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Phana24JG

Nike Speed Trial

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OK, here I am at the local golf center and UNADVERTISED is a booth for the Nike Speed Trial. http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikegolf/en_US/speedtrials

 

The NSP is basically an opportunity for you to hit your driver or a variety of competitive drivers (The RBZ, Cally RAZR Black, Adams Speedline, were the ones I noticed) versus the Nike VR_S. I walk over anticipating some bogus launch monitor with proprietary software that will magically have the Nike "win" everytime. Since my back was really bothering me, and I was not in a good mood, I was even contemplating taking the "trial" and then dressing down the rep for conducting such foolish games. Imagine my surprise, when I arrive and see a brand-spanking new Flightscope X-2 with the (almost) very latest Flightscope software(i.e. Nike can't manipulate the data) sitting there. OK, Nike has money, and will spend it, but there is no way these guys are going to give out both club data and ball data, as it may suggest that the "distance gained" has more to do with the shaft/head arrangement than the actual club versus club ball data will indicate. WRONG AGAIN, almost every available piece of data is given to the golfer. The missing part was the shaft acceleration profile, but I believe it was only because the rep had not been given sufficient training, he simply did not know how to run that application.

 

The rep was extremely professional, hyped his product w/out all the usual BS, and emphasized that a shaft upgrade may be necessary, unlike the TMaG guy who was trying to sell clubs on the spot. So onto the range I go with my R-9, hit a few drives to dial in and now it's test time. I hit 5 drives, 4 of the 5 drives hit were counted. The VR_S with the pseudo-Fubuki 70gm stiff shaft was then hit. The first few balls were pushes, and the FS indicated I was contacting with a slightly open (2.5*) face, so I positioned the ball a little further up than normal, aimed 10-15 yds right( I know my D-plane) and problem solved. I chose the best 4 of 6 (my back is starting to complain) as equal comparisons. Impact powder indicated that the VR_S had a slightly higher dispersion, but given the shaft quality differences, and gradually deteriorating swing, within range of my driver. My drives average 9 yards longer with an average dispersion 4 yards tighter. Basically, this was 280 v. 270 and 14 v. 18. On top of that, the rep then took a few minutes and gave me every piece of data about my swing and ballflight I could ever want, VSP, HSP, AofA, Club Speed, Ball Speed, Launch Angle, Backspin. et.al. This info was golden as it suggested a serious swing problem! Nike, I hated you, but you have a Flightscope X-2 and a good rep, now I love you.

 

OK, so what does all of this mean? My custom-fit R-9 with Tman at one of the elite golf-fitting studios in the NY metro area got beat by an off-the-rack Nike VR_S. Considering that I was making slightly better contact with my driver and that I believed (need video to confirm) that I was putting slightly better quality swings on my driver and still hit the Nike further and straighter, was quite a surprise. I had absolutely no intention of purchasing a driver this year, and even if I had, Nike would not even be on my radar if not for MGS. Without the MGS review that I trust, I would never have even gotten close enough to the Nike booth to even be aware this was available. The only driver that even gave the Nike a run for its money in terms of observed ball flight was the RBZ with a real Fubuki Alpha and unless I see LM data that suggests otherwise, I can't see spending the additional $250. Assuming my back holds up, I will be out again tomorrow to see if I can duplicate today's results.

 

Anyone who is a launch monitor snob like I am should contact Nike and see if they are bringing the FS and Speed Trial near you. If you take the time to learn all the LM lingo and what it means, not only will you get to demo a great club and try it versus your gamer, but you will get a free lesson as well.

 

P.S. T, next time I am at Tark's I owe you a couple of cold ones.

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Thanks for the info and the testimonial. Not really considering a driver this year, either, but between you and the MSP review, you got me thinkin'...

 

Will have to check the local GG's and GS's to see if they're going to be around here...

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I'd like to say I'm surprised by the results, but I'm not. Nike has been making rock solid drivers (consistently among the top 2 or 3 we test every year) for the past 3 season. The issues have always been sound and feel.

 

Some of the outrage I've read about the stock shaft (and stock shafts in general) is comical. OEMs have to get the most bang for their buck when choosing a stock shaft - not only does that mean making a cost decision, but the way industry business is conducted these days means playing to the middle of the fitting curve. Provide the best fit for the highest percentage of golfers. That's what Nike's watered-down Fubuki and most other stock shafts do.

 

While materially they may be slightly cheaper to produce, some are under the misguided notion that made for shafts are substantially cheaper than the "real" versions for the OEMs. They're not. And just because a company like Adams is putting a shaft with a 300+ retail value in a $300 driver, don't assume that it must be a "made for" variant without any tells. OEMs pay pennies on the dollar vs. retail for their shafts, and IF they wanted to, most could negotiate a favorable price for nearly any shaft on the market, but again, while gear heads like us love the idea of a REAL Fubuki K, that shaft offers such a poor fit for a tremendous majority of the golfing population, it would actually be counter-productive from a performance standpoint for Nike to go that route. Talamonti, Excalibur, and several others offer quality shafts at low price points. The big shaft companies production costs aren't any higher...just the retail sticker price - which means they can sell to OEMs for much, much less than some people think.

