I was very fortunate to "get the shaft" recently ... but I had to decide which shaft I should get and what club I should put it in. I'm happy with all of my clubs, but my 3 wood is the oldest club – and therefore the oldest technology - in my bag so that is where I decided to focus. I don't have a local pro shop where I can test clubs, so I scoured the internet for reviews and information and selected the Adams Insight XTD a3 3 Hybrid-FW ... quite a mouthful, that.
Since I still consider this to be an experiment, I purchased a "slightly used" club from a guy on eBay, who in turn had purchased it from someone else on eBay just a few weeks earlier. I asked him why he was selling it so quickly and he responded: "I found a Callaway Fusion 3 Wood to match my driver for a great price. I hit the Adams super straight but a little lower than I wanted. Good luck!" The club arrived in superb condition just a few days later.
Before having the new shaft installed, I wanted to first take the new club for a spin in its stock configuration (with the Adila DVS 65-S shaft) to compare it head-to-head with my current 3 wood, a Taylor Made Series 300 with the stock 90-S Taylor Made fiberglass shaft.
Before I get into the review, here are the marketing bullet points from Adams, comparing the XTD a3 to a "traditional fairway wood"
- Increased ball speed for a hotter, longer ball flight.
- 11 yards more distance compared to conventional oversized fairway woods.
- Unique sole shaping and design results in 22% less turf drag that increases versatility and playability off the ground.
- Increased inertial properties around the hosel achieves 41% more MOI for greater forgiveness.
And with that preamble out of the way, here are my thoughts after about 20-25 swings at the range:
At address, the club doesn't really look all that different from a regular 3 wood ... a bit squarer on the trailing edge, perhaps, but not nearly as radical as some of the new square drivers. The face of the club is not very deep, not even as deep as my old Taylor Made, but I didn't really have any trouble keeping my hits on the face, even when hitting off a tee.
The club is only 42" long, about an inch shorter than a typical graphite-shafted 3 wood ... a nod to the "Hybrid" Fairway Wood (or Hybrid-FW for short) marketing. But it seems to me that requires the clubhead to work extra hard to gain the claimed additional ball speed and distance because a shorter shaft would normally translate into slower clubhead speeds.
On my first address the clubhead wanted to stay closed a bit, so I experimented with clubhead alignment with fairly predicable results each time, and after about 6 or 8 swings I was able to comfortably address the ball with the club face in about any position I wanted. That can be considered both good news and bad, depending on the player, I suppose, but it's very easy to align the bright shiny face against the very dark top of the club so I personally don't consider it a problem.
Club performance was a bit erratic, which I blame mostly on the operator ... part of the problem was probably due to the short club length because I was still trying to swing the club like a regular 3 wood ... when I settled down and tried to swing it like my 2-iron hybrid I started getting better results. Lesson learned: don't overswing the club.
Consistent with the comments from the club's previous owner, the ball flight was lower than I had expected from a club marketed as a "Hybrid-FW". For this session, I hit all of the shots off a tee, about ½" to ¾" high, and I was skinning the grass a couple inches out in front of the tee (for better or worse, I hit down on everything except the driver). The sound at impact was fairly high pitched and solid, with only a little bit of a "ping" ... a bit more distinctive than the lower-pitched metallic "click" of my Taylor Made.
The local range is not a good place for checking club distances, especially for longer clubs ... there is a ridge about 150 yards out that makes it tough to see exactly where the balls land ... but in any case, I certainly was not getting 11 additional yards from the XTD, and it seemed that I was perhaps even getting a bit less distance, which I attributed mostly to the shorter shaft and the slightly lower ball flight.
The 65g stock shaft is very light and gives the impression of swinging a weight at the end of a string, as opposed to the 90g shaft on my Taylor Made, which feels more like swinging a stick (I've exaggerated for effect, but the difference was very noticeable). I felt more consistent swinging the Taylor Made, with less directional deviation on my shots ... but perhaps that had more to do with my familiarity with that club.
I've dropped the club and new shaft off at my local golfsmith dude and we have agreed on the settings, so check back soon for Part 2 of this review, where I will discuss my impressions of the club with my new UST shaft in it!