Nike Oven Trip - Part 1
By Kickntrue on 11/11/09
As some of you know, last week I visited The Oven, Nike’s golf research and development facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. As most of you could probably guess- it was SWEET! From the moment I arrived at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport it was nothing but first class treatment. Limo’s, an oversized suite at the Sheraton, a tour of The Oven including a sign welcoming me, and a full fitting of Nike clubs from driver through putter. Toss in a drive by of the new Cowboys Stadium on the limo ride back to the airport and I had a pretty fantastic 24 hours.

First- I suppose a little background is in order. A couple months ago I did a review by the request of Nike when they were running a campaign called Str8 > 9, which basically putting their new Nike Str8-Fit driver against TaylorMade’s R9. (Review Here) In doing the review, I was also entered into a contest against other bloggers for a chance to win a trip to The Oven, and low and behold, I won. First time I’ve ever won anything in my life. Well, there was that time in the 3rd grade science fair when I compared a bean growing with water to one growing with water and urine. The urine water kicked the plain old water’s butt and a $50 savings bond was mine! I should probably find that and cash it in. Anyway... it took me a couple months to find a good date that worked for me and Nike, but at last, last week we made it happen.

I was picked up at the airport by a nice enough guy, Leo- you know the howl sign with me name, him dressed like a chauffeur... because, well, he kind of was. I only called him “Jeeves” on 3 occasions (accidentally of course) and he gave me a tour of the landscape along with his diatribe on why golf is a dying game while we drove against thick rush hour traffic into downtown Ft. Worth. So- I get near the end of the ride- and realize I have 3 single $1 in my wallet. Nice job, Ace. So I start asking questions about Nike and how they’re paying for this- and then make up some lame excuse about not having any money (which really wasn’t a lie) and just didn’t tip the guy. Frankly, I don’t know if you tip him or not, seemed like a good thing to do- but my first chance to look like a high-roller being picked up by Nike for a big meeting, and I fall flat on my face.

Once I arrived at the Sheraton Fort Worth I found that Nike set me up with a sweet room, including a 4-post king-sized bed and 42 inch HDTV. Good thing it was a night of great television; Monday Night Football, and World Series game and The Big Bang Theory. I took a walk in downtown Ft Worth which frankly, was nicer than I expected it to be. I found a trendy little downtown area and hit up a bar. My first beer cost me $2. The second was the same. I was pretty shocked that my total bill was $4 and left a $6 tip, which the barkeep treated like gold. Apparently in Texas they still only tip 20% even when the beer is cheaper than water. So yah- I love Texas and Texas loves me.

After a night of fairly uneventful sleep (I’ll keep my dreams to myself if you don’t mind) I woke up for a shower and breakfast with my Nike handler. I actually feel a little bad for Gretchen because she lives and works out of Nike’s HQ in Oregon and basically had to fly in just to babysit me for a day. I got to have all the fun- and she had to deal with my ridiculous requests and inane questions. We had breakfast at Don Shula’s restaurant (Shula’s 347) and I picked carefully through an all you can eat breakfast buffet. I knew I’d be moving and swinging golf clubs so despite the massive omelet bar I kept things pretty conservative with loads of fruit and a bagel. I drank a cup of coffee so Gretchen would think I was “professional.” Seriously, the things bloggers do when they put on pants.

Now- for one of the better stories from the trip. Upon leaving the hotel for our trip to The Oven, I was privy to an awesome little spat between the bell hops at the Sheraton and a cabbie who felt he was being skipped over rides by the hotel despite waiting in the designated taxi area on the street. In retaliation, the cab driver pulls up into the valet area of the hotel and just sits there and starts yelling about not being treated fairly. After being asked by 3 different members of the bell staff, security was finally called in. Still nothing. The guy would not move- and would not shut up. Of course- this is as 8:30 in the morning so it’s when a ton of traffic is pouring out of the hotel. Some wanted to get in the cab since it was right there- and the others were a further walk away, but each time someone tried to take the ride- the hotel staff insisted they keep walking and get someone on the street because this guy was breaking protocol. I suggested someone from the hotel staff “take” the cab, give a bogus address and then bail without paying 1 block later. They didn’t listen to me- and when I finally pulled out with Gretchen they were still arguing. I’m not sure my story does the scenario justice, but it was really pure awesomeness.

Part 2 and Part 3 and please visit

[ comments ]
Backquak says:
Texas is the best, Cause beer is cheaper than water. I'm putting that on a bumper sticker. Awesome!
bducharm says:
Good start!!! And yes, Texas loves YOU!!! You gotta come to Austin sometime and I will host you at River Place CC...Bob
mjaber says:
@Backquak... I think it should be the new slogan for Texas. Someone start a petition to get it put on their license plates.
Mjw71772 says:
Well day one was a let down. Thanks for leaving the dreams out of it, didnt want the vision of you and Dottie Pepper on the 18th of Kingsmill. Just playing. Since I have won a thing or 2 in my time, rule number one, always make sure you have at least $20 in singles or fives (or combo), it is always good to make sure the people who provide services for you remember you in a good light. Never know if he has a brother cooking at the hotel, are you sure that was fresh fruit haha.
Banker85 says:
"I woke up for a shower and breakfast with my Nike handler." you took a shower with your nike handler? sweet she sounds hot, every gretchen i know was very sexy LOL
Kickntrue says:
@Banker85 ... I think you read that wrong. :) Miss Gretchen was a very lovely lady, but I can assure you, just breakfast was enjoyed with her. The sleeping was all to my wonderful self on a huge King-sized bed.
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