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Nike SQ MachSpeed Black Driver Review -- something old in something new


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#1 Asleep

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 10:22 PM

Preface

I have not played golf all of my life -- picked up the game at 40 in 2000. I realized most of the men in my life who I wanted to spend time with played golf, so I took up the game to socialize. It quickly became an obsession.

I soon purchased my first woods: a Wilson Deep Red 3-wood, then driver based on internet reviews. (Wilson had been a good brand in tennis.) I liked my fatshaft woods. But I began to notice they did not draw much driving range envy. I started looking around to see which brands did.

As I met local PGA pros, it became clear that Titleist was a brand that many better players bagged in Southeast Texas. My discovery of internet golf forums led me to an appreciation for Taylor Made equipment -- technologically innovative and played by some top names on tour. I was developing a brand consciousness -- a hierarchy of most envied/desired brands -- a type of pre-judging based on what name was pressed into the metal. Boys and our toys ... we're always looking to see how we measure up. Pride of ownership became important.

I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say I spent years testing/trying/buying/tweaking/trading/selling all of the clubs that generated "buzz" on and off the forums. I learned a lot, but the improvement in my scores slowed. These last five years I've moved from perennial equipment tester to focusing my time on learning about the golf swing -- a daunting task. I prefer not having to think about variables like equipment anymore. Heck, I don't even like changing balls. But just when I think I'm past all of "that", I'm now called on to post my equipment impressions for GolfWRX -- read: they suck me back in!!!

The Nike SQ MachSpeed Black Round Driver

MachSpeed1.JPG

Which brings me to Nike. Nike, for reasons I do not know, was one of those brands that did not stir up that driving range envy mentioned above. Not, at least, in men around my age around here. But a GolfWRX member whose opinion I trust urged me to try a SUMO2 - I shafted it up with my fave Matrix Altus. Nice driver, kicked the venerable R7 425/TP-7x out of my bag. It's a fairway finder that has a pretty loud, tin-can like report. But I saw, for the first time, that Nike had caught up performance wise.

The MachSpeed Black is a good looking stick -- I've liked all-black drivers ever since I built up an Alpha V.2/Speeder 757 years ago. The stock shaft is a blacked out version of Mitsubishi's lauded Fubuki line weighing in at 52 grams in Stiff flex. The crown is smooth and does not have that tiered effect you've seen on prior Nikes. The Round version's 460cc head is flat enough to leave no doubt about its size but proportionately correctly shaped around the sweet spot to align you to the face & target. There's a stealth bomber looking impression in the sole plate that channels air around the head for reduced drag and higher swing speeds. I was pleasantly surprised when Bill at Strictly Golf measured it at a D4 swingweight.

The upshot is a club that feels "right there" when you waggle it. The good swingweight offsets any feel of a too light shaft and there's no soft/noodle feel to this Fubuki. I like that. Out of the box, the face angle looked okay -- perhaps a bit closed. No worries, though, as the MachSpeed Black comes with Nike's Str8-Fit adjustability. (My first adjustable driver.)

On to Blackhorse Golf Club's South Course

First day out, results were below par with my swing. Granted, 20+ mph winds and wet conditions aren't conducive to good driving -- but something wasn't right. I was either hitting high short draws or low hooks. It took until I noticed I was screwing my hands clockwise at setup before I realized the face was closed for me. By then we were heading in and I wasn't comfortable with trying to rotate the Str8-Fit open without instructions. Best report was from my buddy Phil who really liked the long draws he was hitting with the MachSpeed compared to his Superfast. Makes sense as he tends to leave the face open and miss right.

(Note that I also had new irons in the bag, as well: the Nike VR Pro Combo forged. I have to admit my focus was much more on the irons than this driver during that round.)

msbcrown.JPG
msbface.JPG

Memorial Park

So I read the instructions and set the Str8-Fit 2 degrees open before heading out to Memorial Park for a round. But now it's worse. I'm really pushing my hands forward at address. Instead of 2 degrees open it's 2 degrees closed. I'm a knucklehead. I finally get the head 2 degrees open, eyeball it, and it looks good. Thwack. Nice high fall-away fade. A few more of those and things are getting back to normal, although a bit too much fade. I readjust to 1 degree open and ... wow!

