The Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are the latest offering intended to blend irons with hybrids in a seamless set. Adams Golf has been an innovator in the blended-iron/hybrid market for a few years. Their concepts have been ahead of industry trends.
While the general golfing public hasn’t picked up on the usefulness of such sets I see the wisdom in seamlessly pairing irons and hybrids. The days of your average golfer carrying a 2-iron (or 3-iron, or 4-iron…) are officially over. It’s become an anomaly to see a 2-iron in a professional’s bag. Hybrids hit the ball longer and higher than similarly lofted irons. The biggest draw for the average golfer is that hybrids are much easier to hit than irons.
Adams Golf obviously sees the potential of blended sets for making golf easier for the average player. The Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are intended to fill this niché. See how well they do…
Design and Technology
Adams has created another seamless set of hybrids and irons in their a3 category. “The progressive flow of the Idea a3 set includes three Boxer™ hybrids, two hollow-back mid-irons, and three cavity-back short irons,” said an Adams press release. They go on to describe the purpose and functionality of each subset of the Idea a3 Hybrid Irons:
The performance, playability and unique look of the Boxer™ hybrids set a new standard in the category. No other hybrids have achieved an MOI level of 3350 translating into more distance, accuracy and greater forgiveness. Next are the hollow-back 6 and 7 irons with progressive offset, which transition the launch conditions between the Boxer™ hybrids and the short irons for consistent yardage gapping. Rounding out the set are the 8-PW cavity-back short irons, which have been reshaped for maximum forgiveness and playability, yet will still appeal to the better player.
The Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are another offering in the blended-iron niché which Adams Golf pioneered. As Adams’ press release indicated, each subset (PW-8, 7-6, AND 5-3) is meant to maximize the effectiveness of this iron set.
The 5- through 3-hybrids are designed for maximum forgiveness:
The hybrids feature breakthrough shaping and offer a category-leading Moment of Inertia (MOI), which is up to 70% higher than the other leading hybrids in its class. This emphasis on hybrids, along with the transitional mix of hollow-back mid irons and cavity-back short irons takes hybrid iron set design to a new level.
Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are a uniform set of irons. Their appearance fits together from pitching wedge to 3-hybrid. My personal preference, in the interest of full disclosure, is for simpler looking clubs. The sole and cavity markings on the Idea a3 are a little too busy for my taste (as you’ll soon read this doesn’t affect playability).
The 6- and 7-irons are called “hollow-back” according to Adams which means that there is a little gap between the sole weighting and the face (bringing weight back slightly) whereas in the 8-PW the sole weighting is married to the back of the face. Adams calls these “cavity-back” irons.
The hybrids obviously led Adams to nickname these irons “boxer.” They are extremely boxy and a bigger than your average hybrid. They are somewhat like a smaller fairway wood in terms of overall size while retaining the general look of a hybrid iron. My first impression was that they were big. Again, based on looks alone I’m not crazy about the hybrids. Thankfully there’s more than good looks.
At address the irons are easy to look at. There is a generous amount of offset to help square the club at impact. Adams makes no mention of how much offset there is.
I was very pleased with how forgiving the Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons were. I had just finished reviewing Nike’s CCi Forged Irons when I started playing Adams’ a3 Hybrid Irons and the difference between the CCis and a3s is noteworthy. As you would expect the Adams a3s were more forgiving my a long shot, especially in the mid- to long-irons. I quickly found my rounds more enjoyable from a scoring perspective because the ball was ending up where I thought it might on a more regular basis.
One of the Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons best features is their seamless integration between short-, mid-, and long-irons. You don’t have to work hard to match lofts because Adams has done the work for you. They perform well as a set.
The Adams a3 Irons do not offer much in the way of feedback. What I mean is that they were designed for forgiveness. These are also cast and not forged. A general rule of thumb says that the more forgiving a club is the less feedback it will provide and the more feedback a club provides the less forgiving it will be. Your task is to balance the two in the best possible way for your game. Most players agree that feedback is a worthy attribute but not if your score suffers significantly.
For my money, the Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons have enough forgiveness to make the game a little easier. You have to hit the ball pretty far out on the toe or heel to notice a difference in feel. You’ll really have to skull one to notice if you hit the ball thin. What I’m saying is that they a3 Hybrid Irons are very forgiving. I like that they aren’t as big as some other irons. Callaway’s Fusion Wide Sole Irons are a good example of extreme forgiveness in extreme size. The Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are very forgiving while retaining a smaller footprint.
Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons have a higher ball flight than their lofts might suggest. There are two factors that I believe send the ball a little higher. The first is that Adams has installed True Temper’s Players Lite shafts in PW-6I and Grafalloy ProLaunch Red HY in 5H-3H. Both shafts will produce a bit higher flight than my shafts of choice: True Temper Dynamic Gold Stiff for irons and Aldila’s VS Proto “By You” for hybrid. While I have personal preferences these shafts produced a pleasing ball flight and repeatable distances. The second factor influencing ball flight can be attributed to a low center of gravity throughout the set.
Adams claims that the a3’s “cambered sole design reduces turf interference and promotes versatility.” While I’m not sure how a cambered sole “promotes versatility” I noticed that the a3 sole reduced turf interaction. As I said already the difference between Nike’s CCi Forged irons and Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons is significant. Adams’ Idea a3 Hybrid Irons require a more descending blow for solid contact. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get down to the ball in the fairway the first time I played with the a3’s and the cambered sole is why. I remedied the situation by putting the ball a little further back in my stance. That did the trick. I’m amazed at how much sole design affects how an iron plays.
The benefits of the Idea a3 Hybrid Irons are somewhat lost in the rough. The Idea a3 Hybrid size prevent it from cutting through the rough as well as a more compact iron. Where Nike’s CCi Forged or my Titleist 690.CBs get though the rough as well as an iron could the a3s get hung up. Note to self: hit more fairways. The lesson to be learned (no matter what iron you choose) is to take less club and put the ball back in play.
The hybrid headcovers are unconventional. They are very minimal in design, covering only the head. There is no “sock” covering part of the shaft. At first I wondered how they would stay on but there is a little magnet in each head-cover that prevents loss.
Specs and Pricing
Club Loft Length Lie ---- ---- ------ ------ PW 45° 35.75" 63.5° 9I 41° 36" 63.25° 8I 37° 36.625" 62.625° 7I 33° 37.25" 62° 6I 29° 37.875" 61.5° 5H 25° 38.5" 60.75° 4H 22° 39.25" 60° 3H 19° 40" 59.25°
Adams has created a very functional set of clubs for the average player in the Idea a3 Hybrid Irons. After adjusting to the high-bounce in the hybrids enjoyed these clubs tremendously. They played very well, had consistent yardage gaps, and inspired confidence at setup.
This was the first blended set of irons that I’ve had a chance to review and I am very impressed with how well I played with them during testing. Adams has been an innovator in hybrid design for some time now. Their foray into blended-sets is successful as far as I’m concerned.
There is no reason why every mid- or high-handicapper shouldn’t at least give the Adams Idea a3 Hybrid Irons a try. I’d be surprised if your game didn’t benefit from putting a hybrid like these into play.