Adams Golf, recently purchased by TaylorMade Golf, is in the process of discovering its new identity. Adams has been a technological leader, especially in metal woods and hybrids, for many years, but many have bestowed a mostly unfair reputation as an ‘old man brand’ upon them.
2013 brings two new Adams drivers to market, the Speeline Super S and the Speedline Super LS. Both are packed with style and technology. The subject of this review is the Super LS, with its sister driver to follow in the coming days.
Information from Adams Golf
Velocity Slot Technology in a Driver
The slot in the sole of the club is deeper in the heel and toe to increase the sweet spot across the face. This expansion of the sweet spot provides golfers with consistently higher ball speeds for consistently longer drives.
With a CG low and back in the clubhead, the SUPER LS Driver maximizes gear effect to produce very low spin (the lowest of any previous Adams driver) without sacrificing launch. This combined with the deep face design creates a driver that high launch and low spin players have been longing to hit.
Fast Fit Adjustability
The SUPER LS Driver will feature Adams’ Fast Fit fitting system, which allows for extensive adjustability. You have the ability to adjust face angle, length and swing weight to fine tune this driver for maximum performance to better your own game.
Matte White Crown
The SUPER LS Driver features a matte white finish on the crown, and a contrasting PVD face. The combination of the two makes the club look larger at address and more easy to align, which will give you more confidence to hit driver off of any tee.
Description and Aesthetics
It would be impossible not to notice the obvious TaylorMade influence imparted on the Speedline Super line of drivers. Both are now sporting a white paint job, along with some graphics on the crown. The Super LS was given the more subtle look on top, with light gray graphics and alignment aid. The crown contrasts dramatically with the black face and sole for a very mean looking driver. The Super LS possesses an unquestionably deep face and a rounded profile overall. To expand on the white, black, and gray theme, the stock Mitsubishi Kuro Kage shaft conveniently comes in a gray/black color combo. The driver presents a perfectly matched set of colors and really does stand out from the crowd.
New to the LS series of drivers in 2013 is Adams’ Velocity Slot Technology (VST). While we are hearing so much talk about the Velocity Slot in terms of distance (especially in fairway woods and hybrids), it’s serving a different purpose in the driver – forgiveness. Adams claims that it effectively enlarges the ‘sweet spot’ on the driver, which should provide more consistency on off-center hits.
Adams always seems to offer highly sought-after shafts in their drivers, and the Super LS continues that trend with a stock Mitsubishi Kuro Kage, weighing 60 grams at 45 inches long. I actually became quite smitten with this shaft during the testing, though I think it’s probably a little lower launching/spinning than I require. It’s got a certain smoothness that is hard to explain in words, but really left me with a favorable impression.
Here are a couple blurbs about this shaft from www.mitsubishirayongolf.com:
This innovative shaft design would not have been technically possible as little as two or three years ago. Our team of engineers has found a way to create High Density Prepreg: A prepreg material with 15% more carbon fiber and much less resin (20% vs. 33%) than found in most shaft prepreg. By changing the proportions of fiber to resin, and by using High Density Prepreg at specific points along the shaft, we’re able to add strength – while at the same time increasing feel – like never before.
The result: a potent combination of power and responsiveness.
KURO KAGE™ Black Wood Series features Mitsubishi’s signature “smooth” bend profile, offering balanced stiffness along the entire length of the shaft. Our High Density Prepreg is positioned in the lower third of the shaft to enhance feel and stability.
The Super LS comes with a head cover that is a change for Adams, a company that’s always had some very functional offerings in that department. It has a wide opening at the bottom and appears to be made of very sturdy leather with substantial padding inside. It certainly reminds me of the Cleveland Classic driver’s head cover, though it’s much more substantial in build. I love the way the head cover looks, though I felt it was a little more difficult to get on and off than I expected. The Super LS also came with a nifty leather pouch for carrying the adjustment wrench and some other pieces of hardware that I’ll talk about later.
The only aesthetic feature that I didn’t care for was the sound the driver produced at impact. I’d characterize it as a hollow, high-pitched and very loud sound. This driver may turn a few heads at the driving range, and not just because of the way it looks.
Fast Fit Adjustability
Fast Fit is not a new feature from Adams, but it is a pretty unique take on adjustability. The Super LS has three stock lofts to choose from (8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°) and Fast Fit enables adjustments of ±1° from there. In addition to that, there is a setting for an upright lie angle, which should help promote more of a draw bias. Adjustments are simple enough to make by loosening a screw and rotating the hosel to change the angle of the face. There isn’t an adjustment that changes the look of the face angle to the user’s preference as we are seeing in many drivers this year, so adding loft will give the appearance of a closed face and vise-versa.
Adams uses a torque wrench with a triangular shaped end, rather than matching the star shape that TaylorMade uses. I think there’s some room for improvement there. Having the ability to use one common wrench among the two brands would be helpful, especially now that they are so closely related.
The other element to Fast Fist Adjustability that is unique to Adams is that the driver’s length can be altered. Each Super LS comes with the hardware needed to increase length by ½ inch. That hardware includes an extender, a longer screw, and a different weight for inserting into the back of the head. The idea behind the weight is that a length adjustment can be done without altering swing weight. I have mixed feelings about this feature, though I can see some value in it. I think starting out at a 44.5 inch length as a stock option and allowing adjustment from there would be more attractive to me, but that’s a personal preference.
Speedline Super LS testing consisted of both on-course and indoor testing using a Vector launch monitor. The driver used was 9.5° in loft with the Kuro Kage stiff shaft.
I mentioned the Kuro Kage shaft earlier, but I’ll reiterate that I really did like many of the things it had to offer. I think one needs to swing it to believe it, but I thought it was among the smoothest feeling shafts I’ve tested in a while. At 45 inches long, the Super LS set up nicely and was quite easy to swing and control. On course, I felt like it was one of the more controllable drivers I’ve swung from the 2013 crop.
What I gained in feel and control, I felt like I lost in ball height. My ball flight with the Super LS was probably mid-height at absolute best and I think I’d need to change that before it found a permanent spot in my bag. I will say that I typically hit a lower ball off the tee to start with, so those of you that don’t have that issue may find a better end result there than I did. Launch angle was actually pretty good, and a change in loft made it even better, but this was one of the lowest spinning drivers I’ve hit. I made up a large percentage of my distance via roll on the ground. That could be a good thing in the windy Midwest for much of the year, but I’m not sure it’s ideal for me. As a side note, I did let a more accomplished, faster swinging player take some swings with the Super LS and he was very happy with his ball height and carry distance. As always, try before you buy is the best advice I can offer.
For a deeper faced driver, I was impressed with performance on off-center hits. Ball speeds didn’t suffer a great deal and, as previously mentioned, I was able to keep the ball surprisingly straight. I can’t definitively comment on whether that’s related to the Velocity Slot, but my perception was that the Super LS was more forgiving that it looked.
If I were building the perfect driver for me, I’d easily take some elements from the Speedline Super LS. I was a big fan of how it looked and set up at address, not to mention how easy it was for me to control. As much as I liked the Kuro Kage shaft, from a personal fitting standpoint, I don’t know if it was exactly right for me. I’d certainly like to try a higher lofted Super LS head or possibly a different flex shaft to get my ball height up a bit. Regardless of that, I think it could be a fine fit for many folks out there seeking a low spin head with a little added forgiveness. My two biggest suggestions for improvement are related to sound and integrating the design of the torque wrench to match what TaylorMade is producing. In all, it’s definitely a driver I’d put on the must try list for 2013. For more information, including technical specs, you can visit www.adamsgolf.com.