Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nike Golf's 8 > 9 Campaign Put to Test

Nike is bragging that its new SQ DYMO STR8-FIT and SQ DYMO² STR8-FIT drivers, with a choice of eight club head positions, will outperform all competition including, namely, the Taylor Made R9.

We decided to tap HHR's resident golf expert, DJ Virg, to put its claims to the test.

Nike SQ Dymo STR-8 –FIT vs. TaylorMade R9

Each club tested met the following specs:

Head Size: 460cc
Degree: 8.5◦
Shaft: Stiff

DJ Virg's Review

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to test out these 2 drivers. Both have the ability to change the lie and angle of the club head to adjust for certain shot types (e.g. draw, fade). Certainly this ability could benefit a golfer greatly, but with time restraints I decided to test these drivers out with a neutral head position. I am looking for a driver to add a little distance and cut down the severity of my missed shots. If I could find it in one of these drivers in the neutral head position, having the ability to change the position of the club head would definitely be a bonus.

Let me give you a little bit of my golfing background before I get to the results...

Years played: 13
Handicap: 6
Avg. Swing Speed (driver): 118 mph
Avg. Ball Speed (driver): 178 mph

The strength and weakness of my game is off the tee. I have a lot of distance but am not very accurate, and my missed shots are almost always un-findable. So in comparing these clubs I tested on 3 aspects of a golf shot: feel, distance and distance off center line.

Round One: Feel

The feel test consisted of hitting a dozen golf balls with each club. Have to say both clubs set up to the ball nice and had great overall look. The first swing with the Nike sounded like an explosion; the ball jumped of the clubface. The rest of the swings with the Nike felt very solid even a few missed shots off the heel and toe sounded and felt solid. The club was very forgiving. The Taylor made was also a very solid club, when the sweet spot was hit; however the miss hits felt awful. Miss hits were a lot less forgiving.

Winner: Nike SQ Dymo STR-8 - FIT

Round Two and Three: Distance and Off Center Line

Distance test was done using a virtual driving range at Golf Galaxy in Langhorne, PA. The machine calculates many statistics such as distance, ball flight, spin rate, launch angle and distance off center line. To complete the test I hit 5 drives with each club. Here are the numbers:

The numbers show that on average the Nike driver was about 17 yards longer and about 20 yards closer to the center line. The off center line numbers for the TaylorMade are very consistent with my typical tee shots, long and off the radar. For the Nike driver, my off center line numbers were by no means perfect, but showed a big difference from the TaylorMade and also my current driver. The Nike might not help me hit every fairway, but I will definitely be in play. Additionally the Nike had a much lower spin rate which in turn means greater distance.

Winner: Nike SQ Dymo STR-8 - FIT

The Nike SQ Dymo Str-8 FIT out-performed the TaylorMade R9. The Nike gave me more distance, accuracy and was lot more forgiving on missed shot.

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