The earlier Tight Lies II 4-wood we tested has proven to be a reliably accurate wood. The ST is more so. Dispersion patterns have been better and trajectories have been more consistently straight. The Tight Lies ST is one of the most accurate woods we have tested. We hit the ST with a regular flex BiMatrix side by side with the Tight Lies II in regular flex graphite. While the feel of the steel-tipped BiMatrix shaft is firmer than that of the shaft used in the earlier model, the actual flex is softer making the ST is a very easy swinging wood.
Everything about this good-looking club comes across as tight and solid. As advertised, the twisting of the BiMatrix shaft at impact is less due to the reduced torque of the 7.5″ steel tip section. So far, we have liked this shaft a great deal. It looks cool and it feels and behaves just as should be expected from a steel/graphite hybrid. The overall weight is far lighter than that of a steel shaft, but with little sacrifice to the sense of control found with steel. The BiMatrix feels very stable through impact. This shaft also imparts a good bit of the snap and punch of a steel shaft with little of the heavy harshness that can occur without graphite.
The presence of a greater amount of control was immediately apparent and came as a pleasant surprise. The Tight Lies II, in comparison, shows a much more noticeable tendency towards left and right deviations in its shot patterns. Fades are more apt to become slices and draws to become hooks. The head on the ST version remains more stable. The Tight Lies II is a pleasant club to use, but in direct comparison, the ST feel much more crisp and snappy. The ST has a very dynamic feel that is not present in all of the earlier versions of the TL’s. It’s fun to hit.
This new Tight Lies has a smaller head than do the other TL woods. Adams has taken their “upside-down head” design and exaggerated it for the ST. While very attractive, this stainless steel head is quite blocky looking. It is a shorter, deeper-faced head. In some ways, the ST reminds a golfer of traditional fairway woods. While not really very small (137cc), this Adams does look compact and traditional at address. Many better players will appreciate this aspect of the wood, but insecure golfers who prefer larger, wider heads will not. Those who routinely make their mishits high on the toe will definitely want to look elsewhere since this wood has virtually no toe on it at all. This ‘toelessness’ was not much of a factor on the wider faces of the earlier models, but with the more compact ST, we have had a few bad mishits result from high toe-hits that flew well right of the target line.
The up side to the compact, upside-down head design is the fact that so much concentrated mass is applied low to the ball at impact. A very solid and substantial feel results. Balls launch high. So much so that the arched trajectories we have been seeing have been more 5-wood than 4-wood in their nature. Distances as well have been more akin to strong 5-wood length than to the ‘Strong 4′ designation on the sole. Our 17-degree Cleveland Quadpro and 16-degree Square Two Rough Relief fly the ball much lower and longer. Both have shown considerably more roll. Some of our 5-woods, such as the Golfsmith Tour Steel and Callaway Steelhead Plus have produced trajectories virtually as long and often less high the Tight Lie’s. This is not to denigrate the ST’s performance, but instead, it is to state that those expecting a wood that will replace both 3-wood and 5-wood with a true “strong 4” should look elsewhere. Seventeen degrees can be low enough for a strong 4, but not with as much low, sole weighting as is present with in the ST design.
More testing needs to be done with the Tight Lies ST in various conditions, but we have hit it more than enough to say that this is a very accurate wood that looks classy and feels very good. It should appeal to those looking for a precision approach wood that has good versatility. The design refinements done on the head should make the ST even more efficient from heavy turf and rough than were its very competent predecessors. So far, we have liked the new BiMatrix shaft a great deal. It is our guess that the ST will appeal more to better golfers than to high-handicappers. The “strong” designation seems more a marketing ploy than a reality to us, however. Those who want a fairway wood that will get the ball up quickly from bad lies and land the ball relatively softly should find the ST an option to consider.
From the deeper rough, the Tight Lies ST has shown itself to be a strong performer. Control was first-rate. The steel tip section encouraged hard, aggressive swings that normally cause concern for some graphite shaft users. The compact head is not quite as fluid in cutting swaths through high grass as some lower-profile heads such as the Orlimars, but it is quite good. The small-headed hybrids from Dynacraft, Taylor Made and Snake Eyes with their even lower weight patterns were more proficient by a bit from the deepest lies. Still, the added face depth of the Tight Lies made it more favored by some, however. It was less like to submarine under the ball. Solid contact was more likely to occur.
Overall, our testers have remained very fond of the punchy ST. Most prefer a softer feel to their fairway woods, but all agree that on tight, narrow courses, especially those with thick rough, the Tight Lies ST may be their most favored approach wood. It has a stability that’s hard to match. For average to better players, the ST becomes an easy metalwood to trust.