Are You Considering a Nike SQ Driver?

If you're thinking about getting a Nike SQ driver, you can choose from several models. The Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black driver is the model that's currently being sold. Apparently Justin Leonard, Michelle Wie and Curtis Strange think the MACHSPEED is pretty good - they're using this club in professional tournaments. This particular Nike SQ driver comes in two versions - one with a traditionally-shaped round club head and one with a square-shaped head.

Of course, you could also choose one of the older models of this driver, like the SQ Dymo² (SQ Dymo Squared, another square-headed driver), the SQ Sumo² 5900 (also square), the SQ Sumo 5000, the SQ 460, the plain old SQ Sumo and so on. Because the "SQ" in the name is an abbreviation for "SasQuatch," you can also find these drivers listed this way.

Compared to other companies, Nike hasn't been making golf clubs for long. You'd never know it from their marketing campaigns. The company hit the marketing jackpot when Tiger started using its clubs, and it hasn't looked back. And, as you can tell from all the Nike SQ drivers I mentioned above, the company has been busy since it started producing this line. But quantity isn't anywhere near as important as quality. So, I tested the current Nike SQ MACHSPEED driver to find out whether this might be a driver you should consider. More specifically, I hit the traditional, round-headed version of the Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black driver at great length during a recent demo day. The club I evaluated was a 10.5 degree loft with the stock Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki regular flex graphite shaft, but the shaft also comes in extra-stiff, stiff and senior flexes. Loft choices include 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 13 degrees.

First off, I have to say that this is an awesome-looking club. As its name implies, this baby is black and it looks like a brute at address. It's true that TaylorMade has recently popularized white-headed drivers, woods and hybrids, but this black Nike SQ driver looks sleek, stealthy, powerful and hot in a way that no white driver can. Unlike the square version that's also available, the round head gives this particular Nike SQ driver a classic look. Can you tell that I loved the way this club looked at address? It inspired confidence, and that's important no matter how skillful you are.

Okay, so this Nike SQ driver looks great. But how does it play?

Nike says it designed the Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black driver to have optimal aerodynamics throughout the swing, reducing air drag to promote maximum club head speed and energy transfer at impact. The club also felt light in my hands. Both characteristics can help golfers attain faster swing speeds without trying as hard, and faster swings translate into the potential for more distance. My driver swing speed normally averages around 90 mph, but the launch monitor at the demo day reported that I was swinging this driver between 93 and 95 mph, so I guess what Nike did worked, at least as far as swing speed.

Like some other drivers on today's market, the Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black driver is adjustable. The company's STR8-FIT system allows players to choose between eight different settings which alter the club's lie and face angles. The adjustments are easy to make with the wrench that's included with the driver, but it took me a while to figure out the right settings for my particular swing and shot preference. If I owned this driver, I suspect I'd leave the settings alone once I found the right ones - at least until my swing changed. You can adjust the lie angle from two degrees flat through neutral to two degrees upright, and the face angle can be adjusted from two degrees open (to promote a fade) to neutral to two degrees closed (to promote a draw/correct a tendency to slice).

The Bottom Line: This Nike SQ driver has a powerful, appealing look at address. Its light weight and sophisticated aerodynamics can boost your swing speed and give you more distance, even though it's not the longest driver I've ever hit. Once you figure it out (which might take a while), the STR8-FIT system can help you control your shot shape and the ball's trajectory. Although it's considered a game-improvement driver, this Nike SQ driver would probably be suitable for just about any amateur player.

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