OK, the head covers are off and I am standing on the driving range on an outstanding sunny afternoon here in North Texas ready to light up the skies with golf balls hit by drivers from these behemoths of the golf industry, Nike and TaylorMade..the Nike SQ DYMO SRT8-FIT and the TaylorMade R9.
Actually I am pretty excited since I had never hit either one of these drivers and I had heard so much about them from the media hype I was really ready to see what all the noise is about. The talk around the club was heavier on the TaylorMade since the DYMO had not made it to the demo bag until recently.
I already said my piece on the name of the SQ DYMO STR-8 FIT. Now on to the two other features of the DYMO that I felt needed to be considered for change.
HeadCover: The design of the clubhead cover made it real hard to put the cover on the head with one hand. I have dealt with a lot of head covers from caddying for a number of people over the years and the headcover for the DYMO 8 really takes too much time and effort. However, the pocket on the back of the cover for the adjuster wrench was perfect. The R9 wrench either had to be placed in your pants pocket or in the golf bag pocket making it very inconvenient to use when needed.
Design: The Dymo 8 clubhead design was close to traditional with the dark colored top with the usual center mark on the leading edge of the club face. However the shadow effect along the back edge of the clubhead caught the eye making it noticeable in the corner of the eye at set-up. I found it distracting at address. The UST shaft was superb and provided a very solid feel in the hand. The stock grip was comfortable but felt to be a little too small in diameter. The grip would be the first thing changed if it was going in the bag for competition.
Sound: The unique sound the DYMO made when hitting a golf ball was disturbing. At first the ‘Ponk” sound produced a flinch of anticipation, but over time I was able to ignore it.
So lets get started. Each of these drivers match up in their set up. 10.5 degree of loft, regular shaft, standard length. I started both of them off at their neutral position since that seemed to be a good way to start.
As I loosened up I natural selected the DYMO 8 since it had not been hit yet. The first impression of the practice swing did produce a sense of balance and aerodynamic flow. The R9 practice swing seemed to be loaded, or heavier, in the clubhead throughout the swing and especially at the bottom of the swing, or in the hitting zone.
I gave each Driver 5 shots at different settings to determine which setting I felt worked best for me.
|8 > 9 Compare Matrix (Driving Range)||
Nike SQ DYMO STR8-FIT
|First Hit||Solid straight shot||Solid, Higher Trajectory, straight|
|Warmed Up Shots||Higher launch, solid shot with a slight Draw(my preferred shot)with above average length||Very high launch straight with above average length|
|2° Open Neutral Lie||VERY HIGH Fade||Slice-a-roma|
|2° Closed Neutral Lie||Nuclear West Texas (lower) trajectory boring draw||Average Trajectory with tail-end draw|
I preferred the neutral settings since both drivers appeared to set up open or closed when I addressed the ball which mentally was unsettling.
After dinking around the range I jumped out on the course to see how the two drivers worked when you are looking down a fairway.
The DYMO 8 seemed to set up on the tee nicely, however the more traditional look of the R9 produced a more comfortable feel mentally which, being a feel player, I found important. Both drivers produced the shot I wanted in their neutral settings. The adjustment to Open and Close produce unpredictable shots. The distance for each driver was close with the R9 out distancing the 8 on couple of holes, but overall both hit to the same distance.
Day 2 Testing
I felt in all fairness that for my benefit of determining the better driver the testing of these drivers be done twice to truly test their consistency after now finding the setting that met my comfort.
The next day I carried the clubs back to the range and went through my complete pre-shot routine which each for the five shots I made with each.
The DYMO 8 felt lighter. (I did not have the weights tested). The R9 did seem to produce a slower swing speed but held the swing path better at the top of the swing all the way through impact. The DYMO 8 did produce what felt like a faster swing speed but I had trouble feeling the clubhead at the top of the swing making the downswing a more conscious effort thru impact.
Both drivers did have their positive points and produced some surprisingly solid shots, however, I felt the R9 edged the DYMO 8 out on on feel. Some of the shots made with the DYMO 8 felt as though the clubhead was not on securely (I had the driver checked for defective heads and all was found good with the tightness of the screw on head). For ball flight I did like the DYMO better. The ball seemed to come off the DYMO clubface more consistently ‘Hotter’. Since I am a feel player I find it important to be able to feel the clubhead throughout the swing which the DYMO 8 had difficulty with it’s stock set up in allowing me to confidently feel certain the club was on plane.
Since the DYMO 8 is Nike’s first generation of adjustable clubhead design I am certain the Nike engineers will be able to overcome the design flaws to produce a driver that has a better feel, especially if they continue to let the consumers, the average golfers of the world like me, to review their products in the manor they allowed me to compare.
I want to thank Nike for allowing me to offer my review of their SQ DYMO STR-8 FIT compared to the TaylorMade R9 driver and look forward to seeing how they improve upon that product.