I really looked forward to hitting the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons at the big demo day I was at recently. I mean, don't get me wrong - I enjoy trying just about any irons. But I'd heard some intriguing things about these particular irons, so I was eager to try them out.
Compared to Callaway, PING, TaylorMade and some other club manufacturers, Nike hasn't been in the golf club business very long (Nike's powerful marketing department just makes it seem like they have). In fact, the company's club making didn't really take off until after Tiger started playing with Nike clubs. And, it's always seemed to me like Nike struggled a bit when they first started making golf clubs. Their early irons, in particular, seemed (in my opinion) to be a little shaky.
Lately, though, Nike has been coming on strong. In fact, it's making a run at becoming one of the world's elite club makers. Take the Nike VR Pro driver as an example. I think it can probably stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any company's driver.
So, I was eager to evaluate the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons. And, although they didn't deliver outstanding performance in any one particular area, their overall performance didn't disappoint me.
As usual, I chose the graphite shaft version of these irons (UST Mamiya SQ ProForce AXIVCore shafts in regular flex), but the clubs are also available with True Temper DynaLite steel shafts. Both types of shafts are available in extra-stiff, stiff, regular and senior flex. Women's SQ MACHSPEED irons are available too. The set began at the 4-iron and went up through the gap wedge.
First off, let's talk about their looks. The best word I can think of to describe the appearance of these irons is, well, "funky." "Clunky" or "chunky" would work too. But, they were designed by Tom Stites, Nike's master golf club designer, and they came out of "The Oven," Nike's space-age R & D facility. So I tried my best to ignore the unconventional looks and focus on performance.
I won't go into detail about the technology that's packed into these irons. There's a ton of it, and describing it adequately would take too long. Instead, I'll concentrate on the results I got out on the driving range.
After working my way through the entire set of Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons, I had learned that these babies launch the ball high. If you need help getting the ball in the air (and many players with higher handicaps do), take a look at the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons. The "PowerBow" (the bulging bar that spans the cavity on the back of the club head) moves the head's center of gravity down and toward the back, promoting a high trajectory.
Distance was good but not remarkable. The clubs seemed like they had less offset than what I usually see in maximum game-improvement irons. I normally pull offset irons pretty badly, but these just gave me the nice little draw I'm used to.
I always knew exactly where the club head was throughout my swings, probably because of the PowerBow weighting. I thought they were well-balanced, swung nicely and gave me decent feedback at impact despite feeling a bit heavy. They also seemed forgiving on mishits, and that's an essential in irons designed for mid- to high-handicappers. In fact, the sweet spot of the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons seemed larger than that of many other irons I've tested, and I didn't lose a ton of distance on mishits. The wide-bottomed soles also helped the clubs cut through the rough effectively.
The Bottom Line: Have you heard anyone call someone a "Jack of all trades, master of none?" In my mind, that line describes the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons perfectly. Other than helping golfers hit the ball higher, they're not exactly outstanding at anything. Their distance is okay, and they were pretty accurate and forgiving on mishits, but not spectacular. Not everyone will like their unusual looks or heavy-feeling heads. But if you're the type of golfer who needs help getting your iron shots off the ground, the Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons might be ideal. They're built to promote a higher ball flight and they're good all-around clubs for mid- to high-handicappers. You might be able to say goodbye permanently to "worm-burners" with Nike SQ MACHSPEED irons.