Harrow has sprung back onto the scene with a vengeance with the introduction of three new top-of-the-line racquets. With the experience of lifelong racquetball loyalist and elite player Woody Clouse, Harrow has combined common sense and physics to create a top-notch blend of control, durability, and leverage. The narrow frame and ultra-tight string pattern creates stability and maximizes control, alongside a longer throat that creates extra leverage to translate into added power. The Harrow Connect 160 is lightweight and maneuverable, but still offers the power we all strive for. At 160 grams, 9 points head-heavy, and a swing-weight of 157, the Connect hits a wide range of game styles. The RbW Playtest team had no idea what to expect when they picked up the Harrow Connect, but were excited to get it on the court and see how it matched up to other top racquets.
The RbW team knew the new Harrow line would be powerful due to the elongated throat and grip. Croft started with, “Just looking at the design, I could tell the racquets were going to be powerful. The longer throat definitely created more leverage into the ball. The head-heaviness of the Connect definitely aided in my power on setups and drive serves.” Ben L. chimed in saying, “The head heavy balance, combined with the light strung weight, made this racquet explosive when you could set up and swing through a shot, but it’s not meant for players who are often reacting to shots or finding themselves behind the ball.”
Control was an obvious focus when looking at the Connect. Ben L. kicked off by saying, “If you can control this racquet, then you can control the ball very well. The dense string pattern and narrow frame provide the tools and racquet response necessary to place the ball where you want, but you have to have the swing speed and timing to make it work.” Croft sung his praises of its control saying, “The tight string pattern really makes this racquet atop my personal control rankings. I felt like the longer throat took a little bit away from control since I couldn’t always get the frame around as quickly as I wanted, but overall I was very pleased with where the ball ended up. Due to my swing-speed, I’ve always been able to control lighter racquets the best, and the Connect certainly wasn’t any different.”
Feel is the one category that didn’t shine for team. Croft started by commenting, “Where the tight string pattern creates superior control, it takes away from the overall feel of the frame. I’m usually a player that needs a vibration dampener since I don’t like much feedback, but I didn’t need one for this racquet, which I wasn’t a big fan of. It had too little feedback and I actually needed to take the dampener out to get the feedback I was looking for. It didn’t feel 9 points head-heavy though, I’m glad we took them out on the court before we knew the specs. To me they felt just a few points head-heavy.” Ben L. was on the same page saying, “The lightest racquet in Harrow’s line had a really solid feel when you would ‘connect’ with the sweet spot, but if you don’t, you’ll feel it. With that said, the dense string pattern really cuts down on vibration and gives this racquet a very dampened feel on all shots, so I wouldn’t recommend it for the player who prefers a lot of string bed feedback.”
Overall the playtest team was more than content with the playability of the Harrow Connect 160. The team sung high praises of power and control, but thought there was something to be desired in the feel category. Croft concluded, “Harrow did a really nice job with these racquets. After a short amount of time on the courts with the Connect 160, it quickly became one of my favorite racquets. I like the fusion between power and control, and I felt the Connect complimented my game really well.” Ben L. shared the same sentiments wrapping it up, “The Connect was a bit light and head heavy for my level of play and swing speed, but I was impressed with the combination of power and control when I stroked the ball cleanly. The biggest difficulty I had was adjusting my timing, but with more time on the court I know I would further settle into the racquet.”