Sound and Feel -- something old

Sound and feel in a driver may be more important now than ever before, and the MachSpeed Black has it in spades. Every single golfer who has tried this driver loves its sound/feel. And I know why. Remember the fantastic R510TP "Titanium-on-the-toe" tour heads? Many still consider those the best feeling drivers ever made. Solid, muted, not-tinny. Take that sound and feel, up the volume by about 30%, and you've got the Machspeed Black. A thwack! that rivals my favorite/sounding feeling drivers of all time. [Side note: after the round, I visit my buddy Jim at his golf retail store. Jim's a Nike dealer, but was not stocking the MachSpeed Black ..... I urged him to try it. Jim, who competes in local/state amateur tourneys, was still hitting the MSB & checking the launch monitor results 20 minutes later! He, too, was very impressed with the sound & feel and reported the numbers equaled or bettered everything else he'd tried.]

The feel also extends to where on the face you're striking the ball. I can tell exactly where on the face my misses are -- not in a harsh way, just in a positively informative way. My buddy Tom remarked about how easy it was for him tell where his misses were. This is important feedback, imo. As the round progresses Mel, Tom, and Bill are sharing their thoughts on why Nike wasn't a go to brand for guys our age range. The reasons were varied and unimportant as far as I'm concerned because performance is the final arbiter.  

msbshaft.JPG

Performance

The Nike MachSpeed Black is as long as anything I've hit on the course. I emphasize "on the course" because I've readily found differences between drivers in real world play that were indistinguishable using only launch monitor results. Why is the MSB longer? Superior rollout, imo. The very same superior rollout that put my 9015D in the bag. I first noticed it on the range when I had it cranked 2* open. Those high swinging cuts were shooting forward after impact. I got the same results on the course. Don't ask me why -- I'm not that smart. All I know is my ball marks are similarly placed but final distance is longer. Background on me: I play off a 5 hdcp. My driver swing speed is right at 100 mph and I carry the ball around 240 yards. Spin is usually ~2900 rpm with the correct shaft. Driver to driver to driver results for me are almost always about the same, not much variability. So when I find something that advances performance on the golf course it's pretty obvious. The MSB was pretty obvious.

My buddy Tom is a burly fellow with an aggressive 105 mph swingspeed. When his driver is "on", he's out there around 300 yards. His misses kill him. His misses are well off the sweetspot and usually off the course. Tom's first few tries with the MachSpeed Black were hissing straight rockets. Sounded great, looked great -- we ooh'd & ah'd. But it was his misses that impressed us the most. Tom cracked an extreme heel pull shot that's always left of left in the woods/water ..... but this time it held its course and only lost minimal distance, finishing by the cart path. An extreme toe shot gave similar improved results. The across the face forgiveness of the driver is pretty amazing. Tom's comment after 8 drives to me was to the point: "How much do you want for it?"

msbcover.JPG

Niggles

  • The headcover is difficult to get on the head. The stretchy fabric/elastic at the opening is about an inch too low/long to easily slip the head into the cover. A step back from the Sumo2.
  • The Str8-Fit instructions weren't clear enough for this simple-minded golfer to get it right until the 3rd try. Hint: use the markings on the butt of the grip & common sense. The electronic light & sound torque wrench is pretty cool, though.
  • Sorry, but the name is too dang long -- Nike SQ MachSpeed Black Round Str8-Fit.

Why not Nike?

At the end of the day, and the end of our round, prior objections to the Nike brand give way to critical evaluation of its clubs on the course. Everything else doesn't matter. The SQ MachSpeed Black Round pushes the performance envelop and recalls the best sound & feel I've experienced in a driver. To be honest with you, I was a little surprised -- pleasantly surprised. Packing up to leave the course, Mel reminds me he wants to buy the VR Pro Combo forged irons from me when I'm ready. And Tom reaffirms he'll buy the MachSpeed Black whenever I'll sell.

Sorry, guys ......................................................................... I'm not ready to sell.
Posted Image



Full disclosure
current driver: Adams 9015D 9.5* Matrix Ozik Altus  
Nike Golf submitted the driver for review

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#2 Ezgolfer

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 10:57 PM

Great review at right time .
I bought one this evening after hitting a bucket comparing my G15 with TFC to machspeed black with fubuki.
Will play tomorrow. :clapping:

#3 Golfjunki71

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 11:15 PM

Awesome review. It is between this the 910 and r11. I bought all three to compare
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#4 Riuzzi

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:36 AM

Great review, T! I'm a little worried about the very light stock shaft, but the solid sound and low spin (?) definitely sounds intriguing!

