Golfers, queue up your Slim Shady.
Guess who’s back (back again)?
Our “Slim Shady” isn’t Marshall Mathers.
It’s Adams Golf and, if the story is to be believed, the company is back (back again)—for real this time.
The launch of the 2023 Adams IDEA line signals the first time the company will offer a full line of clubs since the thankfully short-lived Blue line.
It’s also not the informercial-esque line of fairways and hybrids that quietly launched a couple years ago before even more quietly fading away.
Said another way: the IDEA lineup represents the first time Adams will offer a serious and complete lineup of golf clubs since it was acquired by TaylorMade more than a decade ago.
I’m willing to bet a healthy number of you forgot that Adams was still under the TaylorMade umbrella.
Will the Real Slim Shady Please stand up?
Since the TaylorMade acquisition, Adams has had a bit of an identity crisis: Recreational brand, infomercial brand and now comeback brand, a direct-to-consumer brand hoping to appeal to a younger demographic that’s serious about the game but perhaps in a more casual way.
Make of that what you will but it’s not lost on the team responsible for the revitalized Adams brand that you can only relaunch so many times.
This may very well be the last chance to get Adams right and they know it.
To that end, the company is asking you to forget what you think you know About Adams Golf, though maybe not entirely.
What the last 10 years haven’t eroded from the lineage and credibility of the Adams brand remains part of the package.
The Adams IDEA Golfer
Now is probably a decent time to mention that, as far as we can tell, TaylorMade’s consumer analytics may very well be the most dialed-in of any brand in golf.
TaylorMade knows its customers and understands where opportunities lie. That’s why it can tell you with precision who the Adams customer is likely to be.
In the interest of keeping it simple, it’s a younger golfer. By now, you know what the COVID uptick looks like. He (or she) is among the millions of new or returning golfers. They’re ready to buy but not looking to be overwhelmed by custom fitting and the complexity that comes with it. They want a quality product with modern technology. Value pricing and name recognition are part of the equation.
(Also, the probability is that the Adams customer owns a dog. I wasn’t kidding when I said TaylorMade’s analytics are dialed in.)
I suppose you can say these golfers take a balanced approach to the game. They want to win but still have fun when they don’t. They’re competitive but don’t take a bad round home.
It’s a safe bet they’re not the hardcore type whose very existence is defined by handicap. Those folks aren’t fun. Adams is. Or at least that’s the plan.
To be sure, whether any of this comes to fruition will come down to the product. With that said, here’s what the Adams IDEA line brings to the table.
Adams IDEA Driver
Before we dig into the specifics, it is worth mentioning that the design intent of the entire Adams IDEA lineup is to serve the needs of the largest swath of golfers. It aims for the middle of the bell curve and, with that, it’s not going to offer anything remotely touching the extremes. Playability for all! That’s the idea, er, IDEA.
Now that you understand how this is all supposed to work, it won’t come as any surprise that the Adams IDEA driver isn’t a super low-spin or even low-spin offering.
Playing to the idea of being comfortably in the middle, it’s not pushing the MOI limits and it doesn’t have any designs on being the biggest slice killer on the market.
If the label on the single sole weight is to be believed, the Adams IDEA Driver offers “precision draw weighting” but that’s simply an acknowledgment that most golfers need a little bit of draw bias. It’s the reason why, even if they’re not labeled as such, most mainstream drivers have a bit of draw bias.
To put all of this in context, it’s nothing like a PING SFT. In fact, it’s not nearly as draw-biased as the TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD.
The Adams IDEA driver features a titanium chassis with a titanium VFT (variable face thickness) face. That last bit is about preserving speed on off-center strikes.
It offers a carbon fiber crown along with a carbon fiber toe panel. Both work to free up mass to allow for the draw weighting and a forgiveness boost.
It wouldn’t be an Adams metalwood without a Velocity Slot. As a reminder, whether you call it a Velocity Slot, a Speed Pocket or any of half-dozen other names, its purpose is to help preserve ball speed, particularly on the low-face miss.
Faster swing speed players will appreciate the aerodynamic shaping and most everyone else will appreciate the clean lines and overall shape that’s somewhere between pleasing and unobjectionable.
Adams IDEA Driver – The Total Package
While the Adams IDEA driver is designed for the masses, the guys behind the brand believe that, with its combination of looks and performance, it’s good enough to be played on the PGA TOUR, though there’s no expectation of that.
The point is that corners haven’t been cut. The Adams IDEA driver isn’t a watered-down game-improvement club designed to appeal to your granddad’s sense of nostalgia. It offers legitimate performance for the golfer looking to keep things simple without breaking the bank to get a quality product.
