|Keeping His Dream Alive: Gary Adams, Father of the Metal Wood
|By Mike Stinton |
Keeping His Dream Alive
His influence can be seen wherever the game of golf is played. From the oversize bags of TOUR pros, to the amateurs teeing it up before the fog lifts on a Sunday morrning to the driving ranges that dot the land with golfers trying to hit that one perfect drive.
Gary Adams and his legacy are there. When a tee is pushed into the ground and the first sound of the day permeates the air – the familiar high-pitched ping of ball meeting metal – the all-too short life and very large influence of Adams lives on.
The game of golf - despite being hundreds of years old - is filled with inventors who tinker with club design in search of a better product but the work of Adams, who introduced the metal wood to golf only 25 years ago, is responsible for three companies dedicated to the game and his invention continues to change the way it is played.
McHenry Metals, the company Adams founded just four years before his untimely passing, continues to keep the dream alive. What started as a lark for Adams, the son of an Illinois club pro, has become a burgeoning company in the golf industry that continues to churn out innovative products not only with it’s drivers but also fairway woods and wedges.
Gary Adams’ story started quite small. At age 22, he left college and became a salesman for a golf-range supply company. His work gave him the opportunity to observe the game on many levels and he noticed that the new brand of two-piece balls becoming popular went farther than balata balls off irons, but not off wooden woods.
His sense of curiosity got the better of him and he went to work on a metal driver that would enhance performance. He traveled to the 1979 PGA Merchandise Show with a trunk full of his new drivers and a sales pitch as straight and true as the drives his new club would create. After convincing a number of club pros to sell his newfangled club, his first company was born.
TaylorMade Golf became the first company to introduce metal woods to the game. Slowly, the metal wood became accepted by amateurs and pros alike. TOUR players – always seeking that extra edge quickly adopted the new product and when Jim Simons won the 1982 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am with a Taylor Made Metalwood, the company's first tour victory, the days of the persimmon wood were few.
Adams eventually sold his stake in TaylorMade, began another company, Founders Club, and continued to tinker with his creation. A battle with pancreatic cancer took him away from the game for a while, but a miraculous recovery, and his keen sense of how to satisfy the customer had in back in the business.
In October 1996, Adams found himself in his father's basement in McHenry, Ill., tinkering with drivers he had designed. He sought a thinner clubface in order to provide better feel and performance. His concept was to work from the face back -- the more loft, the thinner the face.
That spawned McHenry Metals’ initial product -- the TourPure driver. The key design concept was called compression matching. Adams believed that a club should be fitted for the different swing characteristics of a player. He designed a club that has a choice of face thickness, loft angle and shaft flex, based on a player's swing speed. The thinnest clubface is designed for the player with the slowest swing speed.
Dubbed the Father of the Metalwood, Adams saw his dream live on and after his untimely death in 2000, the company named after his hometown in Illinois, continues to keep his legacy alive.
The name TourPure still dominates the McHenry product line. The company’s newest driver is dubbed the TourPure II and features the same ideas that Adams devised years ago. The exclusive PowerRing perimeter weighting technology provides the perfect toe/heel weight distribution. The PowerForged CupFace technology offers an ultra-thin, ultra-strong clubface that wraps around and fuses to the clubhead. This results in greater ball velocity, power and a larger COR area to fully maximize distance and accuracy.
The classic pear-shaped head from Adams’ original design remains, coupled with precision face progression and the blind bore hosel, it produces penetrating ball flight, low spin rates and optimum launch angle for extreme distance and accuracy.
It did not take long for those who demand the most from a golf club to take notice. When TOUR pros, who can play any club they like, put your club in the bag in order to make a living, then you have achieved success. McHenry Metals TourPure driver is ranked #1 on the Senior PGA TOUR and in 2004 is responsible for 10 wins, 15 Top Ten finishes and 28 Top 15’s.
The popularity among professionals extends down the company’s product line to its fairway woods and wedges.
The McHenry Fairway Metal series utilizes the power, accuracy and forgiveness of Adams’ TourPure technology. The power ring first used on the company’s drivers is present in the fairway woods as well, creating the optimal balance between low and deep sole weight and center of gravity. This increases the hitting area while maintaining superior trajectory.
Any amateur frustrated by not being able to get his fairway wood up in the air with maximum distance will appreciate what Adams’ and McHenry have incorporated into their clubs.
The company’s technology is not limited to just woods. McHenry’s exclusive Strike wedge Tri-Bounce System has also caught on with TOUR pros. These players prefer multiple bounce angles and the company’s wedge line incorporates a weighted head with toe and heel bounce angle forgiveness. The different angles in each wedge allows for maximum shot effectiveness.
Bill Kratzert, a four-time PGA TOUR winner and announcer for ESPN thinks the wedges are better than any he’s played with.
“These are the 2 finest wedges I’ve had. I put them in my bag immediately, and they’ve restored my confidence in my wedge play. Anyone without the McHenry Tri-Bounce wedges will be leaving a lot of shots on the course.”
Versatile is the word most often associated with the wedges. Kenny Knox, another four-time PGA TOUR winner says, “The 52 and 56 degree wedges are the most versatile wedges I’ve ever had in my bag throughout my professional career.”
The short life of Gary Adams has left a long legacy on the game of golf. As his company forges ahead with new technology, his motto lives on. McHenry Metals is dedicated to “Keeping the Game Pure.”
The Father of the Metalwood is still smiling. He would be very proud.