The vast circular range on Demo Day at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, is the place to be if you want to find out the latest golf equipment trends and the gear we'll all be talking about in 2015.
I took the opportunity to catch up with Michael Fox, Director of Product Creation and Line Management for Adams Golf, to find out about their latest utility offering, the Red Hybrid.
Hi Michael. Can you tell us about the Adams Red hybrid and where the inspiration for the club came from?
The Red hybrid is based on the original shape of the Pro hybrid that we came out with 8 years ago and that was the club that took Adams from number 4 or number 5 in hybrids, really a small company that created Tight Lies, to the number 1 company in hybrids in the space of a year.
We have been making iterations of that original shape for the last eight years, but this club is the closest to that original we have ever created.
The big piece that players really like from the original club is the flat leading edge from the upside down shape so it plays much more like an iron.
It also has a very neutral CG location which makes it very workable and it doesn’t go left, so we have taken that shape and added the Cut-Thru Sole velocity slot and we have added our Ghost Slot on the top. So what we have done with the Red hybrid is taken the number 1 hybrid on Tour and made it work much better for everybody.
To do that we have added three adjustable weights on the sole underneath the removable red sole plate. The weights are a 25g tungsten weight and two 2g plastic weights.
If you put the 25g weight in the toe it is much better for Tour players as they can now play it aggressively with their hands just like an iron and it definitely won’t go left.
If you put the 25g weight in the heel it now makes it much better for amateur players who may have slices and who need the centre of gravity (CG) location created by this movement. We can move the CG half an inch across the face, from full left position to full right position, which is a significant amount.
By moving the centre of gravity position you can move the Red hybrid from being the most fade biased hybrid on the market to the most draw biased hybrid on the market, so it is a very cool club that can be set up to be better for Tour players or better amateurs.
Aaaron Baddeley tested the club last week and he has never played a hybrid before and he said it is the best hybrid he has ever tried and it is actually the first hybrid he has ever taken home and thought about playing and hopefully he will have it in the bag this year.
The head shape seems more compact compared to some competitor hybrids?
The Red hybrid has a smaller shape that goes against the market trends where we are seeing the size of them increase, up to 120cc, in the search for an extra couple of yards. The Red hybrid is 95cc because better players like the smaller head shape to allow them to work the ball and for amateur golfers who play from a lot of different areas of the course the smaller shape will make it easier to hit from a number of different lies.
So there is still a slot that is hidden on the top of the club?
Yes it is called the Ghost Slot and we think it is a really great feature for the club. We have had a lot of feedback over the years saying we don’t like the look of the slot on the crown and we did some consumer research that said 70% of golfers aren't interested in a club with a crown slot so we knew we had to fix that.
We didn’t want to give up any of the performance gains that the slot offered, so we filled it with a proprietary material from 3M that still flexes. Therefore you get all the benefits of the slot, but at address it looks beautiful and you have no issues or distractions from a visible slot.
Tell me a bit about the shaft that you have got in the Red Hybrid.
The shaft we have is the new Matrix Altus Tour. The original Matrix Altus Tour came out in 2011 and it was the first hybrid shaft and it took Matrix to the number one hybrid shaft on tour.
Matrix are re-launching the Altus Tour with the Red Hybrid and currently we will be the only people offering the shaft as the stock option. It is a mid launch shaft with a stiffer tip and is designed to make the club more workable for better players.
Even though it is called a Tour shaft, is it still playable for the average golfer?
Yes, it is a very playable shaft. What Matrix does, that is really nice, is that they flight the torque and the tip flex depending on the flex of shaft. From the regular flex, to stiff, to extra stiff, the torque levels and the tip stiffness really transitions across the shafts. So if you have the regular flex you will have no problem playing the shaft, but if you are a better player going for the stiffer shaft, it is exactly what you want as it has a super stiff tip so you can play it like an iron.
The feedback we get from Tour players is they don’t like hybrids if they go left or they don’t like them if they feel that they can’t knock them down like low irons, especially in Europe, where one of the biggest issues we've had in the past is that on the European Tour the general hybrid count is low.
The combination of the Red hybrid and the Matrix shaft allows us to get a very boring trajectory and, as result of the central CG that is a little higher on the face, it is a lot easier to knock it down.
So the CG in this club is higher than in the Tight Lies?
Yes, we do that to make it a much more workable golf club. It comes in lofts of 16°, 18°, 20°, 23° and 26° which is quite a large range.
We tend to have a lot of the higher lofts in play on the LPGA Tour and a lot of the lower lofts in play on the European Tour and a lot of the mid lofts on the PGA Tour. As we are the number one hybrid across all of those Tours it is important for us to have all those lofts available because the Red Hybrid is the club they are all asking for.
Is there a particular hybrid that this is replacing?
This is replacing the Adams Pro Hybrid that we released last year and that first included the Cut-Thru sole technology.
What are the differences between the Red Hybrid and the TaylorMade R15 Rescue from Adams' parent company?
The difference between this and the R15 Rescue is firstly the upside down shape. The R15 has a more traditional cambered sole.
What we really like, and it is something Adams has the patent for, is the upside down shape that has been very successful for us as it gives us the flat leading edge that means you can play it just like an iron, compared to the hybrids that have a more cambered shape.
For us we tend to see from player testing a more descending blow and a steeper swing angle which this shaping is ideal for compared to for example the shape of the R15.
The other difference is the adjustability provided by the three weights that is not available in the R15, as well as the crown slot that again is not present on the R15 hybrid.
TaylorMade’s R15 is a really fantastic hybrid, but the Adams Red Hybrid will still be the number one model on Tour and we expect a lot of the TaylorMade Tour staff to play this model.