Editor Review: Adams CB3 Irons

 Goldenhawk ·  
GoldenhawkGoldenhawk Members  3241WRX Points: 55Posts: 3,241 Bunkers
Joined:  edited Apr 27, 2012 in Editor Reviews- Equipment, Accessories and Apparel #1
One Great Set of Irons
Adams Idea Black CB3 Irons, 4 to GW, KBS Tour 90 R Shafts

I am 41 years old, playing to a 15~16 HC. I get to play once or twice a month. But since there is a driving range and 9-hole course down the street from work, I get to hit a bucket or two during lunch twice or more a week and get out every now and then. Thanks for GolfWRX and Adams Golf for this testing opportunity.

Product Information from Adams Golf:

The Idea Black CB3 Irons are engineered to provide the playability most players need with the look and feel they desire. This set of game-improvement irons features heel/toe perimeter weighting and a lower CG to provide more forgiveness while being forged from 8620 carbon steel to provide an excellent feel.

• Forged 8620 carbon steel - triple milled (cavity, face and grooves).

• Larger, deeper cavity with a multi-layer badge that provides for a thinner face, lower cg,

perimeter weighting, added forgiveness and better feel.

• Black Ni/Cr PVD finish with a glass beaded face to produce an exceptional look at address.

• Engineered with progressive sole widths that allow for easier to hit long irons and deadly

accurate scoring clubs.

• Scoring clubs designed with improved bounce and camber to reduce turf interaction for more

workability and control.


Easy to hit. Long distance. Nice gapping between each iron. KBS Tour 90 Steel shafts are stock offering. Beautiful PVD finish and great looking design.


While I don’t personally have a problem with them, the stock KBS Tour 90 does make the CB3 irons hit the ball high. Gap wedge has 49* loft. You will need to adjust wedges to adapt. Heads of the 4 and 5 iron sometimes get snagged during the backswing out of the rough.

The Bottom Line-

Irons that are a complete package combination of great looks, forged feel, forgiveness and distance. The stock KBS Tour 90 Shaft is not for everyone, so get fitted and you will enjoy this set.


Thanks to GolfWRX and Adams for allowing me to test and review the CB3 irons. Well after playing two 18-hole rounds, four 9-hole rounds and a lot of range sessions, I must say that Adams got a whole lot of things right with the CB3 Irons. I never tried or played the CB1 or CB2 Irons, so I can’t comment on how the CB3 Irons play compared to its predecessors. From what I read on the boards, the CB2 and CB2 Irons were not exactly the easiest things to hit. If this is true, then the CB3s will be a complete change.


Personally, the pictures speak for themselves. The CB3 Irons are beautiful. The PVD finish is nice. The areas on the face where the scoring lines are have a rougher texture. The cavity has a nice color scheme with that nice silver medallion. Workmanship in finishing and assembling the iron is top notch. The Adams Tour Grips have the Lamkin Crossline Black pattern.

The CB3 is a progressive iron set where the depth of the cavity changes. The offset from 4 iron down to the GW also changes. The sole is constant width, but the bounce changes in the PW and GW. The bottom flange can be seen in the 4 and 5 irons at address. Sizes of the heads seem in line with other Game Improvement Irons. The PVD Black finish makes them look smaller at address.


Simply put, the CB3 Irons are long and forgiving. They are as long as the Callaway Diablo Forged that I have played forever. But since the CB3 iron heads are forged, one-piece construction, they are consistent in distance. I don’t get that 170-yard-with-an-8-iron flyer that I occasionally get with the Diablo Forged. (Or at least, not yet). I don’t have a problem with the high ball flight that the irons and KBS Tour 90 shafts produce since I am a low spin hitter and need that height and spin to maximize distance. Weight-wise, the CB3 Irons feel fine. I can get enough pop out of them to punch balls out of the rough. I did find that a slow and low takeaway with the 4 and 5 irons out of the rough will snag grass. The short irons glide through the grass with ease. There is minimal distance loss on shots that are slightly off the center face. Some moderate distance loss on wildly struck shots, and mostly on shots stuck outside the rough-textured scoring face.

The CB3 Irons work well with full and partial shots. Accuracy is good with the long irons and great with the short irons. Dispersion of shots tended to be similar to the Diablo Forged irons. Overall, the CB3s are a very versatile iron set too. With full sized shots, the sole is big enough to help the club glide through the turf and grass. But not too big to be versatile to hit a cut/fade, or draw every now and then. I can chip with the 8, 9 (my usual favorite), PW and GW reasonably well, with good distance control.

The GW is 49*. I am currently gaming this set, but found that I had to change my wedges to 54* and 60* accordingly. To give a good idea of the size of the CB3 irons heads, the GW is really similar in size to the Titleist SM4 wedges.