Lest we forget who is behind all of this, the Adams IDEA Driver is loft/face angle adjustable by way of the TaylorMade standard two-degree loft sleeve.
Adams IDEA Driver Specs and Pricing
The Adams Idea driver is available in 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees. All lofts are available in both right- and left-handed.
The retail price for the Adams IDEA Driver is $299. That’s not a typo. Two-hundred and ninety-nine U.S. dollars.
Adams IDEA Fairway Woods
Like the rest of the lineup, the Adams IDEA Fairway is designed to sit comfortably in the middle of the market.
The profile is described as “semi-shallow” which makes it easy to hit off the fairway while still allowing it to be used off the tee.
The address profile is, at worst (or maybe at best), only slightly large. It’s certainly not an oversized shallow potato-masher of a fairway wood.
Nothing in the design is overly suggestive of game-improvement design nor is it heavily draw-biased. Like the driver, it has precision draw weighting which is a technical-sounding euphemism for a little bit of.
True to past Adams designs, the IDEA fairway wood features a Tri-Sole design which is basically the evolution of the original Adams trapezoidal sole shape. If you’re unfamiliar with the design, the pertinent detail is that it offers heel and toe relief which makes the club easier to hit from nearly any lie.
The Adams IDEA fairway wood features a steel chassis and face with a weight-saving carbon fiber crown.
Like the driver, a massive Velocity Slot is part of the package as is the previously mentioned Precision Draw weight.
Adams IDEA Fairway Wood Specs
The Adams Idea fairway woods are available in 3W (15 degrees), 5W (18) and 7W (21).
It’s worth pointing out that these are pretty much standard lofts in the fairway wood space. Adams hasn’t weakened lofts to play to the senior and game-improvement crowd.
It’s not that kind of Adams Golf.
Retail price for the Adams IDEA fairway woods is $199 each. All lofts are available in both right- and left-handed.
Adams IDEA Hybrids
Many fondly remember Adams Golf for hybrids. Rightly so. Despite the brand being mostly dormant, a National Golf Foundation survey found that a lot of us still believe Adams is among the most played hybrids on Tour. And while that’s not exactly the current reality, despite being a decade removed from its last serious offering, there are still some in play each week.
With that in mind, it makes sense to talk about what the Adams IDEA Hybrid isn’t. It’s not a Tour hybrid, at least not within the context of some of the smaller Adams shapes over the years. It’s definitely not a peanut.
I know. Some of us would love that.
Thankfully, it’s also not an oversized Adams Blue either. For my money, it sits comfortably in the middle (hey, how about that) between the Adams Red and Adams Blue hybrid.
If, despite the yellow accents, you want to call it an Adams Purple, I’m personally ok with that.
It’s solidly mid-sized and definitely not oversized. That detail combined with the square face profile are why Adams hopes the IDEA hybrid will be seen as a true long-iron replacement.
For my money, it looks the part.
Adams IDEA Hybrid Construction
It features the same basic construction as the fairway wood. That means it has a steel chassis and face and, for only the second time ever on an Adams hybrid, a carbon fiber crown.
You also get a sizeable Velocity Slot, precision draw weight and Tri-Sole, all in what really is a familiar package.
Adams IDEA Hybrids – Specs and Pricing
Adams IDEA Hybrids are available in 3H (20 degrees), 4H (23), 5H (26) and 6H (30). All lofts are available in both right- and left-handed.
Retail price for the Adams IDEA Hybrids is $179.
Adams IDEA Irons
I would bet that nearly everyone reading this has a favorite set of Adams irons. If there’s a set of irons in your life that you regret selling, there’s a better-than-good chance it was Adams (although it might have been Mizuno).
With that in mind, it’s interesting, perhaps even surprising, that the Adams IDEA iron offering is unlike anything we’ve seen from Adams Golf before.
To be fair, the last time Adams made a serious set of irons, the player’s distance category didn’t exist.
While I suppose there’s an argument to be made that, in today’s golf marketplace, there’s nothing more in the middle than a player’s distance iron, you should also consider that the specific “middle” Adams is hoping to hit is somewhere between a P790 and a Stealth or SIM2 Max iron.
Having said that, there are some interesting ripples here that make this offering particularly intriguing.
Beyond the specs, which we’ll get to in a bit, the objective of the Adams IDEA design is to provide an option for the golfer looking for performance without those overtly game-improvement looks.
While I wouldn’t describe the Adams IDEA iron as “bulky,” to my eye, it trends a bit to the larger size. Full disclosure: lots of irons look big to me but I suppose a reasonable comparison might be the PXG 0311 XF.