 

That said, I do believe all OEMs would be well served by offering 3 stock shafts for every driver they produce (high, mid, low spin). The problem here is that retail floor space is limited, which means shops are limited in what they can put on the floor. And ultimately, just like the OEMs that produce the clubs, retailers are also best served by playing to the middle.

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Thanks for the info and the testimonial. Not really considering a driver this year, either, but between you and the MSP review, you got me thinkin'...

 

Will have to check the local GG's and GS's to see if they're going to be around here...

 

 

The Nike website has location info. Here's the link

 

I doubt very much GG or GS is going to let Nike set up a Flightscope, as it might embarrass their launch monitors. I suspec the FS is only for outdoor demos where they need to produce some quantative data to back up their claims.

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I didn't get a chance to complete a speed trial, but loved the VR_S Drive when I hit it at a demo day. I also had the shaft switched out to an Oban Devotion which just felt better than the stock shaft (which felt soft to me). The VR_S Driver was the surprise of the demo day for me as I've always been preferential to Ping drivers.

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Great stuff Phana - I was recruited this year into the Swoosh staff program and gave the rep a real hard time during our 2hr+ fitting session. The clubs he was going to fit me with HAD to be better than my last set - club for club. I've made no secret about how i never saw an driver or low iron i liked by Nike before. The VR_S line sold me. The driver is a beautiful shape, the sound is unreal. It delivers a whip like crack sound to the face and the infinity pattern underneath the face works! The real impressive #'s are the fw woods where they are hotter lower on the face due to the weld being set in on the sole not on the face. I'm getting stupid numbers and have a trackman to prove them all now. i got the VR_S 3 iron and the pro combo blades for the irons and the 20XI-X perimeter weighted ball. Super excited to be a Nike Athlete and playing an aesthetically pleasing set of clubs that out perform my tm's.

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I didn't get a chance to complete a speed trial, but loved the VR_S Drive when I hit it at a demo day. I also had the shaft switched out to an Oban Devotion which just felt better than the stock shaft (which felt soft to me). The VR_S Driver was the surprise of the demo day for me as I've always been preferential to Ping drivers.

 

I had the same results. Stock shaft was too whippy then changed to Oban Devotion and BOOM!

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great piece here, now I really would like to try out the speed trials

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Great stuff Phana - I was recruited this year into the Swoosh staff program and gave the rep a real hard time during our 2hr+ fitting session. The clubs he was going to fit me with HAD to be better than my last set - club for club. I've made no secret about how i never saw an driver or low iron i liked by Nike before. The VR_S line sold me. The driver is a beautiful shape, the sound is unreal. It delivers a whip like crack sound to the face and the infinity pattern underneath the face works! The real impressive #'s are the fw woods where they are hotter lower on the face due to the weld being set in on the sole not on the face. I'm getting stupid numbers and have a trackman to prove them all now. i got the VR_S 3 iron and the pro combo blades for the irons and the 20XI-X perimeter weighted ball. Super excited to be a Nike Athlete and playing an aesthetically pleasing set of clubs that out perform my tm's.

 

LOLOL....based upon the success I had with the driver, I tried out a 3 wood on a Tman this week before I read your commentary and you are spot on. It is now in my bag. I wasn't paying particular attention to the flight path, but as I review the numbers, you are correct. However, what sold me was the forgiveness of the club. Both toe and heel hits provided 90+ percent of well-struck distance, but more importantly, would have remained in the fairway/near the green.

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I'm going to try out the driver/3 wood/hybrid tomorrow based on the reviews. I'm only in the market for a hybrid, but I'm looking forward to it.

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Alright, I went to the speed trial today. My driver comparison was a bit unfair because I was hitting a non-stock shaft in my R11s, but I was a good 20 yards longer each hit with the R11s vs the Nike. It was pretty much a tie between the RBZ Tour and Nike 3-wood in terms of distance. My best shot came from the Nike hybrid and it outperformed my Acer, but really only on the one shot.

 

I wasn't hitting the ball well at all, but I have to say after trying the Nikes, I like them less than I did before. Overall they felt terrible and I can't see myself picking one up.

 

Edit: I also found the Nike trial extremely disingenuous. I topped one of my drivers which went 170. When I hit a poor shot with the Nike, I was asked if I wanted a do over. So the numbers on their website are very likely skewed. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth and really turned me off Nike altogether.

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Was in Winnipeg on business, and the hotel was right down the street from a Golf Town. Went there after class and took the Speed Trial. Picked a Titleist D2, 9.5 degree stiff off the rack (w/Diamana shaft - have an Aldila RIP in mine)- average 241 with a long of 247 with the Titleist, average 230, with a long of 233 with the 9.5 degree Nike.

 

Just for fun, hit the Cleveland Classic 270 with a 10.5 degree lofts, averaged about 220 with that one, even with higher swing speeds. Interesting stuff...

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