Hybrids may be one of the top developments in golf equipment over the past decade, once seen as an aid to senior golfers and high handicappers, but fully embraced now among the top players in the world. And no company has pegged its name to the hybrid as strongly as Adams, and two recent offerings point to the role hybrids play in the bags of golfers at both ends of the ability spectrum.
Way back when, as a single digit handicap in my early 20s, I took pride in hitting a 2 iron as far as most of my friends could hit driver. There was something magical about the way those long irons would send the ball off like a bullet, boring a straight line down the middle of the fairway. But that was a decade ago, the hands and forearms were much stronger, the ball was quite a bit different, and I'm not playing five days a week anymore.
I'm also not so proud to think I should be hitting long irons when most of the guys we watch on TV have turned to hybrids to repace their 2, 3, 4 and even 5 irons. So when I had the opportunity to put a pair of Adams hybrids in the bag, I leaped at it. Earlier in the season I'd traded my 5 wood for a hybrid I'd picked up along the way, but with the wrong shaft and a quirky design, I never loved it. Putting a 18 degree Adams Idea Pro a12 and an Adams Idead Tech V3 4 hybrid into play made me wonder why I was so late to the hybrid revolution.
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Much like irons, drivers and even putters, there are hybrids for better players, those looking for a controlable, low ball flight with a smaller margin for error. Then there are game improvement models that encourage getting the ball up in the air using a lower center of gravity and weighting that helps make the club far more forgiving.
Adams, as a leader in the hybrid domain, has both ends covered, and I can now appreciate both clubs.
The Adams Idea Pro a12 is designed for the better player, and might be found in the bag of PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker and according to Adams, it boasts:
• A hot face constructed of maraging steel produces higher ball speeds and a penetrating ball flight.
• The sole has been optimized with a steel skid plate and a flush-mounted weight screw that reduces the amount of turf interaction for better playability.
• Sleek, tour-proven shaping meets the demands of better players who want a compact head for better shot-shaping capabilities and a dark finish to help reduce glare.
The Adams Idea Tech V3 fits a wider range of players, and will assist a mid- or high-handicapper achieve consistent results, especially when compared to their performance with a long iron. According to Adams, the Tech V3 includes:
• An ultra-thin face for increased ball speed
• V-shaped sole to reduce ground drag and turf interference
• Tungsten weighting at heel and toe lowers the center of gravity and increases the MOI; improves off-center shots
• Unmatched versatility and forgiveness
Knowing the technology and understanding my game, which remains in the low single digit handicap range, my first thought was how much I'd lean toward the a12. In order to give them both a fair review, I also asked friends who are in the 20-handicap range to hit both and what we found was that while the a12 is certainly a tough fit (especially at 18 degrees, which is the loft of a traditional 2 iron) if your swing and ball striking are inconsistent, the V3 is very playable across a range of ability levels.
The most pleasant surprise of the playing review is just how much I have enjoyed hitting the V3, how versatile it is out of any lie and how much confidence it bred after watching one ball after another land on the green from 200 yards out.
The V3 4 hybrid with a Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara stiff shaft, which is a high-launch, lightweight shaft (the exact opposite of what I normally play and far from what I was fit into at a recent Hot Stix fitting) flies a consistent 205 yards, replacing my 4 iron, which had fallen out of favor last season and launched my hybrid hunt. The V3 launches sky high and I cannot control the trajectory as I could with a 4 iron, but the tradeoff for a consistent ball that flies the same each time is a welcome change. My favorite thing about the V3 is how easy it is to hit from any lie, particularly heavy rough that I'd never think of getting a long iron through.
One knock that's often made against hybrids, is that for a player who plays a draw and has a high swing speed, the design of a hybrid will turn a subtle draw into a nasty hook. My first attempts several years ago with a hybrid matched these results and turned me off from trying another for a long time. I hit it left, further left, and so far left I finally handed the club to a friend and told him to take it before it ended up in a pond.
But with the Adams hybrids, I don't fight a hook whatsoever. If anything, the a12 has a tendency to cut and the V3 has a baby draw ball flight.
Whereas the V3 is very forgiving and is good club for long par 3s or getting it out of the rough, the Adams Idea Pro a12 is a real performance club, serving much the same purpose as my trusty 2 iron of years past.
With my 18 degree a12, I'm able to stand on the tee of a narrow par 4 with far more confidence than with a driver, 3 wood or long iron. It flies approximately 225 yards and with the Aldila RIP VS Proto Hybrid stiff shaft (the Matrix Ozik Altus Hybrid is the other stock shaft option), the ball flight is penetrating and consistently lower. Unlike the V3 which is designed to fly high, the a12 hybrid has the boring trajectory preferred by better players, specifically high-spin players such as myself. During my Hot Stix fitting, we determined that I'd be better off with an X flex shaft, and that will eliminate some of the ballooning shots I experience, but that's through no fault of this hybrid head. Speaking of the a12 head, it simply inspires confidence, with its iron-on-steroids look and the way the face seems to sit a hair open, reducing the fear of a nasty snap hook. The black finish frames the ball nicely, almost begging you to hit it on the sweet spot.
Because of the loft and the design characteristics, the a12 worked best for me off the tee or from the fairway, although it definitely plays better out of the rough than my fairway woods and I've also had success hitting it from low-lip fairway bunkers. The real question for me is whether I even need to carry a 3 wood now that the Idea Pro a12 is in the bag.
After more than two dozen rounds with the Adams Idea Tech V3 and the Adams Idea Pro a12, I'm sold on Adams hybrids as a very effective way to make the game of golf easier. By adding hybrids and eliminating long irons, there's increased confidence into long par 3s and off the tee for short par 4s.
Having the ability to test both offerings, it's remarkable how easy and reliable the Adams Idea Tech V3 hybrid is to hit from fairway or trouble and into greens thanks to a high ball flight that helps hold the green.
The Adams Idea Pro a12 is certainly a club that helps make a good player better, with its laser-like accuracy, supreme workability and a look at address that instills confidence.
Regardless of your handicap, I'm confident you'll find an Adams hybrid that fits your game.