Adams Golf History

By J.D. Chi

golfer with bag on his back
Adams Golf is a club manufacturer and retailer that produces the Tight Lies line of clubs. The company also works with a large network of custom club fitters. Adams Golf, which manufactures and distributes SC Series Titanium drivers and the Faldo Series wedges, is represented on in professional golf by Nick Faldo and Tom Watson. Clubs are sold mainly the U.S., U.K, Canada and Japan.

Barney Adams

Former engineer and turnaround manager Barney Adams acquired Dave Pelz Golf in 1987 and re-named the company Adams Golf. Adams had developed a reputation for helping companies become more profitable and in the late 1980's, his desire to own his own shop increased. An avid golfer, Adams convinced six investors to to buy into Dave Pelz Golf with him. He renamed the company immediately, moved the company from Abilene to Richardson, Texas, and implemented a new business strategy.

Custom Fitting

In 1992, Adams Golf developed a custom-fitting unit that ultimately would help define the company. Adams Golf sold its custom fitted clubs at the Hank Haney Golf Ranch in nearby McKinney, a Dallas suburb, and developed a reputation among the elite in the golf community. The company placed great emphasis on fitting and developed clubs that considered length of the shaft, stiffness, head placement and weight distribution within the club. The process was arduous--customers would hit as many as 10 different types of clubs before the company determined which fit best and then customized the clubs to the player.

Tight Lies

Though growth for Adams Golf was slow in the early years, it was steady and the company was well thought of. In 1995, the company released its Tight Lies woods and growth exploded. The club is almost upside down in relation to a standard wood, with a trapezoidal head, shallow club face and low center of gravity. Adams himself designed the club, which replaced long irons and brought the company from relative obscurity into the more mainstream golf marketplace.

Big Names

In 1998, three years after the introduction of the Tight Lies brand, Adams Golf added its first big golf name to the company letterhead when Nick Faldo signed on. A year later, Tom Watson, who nearly became the oldest golfer to win the British Open in 2009, signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Adams Golf. In 1998, the company had an initial public offering that raised $100 million to continue research and develop and help support sales. The company is listed on the NASDAQ.


In 2000, Adams Golf opened its first foreign office in Japan to oversee Asia. A year earlier, it had acquired a distributor in the U.K.The company continued to develop new ideas in the early 2000's and in 2002 brought to market the new IDEA i-Wood hybrid, which is designed to replace long irons. In addition, Adams Golf introduced the Redline and Ovation wood lines and the GT2 series of clubs.The company is now considered a leader in golf innovation.

End of Adams Golf

In 2012, TaylorMade golf acquired Adams Golf. While using patents from Adams Golf, the company has since been phased out. However, Adams Golf products are still available on the secondary market and maintain a small cult following.

About the Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.