The more correct math...
Nike SQ DyMo Str8-Fit Vs TaylorMade R9
By Kickntrue on 6/15/09
Reviewed by Andrew Brown, Matt Snyder and some new friends from the range.
Nike has been running a campaign that claims 8>9. We decided to check the Str8-Fit from Nike against the R9 from TaylorMade side by side and see if their math adds up. Both the Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit and TaylorMade R9 are adjustable shaft drivers newly available to consumers. Both clubs allow the shaft to be removed and reattached in different settings that change the lie and loft of the club along with the face of the club and how open, closed or neutral it sits at address. Each has 8 positions you can set the shaft to, while the TaylorMade R9 also has Movable Weight Technology that allows for changes on the back of the club head to promote different ball flights.
Because the two drivers are reaching for the same buyers, we decided to show them side by side with first, our opinions, and second, by showing their statistical performance on oobgolf from our users.
Before we get started- feel free to check out the specs and hype of both clubs from the manufacturers. While the clean look of a site like oobgolf is good for some things, you can't deny the "experience" of visiting these two sites.
Adjusting The Club
Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit- The Nike club comes with a custom torque wrench that you slide over the shaft and onto the bolt that locks the shaft to the club head. It's pretty simple, though you need to look carefully at the wrench to make sure you have the correct side facing the club and grip. It slides tight and makes it pretty easy to unscrew. Setting the club and locking it back up is great. The markings on both the club head and shaft are clear, and we got it right every time without issue. The Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit wrench has a sensor in it that beeps when you've locked the club (you may recognize the beep from all off the commercials). The first time time changing the shaft every person we had try was hesitant to twist the wrench the final half turn to lock the shaft and get the beep from the wrench. With a brand new piece of expensive hardware, it's a bit scary, but after one time, you know what it feels like and the system works great.
<TaylorMade R9- The TaylorMade has a much simpler (in terms of mechanics) screw system. You put the tool into the screw, and do what your dad taught you; Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty. Removing the shaft is quite simple. Putting it back together in the correct position was a bit more difficult. It wasn't bad when you wanted to hit one of the major 4 settings, but finding the 4 settings in-between was a bit tougher (but not overwhelming). The instructions provided by TaylorMade with the club were not as good as Nike's either. We had the club set at once point, and couldn't figure out from the instructions what the setting was or what it was supposed to make the ball do; not what you want when you're on the range trying to make the club your own. Without the "beep" that Nike provides it was always a bit unsettling to know if the shaft was tightly secured to the club head. At one point- we heard a rattle and had to tighten the shaft screw. Problem fixed, but it wouldn't be good if it had happened during a round.
In addition to the the adjustable shaft which TaylorMade calls Flight Control Technology (FTC) The TaylorMade has an additional set of weight controls mentioned earlier (Movable Weight Technology). It's 2 light weights and a heavy weight that can be adjusted to put more emphasis on the heel or toe of the club if desired.
Do They Work?
I will make this section very short- both clubs work as advertised. There was no doubt, when you set the club to a slight draw, it drew. When you set the club for a high fade, it did that. We didn't use a mechanical testing machine, but instead relied on real golfers, from scratch to about 20 handicappers. The scratch golfer in the group could have been an advertisement for either Nike or TaylorMade. We have no doubt the technology has validity and does work.
A needed side-note. No club is a cure-all. The technology works, amateur golfer's swings don't always. If you're a hack, you can still duck-hook and open face and banana-slice a draw setup into the thickest of weeds.
Feel and Playability
The Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit driver had a "typical" Nike tin-can sound off the face. If you're used to it by now or don't mind it, then great. It's not nearly as bad as some the square drivers from year's past, but the sound is present and accounted for. The club has a lower profile and wide face than the R9, along with being a 460cc head compared to the R9's 420cc's. While this limits great feedback, it does add forgiveness for some of the mis-hits. Balls hit square with the Dymo Str8-Fit were absolutely launched. Mis-hits were still hit very well. The biggest complaint by far was lack of feel, with players consistently looking down to the club for hit contact marks to judge how solidly they hit the ball. Of course- if you hit the ball 240 with the ball-flight you want... do you really care?
