Recently, I was invited to experience the new Nike SQ Dymo Str8-fit in a test going head-to-head with the TaylorMade R9 (thus the 8>9 Challenge). You can take the challenge as well by clicking here.
As usual this spring, we have had a ton of rain in the ATL, so I decided to take this experiment indoors by going to one of my usual golf-haunts: Golfsmith in Buckhead. They have the Vector swing analysis equipment, so I felt this would give me the best results for determining distance and shot shape. After changing Lpga's poopy diaper, turning Crashbox on for Pga and kissing the commish (follow my tweets for the inside scoop), I was off on my adventure.
After discussing my interest in doing this study with John, one of the friendly employees at the store, he went to suit me up with the weapons of choice.
He explained to me that the TaylorMade R9 has been out for some time, and that the new kid on the block was the Str8-Fit by Nike.
By hitting some balls with a 6-iron to warm up, John took notice that my swing is very consistent and said this would be a good test of the two clubs....let the battle begin!
We tested straight, fade and draw. I have a slight draw to my shots, so I was interested to see if changing the clubhead could change my shot shape.
I immediately saw the impact of the clubface changes were more pronounced with the Str8-Fit, and I could see my shot-shapes much clearer than with the R9.
With both clubs, I barely noticed the look of the clubheads change of angle at address, which I see as a good thing, however, I felt better contact with the R9.
At the end of the challenge, with the R9, I was consistently putting the ball out there at 210 yards with roll of 222, center to slight draw versus the Str8-Fit, of which I couldn't get the consistency I was looking for. My swing speed hovers between 85-95 mph.
Overall, I feel both these clubs would show more benefit for a person like me, who has a consistent swing, and doesn't try to over-swing with a lot of moving parts (this would NOT be the club for Charles Barkely!).
I also think that these clubs promote "over-thinking", that is...hey we think too much on a golf course now, why bring in another variable (I mean, the R9 not only lets you change the clubface, but has 3 screws/weights in the back to alter your shot!). A few times, when I was hitting both clubs, I found myself trying to hit the ball the way the clubface was changed...as Golfsmith John told me, "you have to continue to swing the same way through the shot and let the clubface change the shot...not you."
My thanks to Golfsmith and Nike for allowing me to take The Challenge!
Thanks for reading, keep it in the short-grass,