After several rounds and range sessions, I found that the PVD black finish is holding up well. There are some brush marks on the sole and ball imprints in the face. I think Adams may have been able to prolong the life of the PVD finish by providing a rougher surface in the striking area of the clubface.

The Lamkin Crossline Black is my grip of choice. I use Callaway’s version in my RAZR Fit driver. I have them on my SM4 wedges. So having the Adams version of the Crossline Black already installed on the CB3 set is an added bonus to me (no need to re-grip).


It’s a forged set. That sweet feel of a shot off the sweet spot is there. I can tell when I miss the sweet spot. That teeth-chattering feel of the thinly stuck shot is there too.

Bottom Line-

The CB3 Irons are a Game Improvement Iron Set that will deliver great performance in one great looking package. They will produce shots of good/great distance while keeping control. I found the CB3 Irons to be more forgiving than they looked. I must say that I found my iron set to play for 2012.

The Photos-

Three irons from the CB3 set show that the progressive cavities are deeper in the long irons. The PW is on the left, the 6 iron is in the middle and the 4 iron is on the right.

Post edited by Unknown User on
Callawa Epci Flash, 9.0* Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blueboard 63
Callaway Epic Flash, 15* 3-wood, Project X Evenflow 65
Callaway Diablo Edge Tour 18* 5-wood, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Redboard 73
Titleist AP3, 4 to AW, True Temper AMT Black S300
Titleist Vokey Wedges, 50*, 56* and 60*, M Grind, True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport 2


  • SnapjackSnapjack Members  8WRX Points: 55Posts: 8 Bunkers
    Joined:  #2
    I just got back from a demo day and must say these were super easy to hit and felt great. I used the KBS and the ball flight was high, which is normal for my swing anyway. Compared to the Mizuno 59 I was fit for the Adams were much easier to hit maybe a bit shorter. The surprise was the Wilson FG V2, I was all set to buy the Adams till I tried them, now I'm totally confused.
  • GolfWRXGolfWRX Warning Points: 0  11 Members Posts: 11 #ad
    Joined:  ...

  • MizgoodieMizgoodie golf happy! golf good! Members  1900WRX Points: 56Handicap: 10.8Posts: 1,900 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  #3
    like you said one of my fav. things about these irons is there distance control... i am still pegging down the my iron distances but i think i will be gaming these all year and the ap2 712 are out for now...
  • MirageMirage Members  310WRX Points: 0Posts: 310
    Joined:  #4
    Thanks for posting the review.

    I've found the CB2s to be very easy to hit well from a variety of lies (the sole design looks very similar to that of the CB3s), and plan to have mine in the bag for a long time.

    I found that I liked the Tour 90 shaft quite a bit. At just over 100g in stiff flex, I swing them a lot better than the Dynamic Golds of years gone by. They do produce a high ball flight, but I don't find that troublesome most of the time. When I do, I just take one or two more clubs, choke down and swing easily, putting less spin on the ball.

    TaylorMade was smart to buy Adams, IMO - it bought some of the best technology in the game right now. I can only hope that TM is smart enough to retain the brand and keep the quality as high as it is today.

    As a former Hogan player (my backup irons are a set of Apex FTXs on KBS Tour 90 shafts), I've already watched one outstanding maker disappear as the result of acquistion by a huge company.
    Cobra Bio Cell 9.5, Oban Kiyoshi Stiff
    Adams F11 Ti 15 degree, VooDoo 70gr. Stiff
    Tour Edge Exotics 18 degree hybrid, Aldila NV Stiff
    Titleist 910F 21, set to 22 degrees, Diamana Kai'li Stiff
    Ping i20 5-P, CFS Stiff
    Vokey TVD-K 56 (bent to 55), TVD-K 60, S300
    TaylorMade Spider Blade 38"
  • tlmcktlmck Members  33WRX Points: 0Handicap: 7Posts: 33
    Joined:  #5
    Have not had a chance at the CB3 yet, but I did try the CB2 a while back. I too had problems with the 4 and 5 iron(usually very good with these). I looked up the specs and for some reason they make the 4 and 5 "out of spec" on purpose. The length on the 4 and 5 is longer than normal progression which also causes the lie to be too upright. Judging by the specs of the CB3, they have not changed this feature so I will continue to pass on these. I am sure there is an engineering reason for this design, but as an engineer and a single digit handicap who has been playing over 30 years now, I cannot think of one. To me it's just a poor design which is a shame because these are otherwise very good irons.
    Callaway XR16 Pro 10.5*
    Adams XTD Ti 15*
    Nickent 6DX 19*
    Maltby TE 3-GW
    Maltby Tour MG 56*
    Original Ping Anser

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