Have you tried the R9 460? If so, can you compare the two?

#5 jldavis73

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 09:36 AM

Exceptional review.  I have owned two Nike drivers and thought they were as good, if not better, than others.  I go with the Superfast now because I seem to control it better, but my Dymo2 is longer.

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#6 hogan64

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 11:45 AM

Asleep, great write up and I feel like you've read my mind. This driver is a winner and those who won't consider it because of "brandism" are missing out.
I asked this question on your original thread but have not received any info; Is the Str8fit adapter the same as the previous generation? Would be fun to try different shafts although I was impressed with the stock offering.

#7 Golfjunki71

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 04:41 PM

I hope you are right, I dint get any roll with the 910
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#8 Asleep

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 05:12 PM

 Riuzzi, on 16 January 2011 - 06:36 AM, said:

Great review, T! I'm a little worried about the very light stock shaft, but the solid sound and low spin (?) definitely sounds intriguing!
I'm "sensitive" to lighter shafts, too, Michael -- my preference is ~70 grams and I like very heavy shafts, too. But the overall impression for me was not that of a superlight shaft. I think the stock D4 swingweight and the rigidness of the Fubuki must offset it. Bigger hitters will want to go with X or install their favorite custom shaft.

Nike's custom shaft list is as extensive as any I've seen. (Matrix HD6 might be nice!)


 Riuzzi, on 16 January 2011 - 06:36 AM, said:

Have you tried the R9 460? If so, can you compare the two?
Hit it. It was another driver that was just mehPosted Image for me. Metallic sound, as I recall.


 hogan64, on 16 January 2011 - 11:45 AM, said:

...Is the Str8fit adapter the same as the previous generation?
I'll have to check on that -- this is the first adjustable driver I have bagged.  :blush:
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#9 schwollo

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:24 PM

Blackhorse south can be tough! memorial, not so much.  great review !

#10 marltonfjm

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:45 PM

Nice review.  I played a demo of the 9.5 Machspeed Black at my club today.  I'm a pee shooter with a SS of only 92 so the stiff flex wasn't right for me but I can tell you that this stick is deadly accurate as it just wants to go straight.  My only complaint is the ball flight which was too high for my taste.  I've tried most of the Nike drivers and this is their best by far IMHO.


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#11 Redbird

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:04 PM

Had a chance to hit mine with the X-Flex.  Right now this thing will knock my G15 out of the bag, but will reserve final judgment till I hit the VR Pro coming in Feb.

#12 Redbird

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:05 PM

....and yes the head cover is a PITA to put on.

#13 MrParr1Noid

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 11:13 PM

Great review Todd, and I'll have you put my reservations in during the Shell Houston Open for your MSB. :bb:

I always thought that the Fubuki shaft in white looked pretty cool but that "stealth" black looks awesome.  The smooth crown on the Nike SQ MachSpeed Black look oh so much better than that freaking halo they had before.

Once you get it dialed in?  Throw the wrench away... :D

Great Job  :D
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#14 Ezgolfer

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:37 AM

Played my first round . On an average 10 yards longer than my G15   TFC stiff and hit all fairway except one . I am not sure whether it's the lighter shaft . I was playing Prov1 which usually knocks my distance , but not with this bad boy .
Has a spot in my bag . I haven't messed with the settings .
Nike got this one right .....,

#15 Shaank0

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:00 AM

Yea i have mine and enjoy it, not sure if i really like the stock shaft, so i am upgrading to a avixcore tour green.


#16 goliath23

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:53 AM

Anybody with a fast swing speed see the same results. I have about 115+ pretty easily when I go for it. I am not against the big head if it offers the forgiveness I want and need.
Is their stock shaft any good or will I have to upgrade?

#17 Clark

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:08 AM

I got a 118 SS tried it out and results where pretty good... Shaft needs to be upgraded cause I was putting out a couple numbers I didn't like... forgiveness is pretty good, but in comparison to my G15, the results weren't good enough for me to make the jump. Though it looks really good and may have more forgiveness it wouldn't be that big of a difference from my current driver. IMO

#18 ballywho27

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:18 AM

I have one with the Aldila RIP 70 shaft.  I have hit it a couple of times on the rangne and i am impressed.  I don't have any on course review b/c its been cold, rainy & snowy ever since i got it.

