Adam's shallow-faced formulaPRODUCT REVIEW

Polite Applause for the Adams Ovation

By Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer

AMHERST, Mass. (June 6, 2004) -- Paul Ryiz, long-time western Massachusetts golf pro., driving range owner, and pro-shop proprietor picked up one of the new Adams Ovation fairway woods and remarked how they were already flying off the shelf. "This is the best deal on the market right now," said Ryiz.

This was early March, and the sleet was still falling heavily in New England. By all accounts, the Ovation is still moving briskly, and with an MSRP of $150 per club (complete with Aldila graphite shaft), it is still a bargain.

Adams Golf revolutionized the fairway wood market when it introduced the Tight Lies fairway woods in the mid-90s. Suddenly shallow-faced clubs were everywhere, and the journey toward today's hybrid iron-woods had begun. Then came a stock scandal and a parade of similar clubhead designs, and Adams appeared to flounder.

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2003 marked a resurgence in the brand, however, and Adams signed high-profile Senior Tour pros like Tom Watson and Bruce Lietzke to promote their low-profile clubs. 2004 continues the company's revival, and the Ovation fairway woods represent an updated reincarnation of the design that made Adams one of the hottest OEMs of the last decade.

The technology

Like all low-profile clubs, the center of gravity on the Ovation is low in order to promote a higher ball flight. In addition, Adams claims that the club has a high MOI (moment of inertia - or the amount of time the ball stays on the clubface) for forgiveness, and higher launch with lower spin for distance.

To be honest, these are the same claims that all fairway woods make. The real strength of the Ovation line is the variety of options for golfers of all types: There's the men's standard set (strong 3-wood to 11-wood (13- to 27-degrees loft)), the women's set (3-wood to 11-wood (17- to 29-degrees)), senior's set (3- to 11-wood (16- to 28-degrees)), and men's offset (3- to 11-wood (15- to 27-degrees)). Thus, just about anyone can find a club to fit their game.


We took our 13-degree strong 3-wood (stiff flex, mid kick-point shaft) to the range and the course for some testing. Since I am an aberration, and have less trouble getting long irons in the air than I do fairway woods, my own testing was expectedly inconsistent. Off the tee, the Ovation went nearly as far as my driver, if not as far. Off the turf, however, where the club's design is supposed to promote a high ball flight, I was only able to produce low to mid ball flight. The ball rolled forever, so the distance was still good, but the advertised long, high shots did not come easy.

Given my own freakish game, I took the Ovation to a high-ball-hitting 19-handicapper. He got the ball higher, but not any more so than his own component 3-wood. Another low-mid handicapper who had played extensively in Scotland noted that the Ovation would make the ball roll "a mile" on those rock-hard linksland courses. When a teaching pro was asked for his opinion, he was able to get the ball high, as advertised, however.

The verdict

The Ovation is ultra-sharp-looking, with its charcoal clubhead, green shaft (similar to the hot Aldila NV), and matching clubhead cover. Its classy look and traditional shallow-faced set-up inspire confidence as well. Our small sampling of players failed to find the Ovation any easier to get into the air than other 3-woods, but off the tee it was considerably longer than expected. A better fairway wood player did hit the club higher, though. On the other hand, our test model was the lowest loft available, so it is likely that higher lofts would produce higher shots. Our strong 3-wood model would be absolutely ideal on hard linksy fairways or in windy conditions, where the mid-height, penetrating ball flight would be straight and long.

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Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.