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Nike Slingshot Hybrid Review

Aug. 4, 2006     By     Comments (12)

Nike entered the golf market only a few short years ago. Originally just another means for Tiger Woods to collected obscene amounts of money Nike has begun to offer products that perform. Nike's Slingshot Hybrid is one such item.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid HeroYou can all thank your lucky stars that you were born in the age of super-forgiving drivers, game-improvement irons, high-MOI putters, and easy-to-hit hybrids. If hitting a 2-iron off the fairway sounds less pleasurable than a visit to the dentist, take heart. There is an answer for you and it may just come in the form of the space-age Nike Slingshot Hybrid.

A fantastic long-, mid-iron or 5-wood replacement, the Slingshot Hybrid provides loads of technology, forgiveness, and accuracy.

I have officially become a hybrid groupie. There are enough options in today's hybrid market to satisfy the most discriminating golfers with almost every conceivable look, feel, weight configuration, and loft available. How does Nike's Slingshot Hybrid stack up to other manufacturer's hybrids? Read on to find out…

Design and Technology
The Slingshot Hybrid has a very low center of gravity. That much is apparent just from looking at the club. The Nike Golf website (which still lacks the ability to link directly to a page) says:

The extremely low CG (center of gravity) of the Slighshot Hybrid is made possible by the weight-saving carbon crown and low-slung Slingback design. These design elements drive 70% of the clubhead mass below the equator of the golf ball.

I can't think of another club that presents its low CG in as visually apparent a method as the Slingshot Hybrid. Weight is obviously positioned below the equator of the golf ball with this club. With 70% of the weight low, there are really no problems getting the ball airborne. While obviously not a traditional looking clubhead, I got used to its goofy looks quickly. I never found it to be a distraction on the course because it performs so well.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Toe
Like many Japanese companies, the Nike Slingshot puts the technology on display for you to see and, ultimately, to provide confidence that help is built right in.

Not only is clubhead mass kept low it is also positioned deep in the clubhead. The Slingback bar positions twice the mass of a similarly lofted fairway wood to the back of the clubhead. This results in a very high moment of inertia (MOI) and good resistance to twisting on off-center shots.

The face of the club is made from Carpenter Custom 455 stainless steel, a very thin and hot steel commonly employed in fairway woods and hybrids. The face produces a different feel than other hybrids I've used, and felt very solid at impact.

There is no doubt that this club was designed to take the right side of the golf course out of play. There is enough offset to help any slicer keep it between the trees. The offset is as obvious visually as the low center of gravity. If there's one criticism I have of this club, it is the offset. I do realize that one man's criticism is another man's praise, but an aggressive swing, forward press, or slightly closed face produces hard, low, and left for me. I have to make sure the clubhead is square to slightly open to keep out of any hazards on the sinister side of the course.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Shaft
The Mitsubishi iDiamana shaft is one of the best stock shafts I've ever played in a hybrid.

Nike hit a home run teaming up with Mitsubishi for the shaft. I am very impressed with the stability and feel of the iDiamana shaft. This shaft makes you feel very connected to the clubhead and isn't overly stiff or boardy, but solid. With the proliferation of hybrids in the last few years, stock shaft offerings might be a deciding factor in your purchase. If you like a stable shaft this might be the club for you (minus the offset in my case). The Mitsubishi stiff shaft played stiffer than stiff shafts from some other manufacturers. The shaft's 93 gram weight helped to stabilize the club throughout the swing.

Looks and Setup
The Slingshot Hybrid has a high-tech look. If you prefer a traditional, curvaceous (oh la la!), or soft-looking club, Nike's offering won't be your first pick. After having the Slingshot in my bag for a while, I don't mind it's space-age looks. Nike's strategy with the Slingshots, mirroring the design sensibilities of many Japanese companies, is to position all the technology right in out in the open where you can see it. Whether it's the low and deep center of gravity, sporty sole, or hot face, you get an up close and personal look at how technology is used without every having to swing the Slingshot.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Address
The "obvious" technology, including the scooped-out back and "slingshot bar," couldn't quite distract me from noticing the offset.

The stamped/scooped out body of the club inspires confidence. If you flip your hands or cast the club in an effort to get the ball in the air the low center of gravity in the Slingshot help you trust the club to get the ball up.

As I said previously the offset is quite obvious. You'll notice it first thing and may or may not have to adjust accordingly. If you are already playing clubs with generous offset the Slingshot Hybrid will complement your setup nicely.