#19 Ezgolfer

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:38 AM

G15 is a great driver , however lacking somewhat in feedback . Nike machspeed black  has a smaller centered sweetspot easy to align and the black face will have ball impressions. You would know where you hit it exactly .
My distance gain has more to do with a lighter shaft .

#20 craz-e

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 02:42 PM

I hit this quite a while a go now and posted my thoughts in the "worst driver of 2010" thread (obviously tested it last year). I would like to take this chance to retract those comments. I am still not a fan of the standard Fubuki shaft but my instructor gave me a 8.5* with a voodoo X-stiff shaft and boy did I hit some great shots with it. Figures coming back from Trackman indicated pretty perfect launch angles and spin rates with an added bonus of 10 extra yards carry and 15 yards longer than my current R9 (460) with an Oban Devotion. Overall I was very impressed with the feel and accuracy of this driver. More testing required!, thinking the RIP could be awesome in this


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#21 Asleep

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 06:38 PM

 craz-e, on 21 January 2011 - 02:42 PM, said:

...my instructor gave me a 8.5* with a voodoo X-stiff shaft and boy did I hit some great shots with it. Figures coming back from Trackman indicated pretty perfect launch angles and spin rates with an added bonus of 10 extra yards carry and 15 yards longer than my current ...
Yeah, you've got to get the right loft and face angle set up ... and the stock shaft may need to be changed in favor of another ... but I'm finding more & more folks who get their best drives with the Nike MachSpeed Black.
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#22 DC300

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:09 PM

I looked at these in store, IMO the BEST looking driver on the market, yet I'm still a little put off by Nike in general, they sold a lot of inferior products at premium prices and the VR driver wasn't even in the ball park of others for me, so this will have to be REALLY special for me to get on board.   I have gotten such phenomenal numbers from the 9064 that I don't know if anything can even come close, but we will see.

#23 Lee91

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:21 PM

Pretty good looking driver, I did not like my last Nike so much the Vr.  Hopefully this one is forgiving!!

#24 sickasadog

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 06:12 PM

anyone know if the RIP upshaft option is the real deal? Anyone try it with the RIP 60?

#25 tickyboy

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 09:06 PM

Best feeling Nike driver to date, I was hitting one today with a rip 70X at 9.5.  Good ballspeed and spin, but I don't think the RIP was a compliment for my swing unfortunately.  I could see myself bagging one at some point, albeit a different shaft.

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#26 esomantecha

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 08:32 PM

Has anyone hit the square version of this driver?  Seems to have slipped off the radar a little bit.  

I really liked previous offerings of other Nike drivers, not the Machspeed but the Sumo and Sumo 5900.

#27 Asleep

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:27 PM

 esomantecha, on 30 January 2011 - 08:32 PM, said:

Has anyone hit the square version of this driver?  Seems to have slipped off the radar a little bit.  

I really liked previous offerings of other Nike drivers, not the Machspeed but the Sumo and Sumo 5900.
MSB is better than the tour issue Sumos I've had, and I'm getting some stupid long drives for me with it.

Sound & feel is still impressive.  :good:
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#28 happyrock622

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

I just picked up this driver today.  I must have hit 7 or 8 different drivers today with a bunch of different shafts and this one was the best for me.  I ended up getting it with the Fubuki stiff 10.5.  My SS was around 105-110 and it was pretty consistant on the monitor, everything was slightly to the right.  I will take it to the range tomorrow (too cold to play) but I think I have a winner on my hands.  I wasn't even going to try this one because I had a few in mind that I wanted but luckily for me I was willing to give it a go and I'm glad I did.

#29 tms2c

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:58 PM

I've always enjoyed your stuff, Asleep, but this review in particular was great. I've been hard on Nike in the past just because of the name and I really feel like they're starting to get it. My dislike of Nike is weird because I have no problem with Wishon or a component manufacturers but for some reason I could never take the swoosh seriously. I think that's starting to change.

#30 MAllen

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 10:06 PM

I tried this driver and today and was really surprised.  I was hitting it longer than the superfast 2.0 I tried last week but hopefully next weekend I am going to try them side by side on the course.  The nike seemed to have forgiveness, workability, and it had the distance.  Even when I thought I mishit it, it went far.  The flight seemed to be a little high for what I like but then again it went the distance.


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