The Big Review – Nike SQ Dymo STR8-FIT Driver
Hot on the heels of their new Dymo Driver is the adjustable version, the STR8-FIT. This version boasts an adjustable hosel with 8 different settings: from hard draw to hard fade and everything in between.
Nike have continued their real commitment to driver technology with the introduction of STR8-FIT. Having been one of the first to take head geometry into the mainstream with one of the first square headed drivers, such as the one played by 2009 US Open Champion Lucas Glover, they have now brought the adjustability that the tour pros enjoy to everyday golfers. Bag Chatter looked at the more traditional shaped version.
SQ Dymo STR8-FIT Chromed sole
|Hand||Right only||Right/Left||Right/Left||Right/Left||Right only|
The standard Dymo saw Nike drop the lurid yellow of the SQ range in favor of matt black and grays. While this was a huge improvement on the previous generations, it was still some way from being anything more than moderately good looking. The Nike SQ Dymo STR8-FIT (to give it its full moniker) takes the looks to a new level. While the standard Dymo is obviously never going to win any beauty pageants, the STR8-FIT looks like it would at least make it into the final group even if it is unlikely to take home the tiara.
Left: Standard Dymo, Right: STR8-FIT Dymo
The gray powerbow is almost identical to the standard version (they start closer to the face and the scoops are fractionally shallower on this version) so no real change there, but the glossy metallic black crown and chromed sole are very classy. The face shape is exactly the same as the standard version but has a ‘gear’ motif. Most interestingly the head shape is subtly more rounded, most noticeably where toe joins the face and correspondingly where the heel leaves the hosel. The glossy finish helps in giving the head some depth and the overall impression is much more attractive and far more pleasing to the eye at address. While the importance of appearance is often over-stated with golf clubs, you have to be able to feel comfortable looking down at a club. This is most true with a driver where you might be staring down the barrel of a tight fairway.
Top: SQ Dymo STR8-FIT Headcover, Bottom: SQ Dymo Headcover
The headcover is very similar to the standard version. It’s a different color from the standard version and has a pocket for the wrench so that you are never without it.
SQ Dymo STR8-FIT face view
So how does the STR8-FIT system work? It’s actually pretty simple. The shaft ends in an adapter that fits into the hosel. The key is that the part of the adapter that fits into the hosel is slightly angled so rotating the shaft mimics bending the hosel in that direction. The adapter is secured by tightening a collar that sits just below the ferrule with the STR8-FIT wrench. The toque wrench that Nike include is a nice piece of kit that beeps and flashes a red light at you to prevent you over-tightening the collar. The first time you try it it does seem a little complicated as you figure out which part of the club you should be holding but it’s pretty simple to figure out although it is explained very well in the manual so you should read that first (golf clubs with manuals…sheesh!).
Top: STR8-FIT System, Bottom: Wrench
The original version was a good honest driver without being particularly extraordinary in any one category – good feel and distance, well weighted with a good balance of forgiveness and workability. It was just a question of whether the numbers that the Dymo produced worked for you. Without even considering the adjustability, the STR8-FIT takes all these facets of performance and gives them a healthy boost. Flight is higher and more penetrating, feel is much improved as the face feels and sounds hotter and the club seems more controllable.
Straight out the box it’s obvious that Nike have tried to aim this at the better golfer without excluding Joe Average. The launch conditions see a very high launch with mid-low spin levels. Those with super high swing speeds will probably see some ballooning but for mere mortals the great balance of launch angle and spin means that you maximize distance. It’s controllable too which is a bit of a surprise given the total length of 45.75". Normally with that sort of length you would expect distance but at the expense of accuracy but there’s little evidence of accuracy being compromised.
The balance between forgiveness and workability is good too. On one hand Nike have not maxed out MOI with this club but it’s plenty high enough to look after your mishits. The upside of this is that you can actually play to move the ball with this driver without worrying about having to completely change your swing and that mishits are hardly punished at all.
The sound is very different from the standard version. Where the normal Dymo is fairly quiet this one is much more raucous and sounds how it feels; supremely hot. While it’s nowhere near the unbearable sounds of the old Cobras, it is pretty loud.
I goes without saying that the most interesting thing about this club is the adjustabilty. Nike’s advertising tells us ‘Set up for straight or set up for shape’ and ‘one club, one swing, eight shots’ and the reality is that changing the hosel position makes a huge difference.
Left: 2 degrees closed, Middle: Neutral, Right: 2 degrees open
There are 8 different positions for the adapter: 3 draw setups, 2 neutral (they differ by loft) and 3 fade setups. Cranking the face closed sees the ball dive towards the left side of the fairway. Get out the wrench and take the face all the way open and the ball will fade off to the right. This means that you can set up the face so that the driver plays the way the course needs or set it up to compensate for any particular swing issue you have. Changing the face angle is far more effective at changing the flight of the ball than moving weights or adding lead tape and altering the club so that it fits you can transform this driver into a real beast.
Another of the other big improvements with the STR8-FIT versus the normal version is the stock shaft – the UST Proforce AXIVCore in this version is the real deal rather than a ‘made for’ version that you often find with other stock shafts. Not only does this change the feel of the shaft (it’s reminiscent of the original and outstanding Proforce) but makes it feel far more stable throughout the entire swing. The 59 gram shaft can take a higher swingspeed than you think for such a light shaft and the 2 higher weights (69g and 79g) means that no one is left out.
The only thing about this club that isn’t positive is the headcover. While it’s great to have the wrench with the club at all times and designing a headcover for a 460 cc head can’t be that easy, it also can’t be that hard. With the club performing as well as it does, you want to use it at every opportunity but getting it out of the headcover is a hassle and putting it back sees you wrestling with the damn thing like you’re trying to shove a grapefruit into a small mammal.
Like the MX-700 Driver we previously review, the SQ Dymo STR8-FIT is another gold medal winner in the Golf Digest hot list and it’s easy to see why. The combination of great performance and adjustability makes this Nike’s best driver yet.
It goes without saying that a huge amount of effort must have gone into the hosel technology. Not only in creating the asymmetric plug to move around the face angle but also doing so in a way that would not wildly change the performance of the clubhead and just a importantly the shaft. Of course, those in the know are still desperate to find out if and when the smaller 380cc version will be coming out but for those who don’t have insanely high swing speeds and appreciate the ability to be able to customize the face angle to match their swing, this is a genuine contender for best driver currently available.
Interestingly, not everyone I’ve spoke to have been positive about adjustable clubs. Some have said that golfers should learn to hit the ball properly and not rely on clubs to cure a hook or a slice. In one way he has a point – all golfers would benefit by having a better swing – but for recreational golfers who can’t or don’t play enough that is a little over-idealistic and anything within the rule that makes the game more enjoyable deserves consideration. There’s also the fact that one of the things that make Tour equipment so good is that it is tweaked for the pro’s swing. Adjustable clubs give us mortals the same advantage so all it’s doing is getting us a little closer to what our heroes play and the SQ Dymo STR8-FIT is a great example of what can be done.