Review: Adams Idea Pro Gold Irons
Forged Irons from a golf manufacturer willing to take risks
With Tom Watson's unbelievable run at The Open Championship behind us, many golfers are asking, what irons does a 59 year old guy play to get him into a playoff in a major at his age? Turns out that Tom Watson had been playing an early prototype of what would eventually become the Idea Pro Gold iron. The set of irons is called the A-Tour and one can find them on eBay or occasionally in the Buy/Sell/Trade forums on sites like GolfWRX. However, the A-Tours are a very demanding set of irons, built specifically for Tom Watson's needs on the course. Adams set out to turn the A-Tours into a playable set of clubs for the better amateur player, and thus became the Idea Pro Forged irons. In 2008, Adams made some changes to both the Idea Pro irons and hybrids, integrating their Boxer technology into the hybrids and making some tweaks to the irons with the input of the Adams tour players.
Side note here, if you are interested in the evolution of Adams Golf and the A-Tour irons, there is a great interview on GolfWRX with some of the R&D guys. You may have to register for their forum if you wish to read the interview.
So, now that you have had a little lecture on the evolution of Adams irons, we will be having a look at the Idea Pro Gold Irons. The Idea Pro Golds are sold as a 5-PW set along with a #4 and #3 Idea Pro Gold Hybrid. We have decided to break this into two reviews. So today we will have a look at just the irons. Here we go!
Designed for better players, the Idea Pro Gold Hybrid Iron set features two Pro Gold hybrids that deliver a penetrating ball flight and extra forgiveness along with six forged, tour-quality irons that deliver exceptional feel and workability.
The 5-PW forged irons appeal to better players with a thin top line and sole. An 8620 carbon steel head is finished with a mirror-chrome plating that adds a premium look to the set. The constant offset through the irons offer better control for players wanting to work their ball flight and the 14% volume increase in the face grooves result in better accuracy and feel.
Forged cavity back irons with a premium look and feel for the better player.
Tour-inspired design, thin top line and sole.
An 8620 carbon steel head and milled face grooves with 14% more volume deliver better control, accuracy and feel.
Constant offset for better control and workability.
Mirror chrome plating - a perfect choice for golfers looking for a traditional look.
Look and Feel
The Adams Idea Pro Gold irons look extremely clean from address. The thin top-line and blade like head size will really appeal to the lower handicap player looking to control the ball. Minimal offset in the irons is another plus for those who do not struggle with the right side of the course. When I went to my most recent lesson, my instructor (a Callaway staffer) picked up the 7 iron and was really impressed with the look and setup. I agree, at address you could not really ask for much more. Compared to the Idea Pro Forged irons, the club face is a little smaller, and there seems to be slightly less offset. Top lines are pretty similar.
From behind the ball, you get a little more into the technology and marketing of the club. While the Idea Pro Forged iron had a pretty clean cavity back, the Pro Gold has added some additional lines and steps to the weighting in the cavity. As I have said numerous times in iron reviews, I am generally not looking at the back of the club, so it really does not bother me.
A significant area where the Idea Pro Gold has moved from the Idea Pro Forged is in the chrome plating. Where as the predecessor sported a dull, satin finish, the Pro Gold rocks out a chrome plating that is pretty sharp. Some players may prefer the satin in their irons that will prevent reflections in bright sun, but I really have not noticed much of a problem with the chrome. My older set of Idea Pro Forged irons certainly showed wear quicker than these chromed Idea Pro Golds seem to.
The stock Golf Pride DD2 grips in a Yellow/Black color combination are one of the nicer offerings in an off the shelf set of irons. They happen to match the Rocket Tour head covers that come standard with the Idea Pro Gold hybrids as well, not to mention my TaylorMade Spider putter! The grips are nice and tacky and the color scheme is certainly something different.
The Idea Pro Golds are sold with the Project-X steel shaft standard. The previous model, Idea Pro Forged were fitted with the (hot at the time) Black Gold shaft. Project-X seems to have taken over the rifle/premium shaft market at the moment, as numerous PGA Tour players have them fit in their irons. For me, I found them to be a great match with the Pro Gold irons. As with other clubs I have played these shafts in, the ball flight is very penetrating and well controlled. If you have normally played Dynamic Gold shafts, you should give a set of Project-X shafts a try at some point. The trajectory is pretty neat to watch, a well struck shot will seem to just hang in the air forever.
Now, about the feel. I am a big stickler for feel in my irons, and let me say, wow, these clubs were a real shocker. The Idea Pro Forged irons were pretty solid in the feel department, but I think Adams has found a way to up the ante a little with the Pro Golds. I would have to say they have a pretty similar buttery soft feel to the Mizuno MP-57s. Compress the golf ball on the sweet spot, and you will be rewarded with a great ball flight and that super soft feel. As with most clubs in this class, hit the ball a little off the center, and you will know it immediately. In my book, this is a good thing. Playing with Super Game Improvement irons, where a hit on the toe feels no different than one on the screws may be better for your score card that day, but it certainly does not improve your game.
I really have to think these clubs would be a great option for anything from a professional player through a mid handicapper looking to improve their game. Performance wise these clubs have been spot on. Distance control has been really dialed in and misses have been predictable. I can pretty much count on a consistent amount of yards loss and a lower ball flight when I catch an iron hit a little thin. Given that so much of this game is about managing your misses, knowing that I can almost trust the misses is important to me.
The Idea Pro Forged irons featured a slightly more boxy club face and a flatter sole. The Idea Pro Gold seems to have a little more rounding at the toe and a more machined sole. I find that the Pro Gold is more playable out of a wider variety of lies. The leading edge is not too sharp, so for someone who comes into the ball a little steep at times, it works out pretty well for me.
Knockdown shots, cuts, draws, high, low, throw anything you want at these tools and as long as you have the skill to pull off the shot the irons will be willing to deliver the results. I have had a lot of success with the mid irons and knockdown shots as of late. My driver game has been a little wild at times, so when I find myself in the trees, one really needs to have an iron you can be a little creative with. I played this morning and got stuck under some trees with low hanging branches on the left side of the fairway. About 115 out, with a left tucked pin and a bunker guarding the short-left of the green, I had to hit a low running hook to get a ball up on the green. Take out the 7 iron, a little back in the stance, dead hands, setup for a hook, deliver the club. Ended up on the front of the green and saved the par. Those kind of shots I always find difficult with a clunky game improvement iron.
As I mentioned earlier, distance control is spot on. The pitching wedge in this set is real solid, so solid in fact, I am considering picking up the Idea Pro Gold Gap Wedge to go along with the rest of the set. While a penetrating high draw with a 5 iron from 200 yards out is pretty to watch, a compressed pitching wedge that fades onto the flag is just as glorious. Not a problem with either.
If you are a mid to low handicapper looking for a new set of irons that you can shape, control and absolutely love the feel of...the Idea Pro Golds may be the ticket. As I have said in the past, if you are a mid handicapper (10-20) do not be overly intimidated by a set of clubs like this. Sure they are not going to save you when you hit it on the toe with a wide open club face...but honestly, no club will. Clubs like this will force you to become a better ball striker. Pair the irons up with the Pro Gold hybrids (review coming soon, but I absolutely fell in love with these as well) and you have a great set of clubs that can help you lower your handicap.
The Idea Pro Gold Irons can be found in 5-PW sets or sold in retail stores with a 3 and 4 hybrid. The retail price of the 3-PW set is set at $899 fit with Project-X steel shafts in the irons.