Back in the early 1990s Adams looked at the fairway wood and decided they could make it more forgiving if the top section was at the bottom. So they turned the club upside down and the Tight Lies range of woods was created, which as the name implies were very good at getting the ball away from tight fairway lies.
Twenty years later the lies in the fairway have not improved but the Tight Lies range of woods has been re-launched by the new look Adams that is now owned by TaylorMade. Indeed this is the first club from the Adams featuring their new logo.
The first thing I wanted to see when the Tight Lies arrived was to see if that distinctive sole had made it to the new design and I am pleased to say that it has. It may look a little odd but trust me that it works. The unique low centre section on the face drops the sweet spot and from good lies and bad you feel as though the clubface reaches down to pick up the ball. Even with a 16 degree 3-wood it was very easy to get the ball up and away from deep lies in the rough.
The other thing this design gives you is a lot of playability from a varitey of lies as the low centre portion on the sole is then cambered towards the heel and toe, much more so than any other club around. In its day the original Tight Lies and the Callaway War Bird sole mastered the cambered sole, so it is great to see this back.
Some of the high lofted 19 or 22 degree models could be perfect for getting the ball out of semi-rough or even low lipped fairway bunkers and this is probably where they club will appeal most. They are almost hybrid like in their size and performance so if you like using hybrids but prefer the style of fairways then this could be the wood for you.
The other main feature, or I should say features, on the Tight Lies fairway is the now familiar Adams slots on the top and the bottom of the club head. Adams were the first to use slots in the clubhead and it is no surprise to see them introduced to the tight lies range.
The 'Velocity Slot Technology' enables the club to increase the ball speed right across the face as it will flex a little more on impact. Adams have maxed out on this by having a slot on the top and bottom of the club and allowing the face to 'float' separately to the crown.
Now the face won't fall off as having a complete gap through the club is not permitted and because the slots are filled with a polymer to also stop dirt getting in.
The slots do seem to the do the job very well as right across the face the club was very forgiving and any off-centre hits did not seem to lose much distance.
The slot on top of the clubhead seems to dominate the view at address and the clubhead is actually quite compact for 3-woods these days. For the mid-handicapper market that this is aimed at, I would say the 3-wood could be a little on the small side, even if the performance makes it seem like a larger club.
The flight on the ball was in line with the market average and not as high as I initally thought it might be. The slots do their job well and like most Adam's clubs the stability is very good and up there with the Adams Super S Fairway that comes with larger head.
However it is probably suited to those who want to get the ball going straight as the design meant that it was quite hard to shape shots, which is good for a head this size. The sound and feel were very good and again belied the size of the clubhead with a nice solid sound at impact.
The Bassara Eagle shaft from Mitsubishi Rayon is 55 grams in the 3 wood model and this is much lighter than fairway wood shafts have traditionally been. One of the big advances in recent years has been the ability to make lightweight shafts that maintain their rigidity and certainly this shaft in the stiff flex feels as stiff as many other heavier stiff shafts, but with the added benefit of less weight so you can generate more club head speed.
The silver and black graphics on the shaft look very classy and it is topped of with an Adams grip with rougher cut-away sections for where your fingers should be. No good if you don't use a neutral grip, but for the rest of us it is a nice touch and makes the club feel secure in your hands.
Overall the 21st century version of the Adams Tight Lies fairway wood is a very good modern take on one of the classic designs in golf. The head delivers performance beyond what you think it's size will allow you to do and the forgiveness was very impressive.
The cambered sole and low centre point on the face make this one of the best fairway woods in the market for getting the ball out of lush lies as well as tight ones and therefore mid-handicappers should definitely try this out.