Kenny Perry at the Greenbrier Classic. In fact, both played the standard retail models, not the tour head that is expected to be introduced later.
Adams will start by bringing only a 16-degree model to market ($200) in mid-August (along with a 14.5-degree tour model), but will include more lofts up to the 7-wood by November.