Adams Golf first began to really make a name for itself in the mid-1990s when infomercials for its Tight Lies fairway wood took over cable airways, particularly the newly created Golf Channel. Here's a taste of those ads, pitched by a legendary sportscaster, the late Jack Whitaker:
All the made-for-TV golf club tropes are there, from ease to hit to laser-like accuracy. However, the difference between the Tight Lies and many other infomercial goods that the fairway wood from Adams seemed actually to work and quickly gained in popularity. From there, Adams Golf spent the better part of two decades rapidly growing into a significant, full-line golf brand. Its fairway woods and hybrids, in particular, were among the best in the game and saw use from big-name pro tour players.
That came to an end in 2012 when TaylorMade acquired the brand. Soon Adams Golf as a brand was no more as TaylorMade was more after their designs and technology, which undoubtedly influenced the next few generations of TM woods and hybrids. That changed in late 2020. After dropping hints on social media, TaylorMade released a new Adams-branded golf club for the first time since the acquisition. Not only that, but the release was for a Tight Lies fairway wood, sold only as a direct-to-consumer club and with a full infomercial to boot.
My Experience with the new Adams Tight Lies
When Adams announced the new Tight Lies fairway wood, I was intrigued and also nostalgic. One of the first clubs I bought with my own money when I started golfing was a used Tight Lies Air Assault three wood, and I had that club for a long time.
I couldn't resist heading to the Tight Lies website and checking things out. Something I immediately noticed on that site is that the TaylorMade name isn't anywhere. This remained true even after the order, as all confirmations and emails were branded only as Adams.
In the end, the only time I saw the TaylorMade name was on the FedEx tracking site as they were listed as the sender. This suggests that this new Tight Lies release is an experiment for TM, or maybe just a one-off, and they want to keep the brand separate.
Regardless, after watching the commercial and reading through the testimonials, I was on the hook as bad as any late-night infomercial watcher and ready to buy. What did I have to lose with four interest-free payments of $44.99 and a 30-day moneyback guarantee?
First off, I will say that the club's order and shipping process was quick and easy. About a week after the order, I had the new club in hand. Out of the box, everything about the Tight Lies seemed to be legitimate. There aren't really any customization options with the club as you can only choose between a 3 wood and 5 wood in regular or stiff flex. It is built with a decent quality Aldila Synergy shaft, Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip, and a good headcover. All in all, the quality seemed fair for a $180 fairway wood.
As for the club design, there are clear and strong influences from the original Tight Lies club. I found an old wood for comparison, and here are the faces side-by-side.
The shape is nearly identical, with the famous tri-sole and low profile, just oversized in the new club. A few more new features are an extended face, which gives a bit more forgiveness if you get too far under the ball, and a "velocity slot" in the sole. That slot might stand out as a trademark TaylorMade feature but is actually an Adams original that TM has continued to incorporate into their clubs since the acquisition.
Like the old Tight Lies, this club's pitch comes down to high, straight, forgiving shots from various lies. Based on extensive use over the past two weeks, I have to say that this club delivers, honestly exceeding my expectations. While my handicap, currently around 7, might be slightly lower than the target golfer for this club, I'm by no means a pure ball-striker. That said, my shots with the Tight Lies were unusually high and stayed in play. Here are some recent stats from Arccos using the club both off the tee and second shots.
There are deliberate design choices that make this club hit high and reasonably straight. At 16 degrees, the 3 wood loft is 2-3 degrees weaker than most modern 3 woods, giving a higher launch. Additionally, I noticed that the club seemed to sit somewhat closed at address, helping prevent a slice. Beyond these design cheats, though, I'm confident that a lot is going on inside the clubhead as well to make it so forgiving.
For example, a pushed drive left me in the rough around 230 yards from the green on a short par 5. The ball had a clean lie but was between two mounds leaving me a very awkward stance. Usually, I'd never try a long club from this position, but I decided to give the Tight Lies a shot, choking down slightly and taking a full swing. I was happy to get a high, straight shot that finished about 20 yards short of the green and a good birdie opportunity. I was outright shocked when I looked at the clubface and saw the strike point clearly marked as I couldn't imagine getting such a good looking shot from that location.
The new Adams Tight Lies isn't a miracle club. With a design focused on forgiveness, it won't be the longest fairway wood out there by any means, even at the same loft. Anecdotally, I'd say I could get an extra 10 yards or so from a good strike with a TaylorMade SIM 3 wood or similar. Additionally, the visuals of the club and the impact sound are okay. Not awful or distracting by any means, but nothing impressive.
For me, the bottom line for the new Adams Tight Lies fairway wood is that they've built an excellent club for the price. If you're a golfer who struggles to get woods up into the air or needs more forgiveness from long clubs, then it might be a legitimate option. There's definitely some risk as you can't try it before you buy it, but with the 30 days, no questions asked return policy, some of that risk is mitigated.
- Very easy to hit
- High launch from a variety of strikes
- Significantly cheaper than current OEM brands
- Less distance than comparable woods
- You can't try before you buy
Last, while some golfers might appreciate the throw-back return to the infomercial club vibe, that might also be a turn-off, especially for younger golfers unfamiliar with the original Adams clubs. I'm not sure what plans TaylorMade has for the Adams name or the Tight Lies club from here, but just like the original I had 20+ years ago, I think that this wood could keep a spot in my bag for a while.