It’s tough to be the little guy. The hardest-working member of a team can often be overshadowed by its “star” player. I was afraid that Nike’s SQ fairway metals might be the forgotten child of their new club lineup, with all the attention going to the new SQ drivers. So to show the “little guy” some love, I set out to review the SQ 3 wood. The driver may get all the press, but the fairway wood is no less spectacular. It has undergone a dramatic change from the last generation of fairway woods from Nike. For many people, this will be a change for the better.
The SQ fairway wood caught me off guard. I had played Nike’s last generation of fairway woods- the Ignite T60, and thought that Nike had really outdone themselves with the design of the T60. So I was really quite surprised to see the SQ come to market so soon. Once I hit it, I knew why Nike had created the SQ fairways. Available in 3+, 3, 4, 5, and 7 woods, they offer all of the high performance that the T60 possesses, with a personality that’s easier to live with. The SQ launches higher, with less effort, and feels more stable at impact. A slightly wider, shallower face, along with mass that is low and back, makes it easier to hit off the deck than the deeper-faced T60. It is still deep enough to be easy to hit off the tee, however. The overall larger appearance at address will do a lot to give more people more confidence while standing over the SQ 3 wood. The larger head shape provides an optical illusion that makes the club feel shorter in length. This can do a lot for a person’s confidence standing over the ball.
I was glad to see that the attention to detail that made the T60 a “hit” has carried over to the SQ fairways. The face angle is quite square. It is easy to aim, with a more user-friendly alignment aid on the crown than the T60 had. The face is still a very hot carpenter 455 steel construction. I liked the feel off the SQ. It has a soft, muted “tink” sensation at impact, as compared to the T60’s very meaty “thwack.” The overall feel is lighter, hotter, and more forgiving. The geometry of the head makes it very stable through impact. Also, the hosel diameter is still .335”, keeping open the possibility for just about any shaft on the market should you choose to re-shaft. That leads me to my next topic: the shaft.
As good as the SQ head is, the shaft just was not up to the task of delivering this head to the ball consistently for me. There is nothing wrong with the stock Diamana SQ shaft- don’t get me wrong. For me, the shaft was just too light at 60 grams for a fairway wood shaft. It also felt like it was perhaps one flex weaker than the stated flex (which was a stiff on my club.) For a person with a slower tempo swing that prefers a lighter shaft to aid in generating greater swing speeds, this shaft will do the job quite nicely. It delivered a mid-high, powerful trajectory for me. It just got a little unpredictable when I stepped on the gas a little more. More aggressive or higher swing speed players may seek to re-shaft this club to realize it’s full performance potential. Nike does offer both steel and graphite as stock options, and custom shafts are available from Nike in assorted weights such as the Aldila NV 75 and NV 65.
The SQ is finished in a deep “black pearl” paint job that is quite attractive. It has the same silver “power bow” visual feature to the rear of the club head like the SQ drivers. I didn’t find the power bow design element to be distracting at all. The face of the SQ fairway features a white scoring area alignment feature that also aids in aiming the clubface and lining up the sweet spot of the face with the ball. Of course, the SQ fairways share the bright yellow sole markings of their “big brother” drivers. I can’t say I’m a big fan of it, but it’s not visible at address, so it’s easy to get past. The club is finished with a rubber proprietary SQ grip, complete with integrated hand placement graphics. It was tacky and felt good. The SQ also features a very bright yellow and black head cover with reflective silver piping. I was glad to see they incorporated a shaft sock in the design, which offers ample shaft protection.
In summary, the SQ was an overall a pleasure to hit. If you like analogies- I’d say the SQ is like a high performance family sedan, where as the T60 was a convertible with a 6 speed. The SQ is just easier to live with day in, day out. Golf is a game of misses, and the SQ will do more to minimize those misses. It offers ample distance, a hot-feeling face, plenty of stability, and is overall a very easy club to hit well. It’s workable both directions, but shines when it comes to hitting high, straight, powerful trajectories. Fitted with the proper shaft, this club will reward your swing. The SQ fairways are a “Big Foot” for the fairway that will do a lot to take the “hairiness” out of your swing.