Ernie Els was on hand to open Adams Golf’s new Second Shot Centre at Wentworth during the week of the 2014 BMW PGA Championship, and the South African sat down with GOLF RETAILING’S Robin Barwick. Pictures: Miles Bossom & Adams Golf
In Ernie Els’ first season as an Adams Golf staff golfer, the South African has taken to using the company’s Tight Lies fairway woods and Pro hybrids. How well is he hitting the ball with these clubs? Well, Swedish European Tour golfer Johan Carlsson might be a good person to ask, as he has seen up close just how much ball speed Els generates with his Adams Pro hybrid. Actually, it was probably a bit too close for comfort.
On May 20, during the Tuesday practice day for the 2014 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Els helped Adams Golf and Wentworth open the new Adams Golf Second Shot Centre. The studio opens out onto the practice ground, which at this time was full of golfers preparing for the European Tour’s flagship tournament. Before Els could exhibit his prowess with the Adams Pro hybrid, the golfers practicing in front of the studio were politely asked if they would move aside for a moment. Carlsson, who had been practicing directly in front of the studio, had taken only a step and a half to his left before Els fired his bullet. Carlsson seemed happy enough, but he must have felt the whisp of the ball on his sleeve. Els grinned, Carlsson smiled nervously, but tournament ‘Health & Safety’ would not have been amused.
Perhaps this incident explains why media were banned from the practice ground the next day. Phil Neville’s participation in the Wednesday pro-am surely couldn’t have been the reason.
Anyway, back to line-drive bullets dispatched from Els’ Pro hybrid; the four-time major champ says he sometimes opts for his Pro hybrid instead of the Tight Lies five-wood if he is playing on a course or in conditions where he wants to keep his ball flight down. With the trajectory of the shot that trimmed Carlsson’s beard, you could see why.
“I have a 14.5° Tight Lies three-wood and an 18.5° five-wood, and depending on conditions I sometimes replace the 5-wood with a Pro hybrid, because I can keep the hybrid down a bit,” said Els in talking exclusively to GOLF RETAILING. “The five-wood gets up in the air and is sometimes better suited to the second shots on par-fives on the PGA Tour, where there does not tend to be as much breeze. Adams has provided me with what I need for a variety of situations and I am very pleased with these clubs.
“I hit the three-wood 260-262 yards, and I hit the five-wood 245 yards, and I get the ball nice and high. The difference with the Tight Lies fairway woods, compared to others, is getting the ball out of funny lies. The sole design and deep face helps to get the ball out of awkward lies. I am hitting the ball higher out of light rough, I can shape shots both ways and I can play the clubs out of bunkers. They are unique.”
Owning the second shot
The Second Shot Centre, which is equipped with Flightscope launch monitor technology, is designed to provide a unique custom-fitting experience for golfers of all abilities, purely for fairway woods, hybrids and irons.
“We are delighted to be opening our first Second Shot Centre at a venue as prestigious as Wentworth,” says Simon Homer, Head of Adams Golf Europe. “The centre is the first of its kind and reinforces our focus on the second shot in golf; I’m confident it will provide a great asset for our business in Europe.”
“We’re pleased to be partnering Adams Golf on the Second Shot Centre project,” says Stephen Gibson, Director of Golf at Wentworth. “The centre will be not only a great vehicle for Adams, but a great benefit for Wentworth. Adams is a brand renowned for innovation and we’re delighted to be home to the first centre of it’s kind.”
The Second Shot Centre, which can be fully enclosed, features an Adams testing suite and workshop, and golfers will be asked to pay £100 for an hour’s fitting session, conducted on a one-to-one basis with a Wentworth professional.
“The facility provides the same custom-fit experience to golfers of all abilities that we tour players receive,” adds Els. “The second shot is truly the most important in golf and I would encourage all golfers, from professionals to recreational players, to take advantage of the technology and innovation available at the new Adams centre.
“What golfers will receive here is immediate, instant feedback. There is the facility here to work on clubs, to try different shaft flexes, clubhead weights and lofts, and it is a process I go through myself once in a while, just to make sure my numbers are where they need to be, and that I am launching the ball how I need to.
“For a golfer who might be struggling with their clubs, to come here and find the right specifications for them can change their game. It is so much quicker these days to be able to identify the right specifications for any golfer.
“Every time I tee up in a pro-am I can guarantee I will play with an amateur who will try to hit an approach with an iron and come up 20 yards short. That golfer could have hybrid replacements that are designed to get the ball in the air and they are much easier clubs to hit, even out of the rough. They make the game a little bit easier and a bit more forgiving.
“My dad has been a really good player, but he is 70 years old now and he can’t get height with his long irons like he used to, and he is playing hybrids right up to a five-iron now. It has changed his game, and he has started playing league golf again.”