Performance
Ultimately the Slingshot Hybrid performs as a good hybrid should. It gets the ball up in the air and delivers the ball to its intended target softly with less roll and way less effort than a similarly lofted iron.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Face
The Slingshot Hybrid's gently rounded sole allows you to dig balls out of the rough as well as to pick balls off of tight lies in the fairway.

The 17° club I tested had a very penetrating ball flight that didn't balloon a bit. I liked the ball flight as much as anything about this club. I give a lot of credit to the iDiamana stock shaft for the nice ball flight.

Once I figured out the offset I found the Slingshot to be a fairway finder. It is much easier to find a fairway with this club than it is with a similarly lofted fairway wood. The more iron-like design and shorter shaft deliver the ball to its intended target very well.

The Slingshot is also reliable from a variety of lies. It is good out of the rough, on tight and exposed lies, or from the fairway. A smooth swing produces a similar ball flight out of every conceivable lie. Like other hybrids it is an excellent chipping or bump and run tool. Grip down and swing it like a putter on links-type courses or whenever the green isn't protected by too much rough.

The Slingshot is a very reliable tee club as well. On short par fours and par fives or long par threes, the Slingshot performs well. Just tee it up pretty low and swing away. You'll be somewhere in the middle of the fairway or green.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Sole
I tested the 17° model, which pretty easily replaces a 5-wood or 2-iron.

I give the Slingshot high marks for feel. The clubhead and shaft design produce a very solid feel at impact. The feel is quite different than the Nickent 3DX DC Ironwood that I reviewed recently. There is a hot springy feeling in the clubhead of the Ironwood but a very satisfying deep and solid "thwack" from the Slingshot. I would describe the Slingshot Hybrid as solid in all aspects of feel.

There is a lot of talk about high moment of inertia (MOI) in virtually all clubs today but I found the Slingshot Hybrid to really deliver in the MOI department. This club is truly resistant to twisting and allows you to point and shoot as far as I'm concerned. Misses towards the heel or toe aren't overly penalized.

In the nitpicking department Nike's stock grip isn't my favorite. It felt too slick. I don't normally play with a glove and prefer tackiness on a grip. A simple and inexpensive grip change is the obvious solution.

Specs
The Slingshot Hybrid come in lofts of 2 (17°), 3 (20°), 4 (23°), 5 (26°), and 6 (30°) replacing long- to mid-irons and even a 5-wood. Shaft weights are 92 grams in regular flex, 93 grams in stiff flex, and 97 grams in extra-stiff. All lofts are available in left handed versions.

Conclusion
If you are a fader/slicer and require generous offset this is definitely the club for you. The Slingshot's feel, versatility from a variety of lies, and solid (and solid-feel) technology make it a strong contender in the hybrid market.

Nike Slingshot Hybrid Headcover
The Slingshot hybrid comes with a stylish headcover… if you're a Henry Ford/Gary Player kinda guy. How 'bout some of that SasQuatch yellow, Nike?!?!

Given the fact that a Nike Slingshot Hybrid would fit right in on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, it is surprisingly easy to look at. I was very impressed with how this club felt and performed. Judged on feel and ball-flight alone this is one of my favorite hybrids. If you happen to be in the hybrid marked, give either the Slingshot or Slingshot Tour (less offset and smaller footprint) Hybrids a look. You may drop a few shots in the process.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (12)

Discussion

  1. Paul Wager says:

    The clubs pictured in your review don't look at all like the clubs R Dunn is selling called Nike SlingShot, why the difference? Or are the pictures off?

    I just bought a set of Adams Hybrids do you think there is much difference between the two for a 25 working on getting into the teens?

  2. Paul, virtually the same picture is used - it's the same club. Are you sure you're looking at the hybrids?

    The Nike SlingShot Hybrid only goes up to a certain loft - you can't order a "set" of them and cover distances through your sand wedge. For that you have to look at the Nike SlingShot OSS Irons (not hybrids). Nike's hybrids are currently, like most manufacturers, limited to the long-iron range.

  3. Chris says:

    Great review of a great club.

    I tried the Slingshot Hybrid at a Nike demo day in February this year (2006), both the tour version and the non-tour version. The non-tour version was a bit too light for me, but the tour version felt like it was made for me. The sleek and compact head set up easily, and I hit shot after shot long and straight with a nice easy swing.

    There are times in golf (not often) when it feels easy and it gives you a real buzz. The world is a great place, and you can hit every fairway down the middle. The Slingshot Tour Hybrid did that for me.

    Unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on one until my wife bought me the 3-i and 2-i for Christmas this year and let me use one as an early pressie. The wait was worth it!

