The Big Review – Nike Dymo Driver and Fairway Woods
While not having the renown of their other clubs, Nike have nevertheless managed to create a big noise with their woods in recent years. While their irons are almost universally acclaimed their woods especially seem to have a ‘love it or hate it’ quality. People either say that they are amongst the best of their type or say that they will never stack up against the woods from the likes of TaylorMade and Titleist.
The attentions of their lead designer, Tom Stites, is always going to mean that these new clubs will lack little if anything in the technology stakes and their new Dymo (Dynamic Moment of Inertia) woods are no exception. Re-designed from the ground up to optimise launch and spin, Bag Chatter got to try the new non STR8-FIT Dymo Drivers and Fairways.
Specs are as yet unconfirmed but Nike are thought to offer the Driver in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 13 and the fairway in 3+, 3, 4 and 5 woods.
The Dymo drivers are fairly unusual in that different lofts also have differing lie angle, head size, face depth, COG, and even MOI so the difference between one with a 9.5 and one with a 10.5 is more than just the face angle.
Much better looking and a huge improvement on the previous versions, Nike have dropped the lurid yellow for the Dymo range and instead opted for a semi-matt black that covers the crown and most of the sole and red wording graphics that gives a nod to the newly released Victory Red range of irons. The face is better shaped and less blocky. The PowerBow is much smaller, more attractively shaped and slightly darker but does its usual sterling job of making the 460cc heads look more manageable and on the fairways actually makes the clubs look fairly handsome at address. It’s unlikely that these clubs are ever going to win any beauty pageants but they have come a long way from the fist Nike woods and are a definite improvement on the previous iterations.
One of the most noticeable features of the fairway woods is the ‘Quad Keel Sole’. What this means is that the sole of the club is shaped into four distinct quadrants, the idea being that this shaping of the sole allows a more positive interaction with the turf. Better interaction with the turf means that the club can be used with more varied lies than normal and should also increase control in impact.
This sort of shaped sole is reminiscent of the Callaway War Bird and Big Bertha fairway woods but given that both these clubs are two classic fairway woods of recent times, that’s not exactly a bad thing.
The Dymo2 driver was one of the straightest drivers I’ve ever tested, it was almost impossible to work to ball either by accident or design. It’s not to say that a duck-hook swing would produce anything but a duck-hook but a slight mis-swing would produce a mild fade or draw at worst. Ball flight was high and the amount of spin produced with the stock shaft meant that this was never going to be the longest driver and better players may be a little put off by how toed-in the driver is. Those who fight a slice will love it however. The normal Dymo appeared to have a much better balance than the squared version and feels far more natural at address. That it’s dead square at address helps but the club seems to retain it’s poise throughout the swing, the better aerodynamics having an obvious effect. Although slightly lower than the square version the flight from the standard Dymo is still high but is much more penetrating. Noise levels are a huge improvement over the previous verisions with the square Dymo a million miles away from the tin-can-on-a-stick noise that plagued the SQ Sumo 5900.
Dymo Drivers: Round version on top, Square version on bottom
Both clubs have hot and fairly shallow faces and while we all know that COR restrictions mean that all drivers are pretty much the same, the sound and feedback from flushing one out of the middle is very good on the square version and dangerously good on the standard one.
At 45.75″ the shaft is on the long side for control and the stock versions provided were the 55g versions of Nike’s proprietry Wide Body Shaft with Axiv Core made by UST. This light shaft is obviously aimed at the mid-high handicapper and performs well at the swingspeeds of this handicap range and even a little higher but stronger players will find them easy to over-power. The stiff tip nature of this shaft does offer a lot more stability than you might expect in a super-light stock shaft that will suit the vast majority of players but when all said and done, it is still an 55g shaft that will have a tendency to balloon for those with an aggressive transition. The spin from this combination is mid-range which should be perfect for most mid-high ‘cappers and as you would expect the square version spinning a small but noticeable amount more.
Dymo2Driver left and Dymo right
Both versions of the Dymo fairways are both top quality clubs. The sweetspot is spread wide across the face on both types of clubs and the ball comes off hot. The square version is straighter and the standard version more workable but both offer great versatility in being able to play from both the tee, the fairway and light rough. You can feel the Quad Keel technology making a difference even off the fairway. The cunning design gives you a bit more leeway in hitting the ball off the deck as you can sweep the ball or take a divot with equal ease and the low COG and relatively shallow face of the clubs easily get the ball up in the air. If anything the square version makes more sense as the higher MOI straightens those errant shots so you can be confident of navigating those holes that demand a long, but more importantly accurate, tee shot. Of course if you want to work the ball, the rounded version does the business.
Like the previous iterations of drivers and fairways, the square and non-square versions of the drivers are aimed at two different sets of players. Mid to high handicappers will adore the Dymo2 for it’s ability to generate straight drives that travel further than they ought to and mid handicappers who are looking for a well balanced mix of forgiveness, power and workability would do well with the normal Dymo. The looks and sound of the Dymo is a great improvement on the SQ Sumo in all areas but it will be up to the individual to decide that the performance is enough. It seems that Nike have historically found it difficult to convince the better player that their standard Driver has the right balance of feel, control and forgiveness. This is reinforced by the number of Pro’s the use the SQ Tour rather than the SQ 5000. The use of the Dymo by the likes of Antony Kim may reassure better players that it is a real option but rumors that what is in use on Tour is a smaller, Tour-only prototype will not.
The fairways may prove to be a sleeper hit as they are very very good. The role of a fairway has changed somewhat with the increase in forgiveness in Drivers and the rise of lower lofted hybrids but these two great clubs should be considered by pretty much everybody looking to buy a new fairway wood.
As with all things Nike golf, it remains for a certain T. Woods to put one into play before the world will judge them an uncritical success.