Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review the 2010 SQ MachSpeed driver, and I was impressed with not only how far I hit it (for me), but how straight I hit it. The MachSpeed line was expanded to include fairway woods, hybrids and irons, all packed with technology that maximizes distance, accuracy and forgiveness, as well as the cutting edge visual design that Nike Golf is known for. You can see more about the line in the SQ MachSpeed driver microsite and irons microsite on nikegolf.com.
For 2011, Nike Golf is adding to the SQ MachSpeed line, and they are doing so in impressive fashion. They are introducing the new SQ MachSpeed Black driver which will be available in both round and square models, and Nike Golf gave us a sneak peek at this very cool new driver in this video on their YouTube channel. The driver will be available at retail this Friday, and it’s no coincidence that’s Black Friday. Yesterday Nike Golf rolled out their new TV commercial featuring the MachSpeed Black, you can see that here:
A few weeks ago Nike Golf sent me the round version of the new SQ MachSpeed Black driver to test and review, so I headed over to the range at my local course Stonecreek Golf Club. Along with the new MachSpeed Black driver I brought the original SQ MachSpeed (square) driver for comparison. Both drivers feature Nike Golf’s STR8-FIT technology, and both have 10.5 degrees of loft and the stock shaft in stiff flex. I share my findings with you below, so let’s get started.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
Straight out of the box, this is one very cool looking driver. “Stealth” is a great way to describe it with it’s all-black appearance. It has a black metallic crown, dark metal face, black glossy sole with MachSpeed Black graphics and contrasting matte black diffuser inset in the sole. Notably, the STR8-FIT collar on the hosel is now black (it was silver on the original MachSpeed driver). The matte black Mitsubishi Fubuki shaft continues the dark look, and it has a cool Japanese throwing star pattern on the top of the shaft by the grip. The grip is Nike SQ Crossline STR8-FIT by Lamkin.
The headcover continues the black theme, and has a molded pattern that reflects that of the sole diffuser. The pocket for the STR8-FIT wrench has been eliminated from the headcover, which is a great move that keeps the headcover simple and light. The STR8-FIT wrench comes with a nylon bag (like the VR driver) and stores easily in a pocket in my golf bag.
The overall look of the SQ MachSpeed Black driver is very striking — if Darth Vader played golf, this club looks like it came straight out of his bag. The design details are thoughtfully considered and attention grabbing, and the first time you pull it out of your bag your friends will definitely want to check it out.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
The style of the MachSpeed Black is impressive, but the performance is even more so. In the initial swings on the range the first thing I noticed is that the club head feels lighter than the original SQ MachSpeed driver. The head feels like it glides through the air, and I think the advanced aerodynamics are responsible for that. The sole diffuser and powerbow channel in the toe and trailing edge of the head help smooth the airflow during the swing. It felt like I could generate a lot of speed with this driver without over-swinging — a smooth swing creates a pleasing “whoosh” sound through the hitting zone.
I brought a launch monitor with me so I could measure distance in comparison to the original MachSpeed. That driver was long and straight for me, but the MachSpeed Black is longer. In my tests the MachSpeed Black was on average 5 to 8 yards longer than the original MachSpeed, and at times the distance I got was 10 or more yards longer.
The MachSpeed Black was not only longer, it was straight too. The original MachSpeed felt very straight at address because of the square shape, and I can only think that the square version of the MachSpeed Black will have the same feel (I tested the round version). But the results of my drives were very straight (for me), and I can only think the lighter (or lighter feeling) head and the aerodynamics are responsible for the combination of accuracy and increased distance. I was initially very impressed with the performance of the MachSpeed Black, both in the distance I gained and the accuracy I was able to maintain.
Like its predecessor the SQ Machspeed, the MachSpeed Black features eight face angle options, ranging from 2 degrees open to 2 degrees closed. It’s very easy to adjust — with a few turns of the included STR8-FIT wrench I was able to remove the head and move it to one of the other face angle positions in under a minute. An enclosed card has a diagram of all 8 positions, and it’s easy to tell which position the clubhead is in by using the diagram on the butt end of the grip in relation to the arrow on the hosel.
The round version of this driver lends itself to playability and shot-shaping. The STR8-FIT adjustability allows you to open or close the face angle to promote a fade or a draw. I feel I can work the ball with this driver, especially with aid of an open or closed face angle position.
I was impressed with the distance increase I got with the SQ MachSpeed Black driver. I gained 5 to 8 yards on average over the original SQ MachSpeed. and when I hit the ball on the sweet spot, the ball just rocketed off the clubface and I gained 10 or more yards in extra distance.
The MachSpeed Black is not only long, but straight too. I was able to control the club and keep my drives on line, thanks to the lighter head weight and advanced aerodynamics. My drives flew long and straight at my target.
The MachSpeed Black was very forgiving — mis-hit shots went pretty much as far as solid hits. A shot hit in the middle of the club face went the farthest of course, but evens shot hit away from the center of the face went surprisingly (and pleasingly) far.
One of the more notable changes (some would say “improvements”) in the MachSpeed Black is the sound at impact. The acoustics are noticeably quieter than those of its predecessor — the sound is a solid, pleasing strike. If you happened to shy away from the previous model for this reason, give the MachSpeed Black a try to see the difference.
The SQ MachSpeed Black is a beast, both in looks and performance. The dramatic visual design grabbed my attention, and the distance I gained kept my attention. The lighter head weight and solid, quieter acoustics were notable changes from the original SQ MachSpeed driver. If you’re looking for a new driver with amazing styling and impressive distance, the SQ MachSpeed Black is worth taking a serious look at.
Editor’s note: The product reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.