To be clear, I’m just eye-balling here. It’s not like I took the calipers out for this.
The topline is perhaps slightly thick though not absurdly bulky and there is some visible offset though, again, it’s less than you’d get with SIM2 Max.
Thinking about the market as a whole, it’s likely size-appropriate for the target audience.
Other than a splash of yellow on the badge, the design is clean and largely inline with other hollow-body designs on the market now.
The Adams IDEA irons feature an iron-specific implementation of the Tri-Sole concept. It features a higher-bounce center region with reduced surface area in the heel and toe. The intent is to create geometry versatile enough to work for diggers, pickers and everyone in between.
While the products are covered by the same corporate umbrella, Adams isn’t TaylorMade and so you don’t get any SpeedFoam.
Maybe that’s disappointing because the center of gravity isn’t as low as something like the P790 but Adams had room to build some internal rib structures to tune sound and feel.
The Adams Idea irons feature a progressive hosel design. The shorter hosels in the long irons save mass which is used to create higher ball flight and boost MOI. The longer hosels in the short irons help raise the CG to optimize trajectory.
Adams IDEA Irons Specifications
What’s attention-grabbing (perhaps only on the golf nerd level) is that, unlike nearly everything else in its class, Adams isn’t jacking lofts to make a distance play.
The 7-iron is a sensible 30 degrees while the pitching wedge comes in at 44.5. For comparison, that’s the same 7-iron loft as the Mizuno JPX Forged. The Adams irons are half a degree weaker in the PW.
I chose Mizuno because the company is often lauded for maintaining sensible lofts (which it does on most products). It’s perhaps the best comparison to hammer home the point that the Adams IDEA iron offering is uncommonly sensible.
Retail price for the Adams IDEA irons is $599 with steel shafts and $699 with graphite.
Adams IDEA Wedges
Now we’re getting into uncharted territory. There are countless reasons golfers love and remember Adams Golf. Wedges ain’t one.
How many of you had a Puglielli wedge in the bag?
I’m not trying to drop a poop emoji on the Adams legacy here. My point is that Adams doesn’t have much of a heritage in the wedge category and that’s likely why the new Adams saw an opportunity to do something different with the IDEA wedges.
While most of this discussion has centered around playing to the middle, everything in the new Adams IDEA lineup was designed with purpose and intent. In the case of the wedges, the intent is to give average golfers the capability to hit 60-yard wedge shots like a Tour pro.
As I discussed in our Wedge Fitting Guide, many golfers hit their wedges too high so, with the IDEA wedges, Adams seeks to provide a more controllable trajectory. By that, we mean a lower-flying, higher-spinning flight.
The physics of making that happen comes down to raising the center of gravity. Adams leveraged an undercut design to take a significant chunk of mass out of the sole and reposition it along the top and perimeter.
The grooves have been optimized to create spin on lower-speed shots.
If all of that makes the wedge unconventional, so be it but, at address, everything looks pretty much normal. I’d describe it as a slightly oversized slightly high-toe design. There’s very little offset and a reasonably flat leading edge.
In the spirit of lower trajectory, a longer hosel helps raise the center of gravity and, when it all comes together, the CG of the Adams IDEA wedge is higher than it is on the TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedge.
It’s not designed to be a one-trick pony. While full and partial shots are where it’s designed to excel, an aggressive C-grind provides relief in the heel and toe, adding versatility to manipulate the face around the green.
Adams IDEA Wedges Specs and Pricing
Options are limited. Adams IDEA Wedges will be available only in 54 and 58 degrees (the 58-degree option features full-face grooves) but the probability is that Adams will add lofts over time.
Retail price for the Adams IDEA Wedges is $99 steel and $119 graphite.
Adams C-Groove Putters
You may never have owned an Adams putter but if you owned a YES! C-Groove putter, you’re probably feeling some tingling.
Technically, the company still owns the rights to the YES! brand but, for the sake of clarity and continuity, putters have been rolled under the Adams brand.
Out of the gate, the Adams C-Groove putter lineup will consist of just two models: the Mission Mallet and the Prospect Blade. The names come from well-known streets in San Diego.
The Prospect is a traditional Anser-style mallet with a mid-slant hosel. The bumpers on the heel and toe have been softened a bit. It’s designed for golfers with a slight-arc stroke.
The Mission is a Fang (or Spider GT Splitback, if you want to stay within the TaylorMade universe) style mallet. It features raised alignment lines in the cavity and is well suited for golfers with straight-back straight-through strokes.
