Adams Golf's tight lies fairway woods will be available on August 15.
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Remember Adams Golf's Tight Lies fairway woods? Most golfers who were playing the game in the late 1990s probably do. Originally introduced in 1996 by founder Barney Adams, Tight Lies became an overnight sensation due to its low profile, low center of gravity and upside-down head design.
At a time when golfers were having trouble getting the ball in the air with a fairway wood, Tight Lies filled a necessary void in the marketplace with a club that allowed golfers to get the ball airborne from 180-220 yards to the green.
While the original Tight Lies has long since been replaced by fairway woods with deeper, and hotter, faces, Adams Golf believes its updated version of Tight Lies, set to hit retail shelves on August 15, cannot only contend with the longest fairway woods on the market — it will also be easier to hit off the ground.
"Fairway woods are definitely longer than they were when Tight Lies first came out," said Mike Fox, Adams' director of global product marketing. "But if you look at the super-deep faces on today's fairway woods, we've seen most players use them predominately off the tee and rarely off the deck. We believe Tight Lies can fill that void."
According to Fox, the new 42 1/2-inch Tight Lies fairway wood retained the same low-profile shape and low center of gravity that made the original so popular. The face height of the head measures out to 1.18 inches from leading edge to the crown, which is 20 percent shorter than today's fairway woods.
At 133 cubic centimeters, the updated Tight Lies head is also 25 percent smaller than the average fairway wood.
With a lower profile and smaller head, Adams needed to find a way to add some punch to Tight Lies. Enter two "velocity slots" — one on the crown and another on the sole that are completely unsupported and covered on the back by a grey polymer that flexes and acts like a spring at impact.
"To give you an idea how important the velocity slot is, Tight Lies has been in development for about six months. The slot has been in development for about three years," Fox said. "Our new velocity cut through slot is without question the most advanced slot that's ever been created. Being able to create a complete cut through slot that's unsupported allows you to get more energy behind the ball, which in turn gives you added distance."
Unlike the original "velocity slots" design on the Super S that went straight down under the crown to the sole, the updated slots on Tight Lies slope down to the crown, making it 10 percent more effective at impact.
The slot design gives Tight Lies a Characteristic time — also know as CT, it's the term the USGA uses to describe a club's spring-like effect — value of 220, which is double the original Tight Lies (110) and very close to the USGA CT limit at 237.
Aside from the slot technology, Fox noted that, like the original, the new version of Tight Lies has a center of gravity that's lower and back of center in the club head, thereby allowing the ball to get airborne with ease.
When it comes out in mid-August, Tight Lies will have the lowest center of gravity of any fairway wood on the market.
"This club is going to give players the best of both worlds," Fox said. "You'll be able to get the ball in the air but also have the necessary distance and spin to hit this club with confidence from numerous lies — deep rough, sidehill, fairway. And with a 42 1/2-inch shaft it's also that much more controllable."
Tight Lies will debut a 16-degree model on August 15 — Fox said the company decided to bring the 16-degree to retail first because it was the loft on the original Tight Lies — and roll out 14-, 19-, and 22-degree versions in November. All of the retail versions will come with a stock Mitsubishi Bassara shaft.
The company will also release a 14.5-degree Tight Lies Tour version that has a slightly deeper face and produces a lower ball flight with less spin. The Tour version comes with an Aldila Tour Blue shaft.
Although most would probably expect TOUR players to use the Tight Lies Tour version, Kenny Perry and Tom Watson actually tested the retail version last week at The Greenbrier Classic.
"Guys like Kenny Perry and Tom Watson want a club they can get in the air," Fox said. "What it goes to show you is that TOUR players see benefits in the retail version."
The retail version of Tight Lies will be available on August 15 in a 16-degree model for $199, with 14-, 19-, and 22-degree versions coming out in November. Tight Lies Tour (14.5 degrees) will be available in mid-August for $229.