The TaylorMade R9 has a taller face and isn't nearly as deep or wide as the Nike. It seemed slightly more prone to a mis-hit but you knew it. Feedback was better. As mentioned above the head is smaller at 420cc's, but like many have said before, if you have problems with missing the ball with the club head you should probably start working on your game somewhere else. In fact, many lower handicappers I've played with prefer a smaller head. It should be noted that TaylorMade has just released a new R9 460cc that has the monster head along with the Flight Control Technology, but without the movable weights. From a specs standpoint, that is actually a more comparable club to the Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit.
I find it interesting that in the Nike 8>9 ad campaigns if look at the ad carefully, you'll see Nike really only claims to average more distance than the TaylorMade club. I'd assume they had to ask these participants to rate which club they liked better overall, and maybe it's telling that they don't share these results? As far as distance goes, it was tough for us to tell on the range. There is definitely not a huge distance difference, not enough to choose one club over the other. When you hit both clubs solid- they both crush the ball.
Side by side- almost everyone picked the R9 as the preferred club to hit, even though more good balls may have been hit with the Str8-Fit. I realize that sentence is a bit tough to digest and I certainly wouldn't blame you one bit to ignore this paragraph and buy the Nike.
oobgolf User Stats
If you use our new equipment rankings you'll see people are flocking to the TaylorMade R9 more so than the Nike Str8-Fit. In fact, we didn't have the minimum requirement of users to display stats for the Dymo so we showed Dymo 2 stats instead. You'll see, improvement from the previous club is actually better with the Nike than the R9, though oobgolfers are adding the R9 to their bag at a ratio of about 9 to 1. The good news is both clubs seem to be actually helping users find more fairways than their previous clubs and have nearly identical fairway percentage rats of 48.87% for the R9 and 48.77% for the Nike SQ Dymo 2 Str8-Fit. Another good metric is the user rating which shows the R9 to be a bit higher, but both are showing well over 4 out of 5 stars.
These stats will become more and more accurate as more people play and add these drivers to their bag, but with over 100 people on oobgolf tracking stats with the R9 I think you can confidently love this club.
I'm not sure you can really go wrong with either of these clubs. The Nike has a sticker-shock retail price of $540 but you can find them for $399, though at the time of this review it looks like Golfsmith.com has them on-sale for $299 (Link) . You'll find the TaylorMade R9 for $399. This is the part where I'd tell you if you have the chance to hit both first, to do it.
The Nike Str8-Fit has the advantage in adjustability and ease of use, though in reality, you should only being doing the setup when you first get the club and maybe a time or two during the season if you're tinkering with your swing. I do think it's a valuable feature to offer and wouldn't really call it "gimmicky" because most people aren't going to get fitted and then have a driver custom built to their specs. This is the reason someone like Tiger Woods would not need to use this club, though a ton of TaylorMade guys have made the switch to the R9. Despite these advantages pretty much everyone on the range preferred the TaylorMade R9. The feel and contact seemed to be the winning factors, though nobody had any real complaints about the Nike.
I know for a fact there are about 120 oobers who track stats using these clubs, which means there are many more who are playing them, or who have at least tried them out. The comments are open... Is 8>9 or does TaylorMade win Round 1 in the adjustable driver battle?
*Don't forget. We're giving away our test Nike SQ Dymo Str8-Fit driver. Smart money is on seeing the R9 on the oob giveaway block soon. Stay tuned!
BUY A TAYLORMADE R9 Driver
BUY A NIKE Dymo STR8 Fit Driver
[ comments ]
As a 30+ handicapper, I doubt that either of these clubs would improve my game on my local executive par 27 course. My driver only comes out on the 2 par 4 holes and the range. Still, I wouldn't mind winning the Nike club in the sweep. I could report back and let you know how it improves a novice golfers drive. I am sure that one of these in my bag would improve my confidence tremendously ;)
Having said that, it would be unfair to the other 12 golfers who already use the Nike, as my stats would pull theirs down and skew the comparison.
Pardon my stupidity... but what are you actually adjusting?
Oh the gimmicks that people will buy into....
