Rory McIlroy at Nike Town London
The giant monument to athletic consumerism that is Niketown in London, just on the corner of the capital’s best known shopping streets, Regent Street and Oxford Street, played host to golfing superstar and all round top bloke Rory McIlroy this week to launch the new, dedicated golfing area. Up till now, Nike Town has had permanent fixtures for general athletics, football and footwear split over it’s various floors, with the odd temporary range brought in. There has been no constant golfing presence. However, as of now, that’s all changed.
Golf has had a solid, uncovering base of support for decades. Until recent years, however, it has been argued that it hasn’t grown a great deal. Much like what you saw in Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, it’s the right star that brings the crowd. When Tiger Woods burst on to the scene he he upped the anti, and when Rory McIlroy started swinging it in the big leagues a younger generation of golfing fans stood up to be counted. With such a boost in popularity, it’s hardly a surprise that Nike Golf has a permanent place at the heart of its London flagship store, and Rory was there to christen it with a few shots in the big course simulator which dominated the shop floor.
Before giving us a glimpse of what is to come when he tees off at Wentworth, he got chatting to the legend that is Chris Kamara. Amidst all the classic innuendo regarding wood, feeling stiff and shaft work, we got to know the world’s No. 1 golfer a little bit better. He chatted about his inspiration, Tiger Woods, his fitness regime, the mentality behind his game and what it is to inspire yet another generation.
“Growing up in Northern Ireland, I looked up to Tiger, and I hope I can inspire youngsters in the same way he inspired me,” said McIlroy. This was just before an 8 year old lad was brought up to meet Rory, who, since high-fiving the world number one previously, has become obsessed with him and golf, dragging his Dad out at all hours to play a round or go to the range. We know just how they feel, both son and father. Rory McIlroy is an inspiration to us here at Average Joes.
One thing we were curious about was what Rory does in training. His transformation from a wiry, fragile looking young golfer who couldn’t even stand on one leg 5 years ago, to a broad shouldered, brick outhouse looking, swinging machine is pretty impressive. Having had numerous back problems and injures he was forced to face the gym for work out routines that focus on his problem area as much as his kinetics, so cable work, rope work, medicine balls, kettle bells , etc. Functional, motion based strength work has become crucial in adding power to his long game.
McIlroy gave the fans a glimpse into his game whilst hitting his Nike clubs into a golf simulator positioned on the ground floor of Niketown London. He hit a variety of shots that he’ll replicate when he tees off on Thursday. Wentworth is a long course and really favours athletes who are long off the tee. Hitting some 300 yard drives for the crowd with his Nike Vapor Pro driver, the four-time Major champion added, “The length of the course this week could favour my game, but ball control is definitely crucial as well.”
Go check it out, sneak into the simulator and toy with some of their newest club innovations and generally have a bit of fun at Niketown in London.