You always have to admire people who buck the trend and, in the age of jumbo-sized howitzer golf clubs, Adams Golf continues to plough its own furrow of smaller-headed woods. It is necessary though to declare an interest here because I was a fan of the original Tight Lies woods and happily carried one in my bag for a few years.
So when the chance came to test the new Ovation 3-wood ScottishGolf immediately said 'yes' on two grounds - the fact that we already liked at least one of the company's products, and that it was a 3-wood. In this age of easy-to-hit drivers and rescue/utility clubs the 3-wood is in danger of being neglected, which would be a great shame because we all need a stand-by that we know we can hit straight on tight holes where distance is not such an issue.
The other attraction of the Adams Ovation is that it is supposedly good from rough and not such good lies as it is from the fairway and fringe. We opted for the offset (15 degree loft; 59 degree lie) model with a regular flex shaft but there's a whole host of variations from which to choose. First impressions, however, were not immediately favourable. The club comes with a hideous lime green and black head cover that could quite put you off your breakfast. Having said that, it covers only the clubhead (not like those huge things that also protect half the shaft but which always seem to get caught up in your golf bag) and is designed in such a way that it can be slipped on with just one hand. It's a small point but it does get tedious having to stand a club upside down on your foot, to avoid the grip getting muddy or wet, and having to use both hands to apply something that resembles an over-grown condom.
The club itself looks neat and definitely small, which in our eyes is a bonus, although the green theme extends to the excellent Aldila graphite shaft, although in a slightly more muted shade than the head cover. The main design characteristic that separates Adams from other woods, apart from the small head, is that the centre of gravity is towards the bottom of the clubhead, supposedly making it easier to hit from the deck.
It's a theory that works.
The first shot I hit with it was from the fairway fringe on a par five that I usually come nowhere reaching, so I was expecting to lay up about 20 yards short, at best. In fact my ball just crept onto the green and left me in the unusual position of putting for eagle. I missed, of course, but it was a great way to start a new relationship. Subsequent shots from the fairway, fringe and even the rough were all equally rewarding and I was beginning to sing the praises of this club to anyone who would listen.
My only problems came when I tried to hit it from the tee. I was teeing the ball up low, barely half-an-inch above the turf, but seemed always to hit it from the bottom of the club, with the result that the ball rarely climbed above 10 feet. It continued to fly straight and went a reasonable distance but the feel of club meeting ball wasn't satisfying. Eventually I decided to do away with the tee altogether, which was more difficult than you might think. In golf we get few advantages so I like to take as many as are going, and being able to tee the ball up at the beginning of a hole is one of them.
In this case, however, having now experimented a few times, I am happy to hit this 3-wood only from the deck and it continues to convince me that it wants to be my new best friend. It is certainly a club to try if youre one of those who has difficulty getting the ball airborne when it's not teed up.
But even if you can get plenty of elevation, it's still worth having because it delivers good distance, especially from less than favourable lies. No club will rescue you from all the sticky places you put your ball but this will give you at least a good chance from most. Recommended.
For more information, go to www.adamsgolf.com
|| 15 - APRIL 2004