@ip6freely- you are adjusting how open or closed the face of the club is when addressing the ball. You are also changing the face loft and lie. Basically the adjustments can control if your ball flight is left to right, right to left, higher or lower, etc.
I'm a 16.7 now. Just two months ago I was 20+. The R9 keeps me in the fairway much more than my old Nike Ignite. I have it set at Left Nuetral which is 1.0 closed and +0.5 lie. Keeps my straight and it feels like I'm crushing a marshmallow every time I hit it.
The torque wrench with the R9 is actually easy to use. The write up doesn't mention that it "tells" you when the screws are tight enough. You just twist it all the way until the wrench makes a very loud "click." It won't actually allow you to mess it up.
I love the club.
Yea i'm with merlin and ipv.
I don't get how some people think these clubs are gimmicks and have probably never hit either one of them (I could be wrong and you could have tested both -- but I'm doubting it). I for one have not hit either, but would be very interested to see what the results would be if I used one of them. Again I think the idea behind it is to find your optimal setting --- not to be able to constantly adjust the settings on a day in and day out basis. I'm not going to spend 300 bones to buy one --- but if I had the cash I would give one of these drivers a chance.
I wonder how the current R9 would rank compared to its TM predecessor, the R7 CGB Max Limited with weight kit, 3 different shafts. Since I've found them at about the same price online, though a few places still list it at $999. Before I found a nice used R5 Dual, I was shopping the R7 and R9.
I was surprised that the R9 460 didn't have the movable weights.
I don't think I need to overly defend this club because, frankly, oobgolf is not paid or really getting anything out of reviewing these pieces of equipment. I do there think are a lot of gimmicks from all the major comapanies that go into new equipment year in and year out. These though- are changes to the actual physics of the clubs. To change loft really does mean something. To change the lie angle really does mean something. It's not quite the same as coming up with a new shaped club head for aero dynamics or something. You still have to have a good swing to make them work, but changing properties does matter... or why wouldn't you use a wedge to tee off?
Found 2 kinds of new Taylormade R9 driver for 2010.
Wyatt Fritz says:
One flaw in the article is that when you re-attach the head of the R9 you need to tighten it until you hear a loud snap, that is when the screw is set, if you don't hear the snap, then you're not tight enough.... just thought i would throw that in there because that does make a difference. Overall, the 8>9 is a bad campaign, 9>8 logically and on the course, the standard is less forgiving yes, but it is a better club, made for lower handicaps. The 460 R9 is a good club for mid handicappers, and more closely resembles the Str8 fit, not to mention the R9 lets your feel your shot more, and doesn't sound like a chincy driver.
I have had all kinds of success with my R9 compared to all of my other drivers. I used a Ping g10 last year and the r9 just kills it. My stats are up but it could just be the honeymoon. The r9 3 wood is the best club I have ever hit though. Its just crazy good. Its straight like a hybrid that flies farther. I love it.
One thing I haven't heard is how these clubs are better than opening or closing the clubface at address and regripping?
bruce g says:
does anyone know if you can put the r9 head onto one of the r7cbg max limited shafts??
@ Patrickemerson: It's better because opening and closing the face manually and regripping adjusts the loft, where as these options don't necessarily change the loft by opening or closing. Basically you have more options.
@ Bruce G: I have the R7 CGB Max Limited, and the shafts that come with it appear similar but not the same as the R9 ones. It might work, but there'd be no way to figure out how you had it lined up. I imagine it wouldn't work though due to the way it is designed to fit the CGB Max Limited.
@Original poster: as has been pointed out the torque wrench with the R9 will make an audible click when tightened down completely. You just weren't tightening it down tight enough. It's scary the first few times, but then its fine. Probably similar to the feeling you had with the Nike.
Just picked one up used at Golf Galaxy for $170. I had tried it out when it first came out and liked it but the price tag new $399 was too much. I used it today on neutral. Found it to be very solid and long with less dispersion than my other driver. I hit just a little bit of a push and hit it very high so I changed it to left neutral for tomorrow. Very pleased to have this nice toy for such a bargain.
If the r9 feels anything like the r7 460... count me in !!
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