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|The "velocity slots" in the head of the Speedline Fast 12 fairway woods deliver an impressive punch. (Courtesy of Adams Golf)|
Adams Golf revolutionized the fairway wood with the introduction of the Tight Lies line in the late 1990s. With the introduction in 2011 of the Speedline Fast 12 line, the company is hoping to make a similar impact on the industry.
The Speedline Fast 12 fairway woods ($250) feature a number of innovative design features, from the shaft down to the clubface. The result is an extremely hot club that, when placed in the right hands, can rival -- or surpass -- the performance of any other fairway wood on the market.
Straight out of the box, you notice a number of distinctive features of the Speedline Fast 12. First, and most obvious, are the "velocity slots" on both the crown and sole of the clubhead. The Fast 12 velocity slots are "Second Generation Velocity Slot Technology," which means, says Adams Golf, that there's a "slot within a slot."
Let's ignore the potential infinite regress that a continuation of this technology could result in.
Instead, let's focus on the theory behind the technology: By effectively partially suspending the clubface between the heel and toe, the goal is to produce more spring off the clubface.
Another noticeable feature is the matte finish on the clubhead, which matches the sort of rough, almost gritty finish on the stock Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue shaft. Graffaloy calls this Speedcoat Technology, and the idea is to disrupt airflow a bit around the surface of the shaft to cut down air resistance -- the same idea behind the dimple on the golf ball.
Do these design features actually affect distance? Kenny Perry, PGA Tour professional and Adams staff player, became a believer in VST when during his initial test his carry distance increased from 254 yards using his previous three-wood to 289 yards. "This is the hottest three-wood I have ever hit," Perry said. "This thing is a rocket. I gained 35 yards, which definitely made me feel young again."
Well, I'm no Kenny Perry, so I thought I should give the 15-degree three-wood (stiff Grafallowy ProLaunch shaft) my own test.
The clubface of the Speedline Fast 12 is quite compact, so for a low double-digit handicapper such as myself, it looks like you need to be pretty precise in finding the sweet-spot. When I succeeded in doing so, the ball rifled off the clubface. When I failed to hit the center of the face, though, distance and direction were significantly affected.
Most of all, however, I found the trajectory of all of my shots -- good and bad -- to be quite low. Now it's not necessarily a bad thing to hit a ball 250 yards on the fly, never higher than seven feet off the ground. The run on these shots was astounding, actually. Off a tee, I was able to raise the ball flight some; but off the turf, low bullets were the normal result. However, even off a tee, it felt to me like the margin of error between a powerful, piercing ball flight and a super-low runner was too thin for comfort.
Considering that the problem was probably more me (and my inconsistent swing) than the Speedline Fast 12, I took the club to my home course, where I found Seth Trolia, a +1-handicap, NCAA Div. I golfer at Bradley University, and asked him to hit it a few times for me.
Trolia immediately commented on the very same features noted above: compact head with those signature slots, matte finish and pebbly feel of the shaft.
On the range, Trolia had no trouble getting the ball in the air from either turf or tee. (So it was me, not the Speedline.)
More impressively, though, after a few big hits, Trolia said, "It feels like I'm killing it."
And then, after a few more rockets that landed somewhere near or beyond the end of the range, "I don't carry my three-wood that far. This is really long. I like the way it sounds, too."
Then, after calling a few draws, fades and straight balls, a final, simple judgment was passed: "I like it."
Adams Golf's reputation was built on fairway woods, and they still have the magic touch. The Speedline Fast 12 is innovative and powerful. High-level golfers -- be they pros or college players -- will be able to capitalize on its high-performance capabilities.
Higher handicappers will want to demo it a bit first, though, and test various shaft flex options. There's no question it performs, but it will need to be fitted to individual swings. The Speedline Fast 12 line comes in two versions, regular and draw-biased, in lofts from 13.5 to 19 degrees, along with four shaft flexes, so there is some combination to fit most players.
For more information, visit adamsgolf.com.
August 14, 2012
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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