Both Adams C-Groove putter designs are made from 303 stainless steel and coated with a matte black PVD finish.
About the C-Groove
If you’ve used a C-Groove putter, you know they offer exceptional feel and smooth roll. To be clear, this isn’t some half-assed recreation. Adams wanted to do C-Groove right and that involved digging through boxes to find original tooling used to mill the YES! C-Groove.
Adams C-Groove putters feature the same geometry as the YES! C-Groove putters and that’s cool.
A premium magnetic headcover completes the package.
For me, the putters are the biggest and most welcome surprise of what is a pretty damned surprising Adams lineup.
Adams C-Groove Putters – Specs and Pricing
The Adams C-Groove Prospect and Mission putters are available in 34 and 35 inches. The stock grip is a Lamkin Deep Etched.
Both putters are available in RH and LH. Retail price is $149.
What About Shafts and Grips?
I haven’t talked about stock shaft and grip offerings because I wanted to tackle it all at once.
Everything in the Adams stock lineup is a true aftermarket option.
Stock metalwoods shafts are the UST Mamiya Helium NanoCore Black (40g, 50g) in stiff, regular and A-flex).
The steel option in the IDEA irons is the KBS Max 85. The graphite option is the UST NanoCore Black (60g, 50g). Wedges come stock with KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (steel) or USG Helium NanoCore Black (45g).
The stock grip across the entire lineup is a Lamkin Crossline 360 Grey/Black.
Adams IDEA Set Configurations
While it would be wrong to call them “box sets,” Adams IDEA clubs are available in three set configurations.
- Full Set – Full 14-club bag in RH or LH with steel or graphite shaft options (stiff or regular flex).
- Short Set – Driver, fairway, hybrid, 6-PW, SW, LW, putter and bag. Available in RH or LW with steel or graphite shaft options (stiff or regular flex).
- Muni Set – Driver, hybrid, 6-iron, 8-iron, PW, SW, putter and bag. Available in RH or LH with regular or lite flex steel shafts. Lite flex is only available in RH.
What About Custom Options?
If there’s a miss in all of this, it’s that Adams isn’t offering custom options … yet.
While the irons can be customized for length and lie, custom shaft and grips options aren’t available at launch.
If you want to throw a legit Ventus Blue TR in your Adams IDEA driver, you’re going to have to wait until this summer.
Adams Golf Apparel
We’re not going to dig into everything here but I did want to mention that, as part of the Adams IDEA launch, the company will be releasing a line of apparel and accessories: T-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags. gloves, umbrellas and headcovers.
I’ve Seen this Movie Before. Is This Adams Thing Really Going to Last?
How the hell do I know?
What TaylorMade/Adams has told me is that they’re committed to the Adams brand.
“Our new Adams IDEA clubs and C-Groove putters have been engineered from the ground up to embody the spirit of the brand with meaningful technologies that are relevant to a wide range of golfers. The Adams brand carries a reputation of quality, forward-thinking design and innovation. We are fully committed to the future of Adams Golf and have dedicated resources, teams and technologies to make sure we continue to build upon its roots.”Chandler Carr, Product Creation Manager
Intent isn’t execution. But the equipment landscape is undeniably different than it was the last time a semi-serious effort was made to relaunch the Adams brand.
A direct-to-consumer approach is viable and, by having a better understanding of its target demographic, Adams can be Adams without too much risk of stepping on TaylorMade.
To an extent, I think that matters less than before. Regardless of the logo, the money is still green and I’m willing to bet TaylorMade’s ownership group understands that.
It’s also true there are millions of new golfers and a healthy percentage of them aren’t looking to pay a premium for every golf nerd bell and whistle.
Quality, simplicity and performance have an audience that TaylorMade may not impact on its own.
The closest parallel is probably the PXG 0211 lineup and that makes me think this new Adams approach could work.
I’m optimistic. That wasn’t the case before I saw the product.
When I was asked to hop on a call to check out the new Adams lineup, I did so only as a courtesy.
My initial thought was, “Here we go again.” (Not in a good way.) Adams hasn’t been worth talking about for a long time and, for lack of more elegant phrasing, my expectation was that the IDEA would be uninspired crap that does nothing to change that.
I’m delighted to have been wrong.
Honestly, I’m far from convinced it’s going to work but I love the idea of bringing the Adams brand back for both new and nostalgic golfers in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the identity with watered-down, box-set junk.
The Adams IDEA lineup is full of real golf clubs for real golfers. Even serious ones.
If the execution is right, Adams may be around for significantly longer than we thought.
The Adams IDEA lineup is available now.
For more information, visit AdamsGolf.com.