Inside The Nike Golf Nerve Center
Inside the Golf Nike Nerve Center
Heading West on the I-30 outside of Fort Worth don’t expect a giant swoosh to help direct you to The Oven. You are pretty much into no where when you make a few turns and see a 50,000 square foot building in the distance which has to be our destination. At first glance the outside of the building does not seem like much but as soon as you walk up to the doors you know there is something special inside.
The Oven is where Nike creates, tests, builds, and fits all of its equipment. Walking in the doors and seeing a virtual timeline of the history of Nike Golf including cool keepsakes such as Tigers head cover, and shoes from 1984. There is a constant reminder of performance with a wall dedicated to the last 8 major tournaments that Nike Golf Staff Players have won. As soon as there is a new win on the PGA, Nationwide, European, or LPGA tour #8 gets bumped and everyone gets shuffled down.
Entering the research area of the facility we had to turn in our cell phones as they are very strict on confidentiality. We toured where the clubs are made, how they test MOI off of drivers, where they build custom clubs for PGA tour pro’s etc.
We got a good look at their 3D printer where Tom Stites and his crew would envision the next great thing and draw it on a cad program, the printer lays plastic the width of 1 sheet of paper each pass and after 8hours they have an exact replica of what Tom dreamed up. They can then send this to Tour Pro’s, their marketing team, engineers, etc. to get feedback on the design.
You will also find where Nike spends $300,000 a year buying competitors equipment to take them apart and test durability etc. so that they always remain on the cutting edge of playability and design.
After our tour we headed to the range and were greeted by 3 Oven staff to fit us for equipment. Using motion capture cameras and the Track Man software we were able to hit balls and record data such as launch angle, spin rate, carry, and total distance for each club. After hitting some balls I found that I have always been Dynamic fit with standard lies, but it was clear that I lift my hands at impact and clearly should have been playing 2 degree’s upright for all of these years. A little embarrassing for a Golf Pro who should know better.
Next we headed to the Putter Lab where we used the latest technology to check our launch and skid with our putters. Our Head Pro, Blake was using a non-Nike putter and had 4.5 inches of skid of the face, one he changed to the Method Core putter his numbers went down to 0.4 inches of skid. The less the ball skids the straighter it will role. Joel Monk from HeatherGlen used a Method #1 to sink 24 putts in a row, a little shy of the record of 102 but about 20 putts more than me.
Once all are specs were complete we headed to the 130,000 square foot short game center to play around with some new wedges and putters. The center consists of 3 artificial greens complete with bunkers. You can play them a 3 par 3’s from 100-150yards.
After seeing everything that goes into their VR-S line for 2012 it would be very difficult to recommend anything but. Everyone at the club will be playing these clubs and you will not find more distance while keeping a high trajectory.
As a big suprise to they made me part of the Nike Golf Advisory Staff! They have picked 150 people accross North America who they will lean on to get feedback and insite on future Nike products
Come on by the Proshop and check out their new gear, try a few and see for yourself.