    I've used the 3-i three times now on course, and I haven't hit a duff shot yet. Tee it low on long par-3s, par-4s and even par-5s and it just flies. 220 yrds+, nice and straight.
    Even off the fairway, which I am hesitant at doing because of topping, it flies.
    Having dumped my driver for a year now, I'm finding that I'm reaching par-5s in regulation now - 2 pops with the Slingshot and a middle iron. Fantastic.

    I'm sorely tempted to buy the 1-i to finally lay to rest any temptation of using a driver. If Tiger can win the Open without a driver, then I can conquer my local course with this hybrid.

  4. John Carusone says:

    I have used the 3 and 4 hybrid tour for several months now and feel these are fabulous clubs. They are very easy to hit, and land softly. Many times now I have hit to the green from as much as 200 yards out, and my ball is only a few feet from my ball mark, leaving only a 2 putt for par. I'm 66 and an 11 handicap, and like these clubs so much, I just bought the 5 iron in the standard slingshot, as Nike doesn't make the 5 in the tour model.

  5. steve says:

    does anyone know what tip size the sling shots have? .355 or .370

    Thanks

  6. Jae says:

    does anyone know what tip size the sling shots have? .355 or .370

    Thanks

    These clubs have .370 bore size.

    The article mentions an adjustment for the offset. Would like a clarification of what adjustments were required to hit these clubs.

  7. Nathan says:

    Jeff, thanks for the review on this club. I did not care for the regular version of this club, but the tour version is another story. I just played a quick 9 holes the other evening with my brand new 15* tour version of the slingshot and was really impressed. My only other experience with a Nike club was with a T40 7 wood that I no longer carry. Nice enough club that I really wanted to like, it was just not the right club for me and my game.

    I carry a older, 3 wood which has bascially been relegated to the tee as a backup driver because of the difficulty of hitting off the deck with it, let alone out of any kind of trouble. With a 200cc head it is still predictable and long enough off the tee, but that is about it. I like my Callaway Heavenwood hybrid just fine, but at 20* it just isn't long enough for a lot of the shots I tend to face from the fairway. I am not an exceptionally long driver, so I carried a 4 wood most of last year to try and fill the gap between the 3 wood and the hybrid, with mixed results. Too many pull hooks has sent the 4 wood to storage for the time being. I considered a hybrid in the 17 - 18 * range, but I can always use more length, and there is a yardage gap in between this hybrid and my 3 wood anyway.

    The slingshot got quite a workout over it'sfirst 9 holes, partly because of it's newness and partly because of just how nicely it performed for me on the range. It has a nice trajectory and flies straight for me with pretty good distance, naturally it is not as long as my 3 wood but much longer than my 20* hybrid. It seems very playable, I was even able to coax a couple of gentle draws and fades out of it.

    On the course I liked it off the tee, from the fairway, and flat loved it out of some nasty rough a bad drive left me in. I just aim this thing and let it fly with really nice results. Much longer than the 20* and much more predicatble than the 4 wood. I am now planning on replacing the Callaway hybrid with a matching 20* tour version of my 15* with hopes for similar results.

    Thanks again for the great review, I just happened on it and I would not have even considered this club without having read your review.

  8. Karl says:

    Just picked up a nike slingshot number 4 hybrid in great condition from a car boot sale for.........£15. BARGAIN!!!! :mrgreen:

  9. Kurt says:

    I realize the review was done in late summer 2006. It's now 2009 and I'm still using my Slingshot hybrid. I love the club! Best stick I have in my bag, hands down. I have the 21 degree 4H version. I've been searching high and low for the 26-degree loft, but it is nowhere to be found. Replaced by the 2008 SQ Sumo2 (square) hybrid line, the slingshot is facing extinction.

    If anyone out there has the 26-deg lofted Slingshot hybrid that you'd like to be rid of, I'd buy it from you in a heartbeat.

  10. Karl says:

    Could'nt agree with you more Kurt- they truly are fantastic clubs. Since getting my car boot bargain (24 degree number 4), my h'cap has dropped from 27 to 22 in a matter of weeks!

    I too am looking for a 26 degree to replace my 5 iron, the only club i struggle with. The search continues.........

    In my bag:

    King Cobra SZ 440 Driver
    King Cobra SZ 440 3 Wood
    King Cobra SZ 440 5 Wood

    Nike Slingshot 4 Hybrid

    King Cobra FP Irons (5 to SW)

    Ping Anser Karsten Putter

  11. tony nunez says:

    i have been playing 2yrs and all ive played is slingshots i carry a 2 and 4 hybryd and a 6 7 8 9 oss slingshots sumo2 3 wood and sumo 5000 and iam shooting in the mid 70s no one believes me till they play with me but the hybryds are the way to go they line you up and if you make an easy tempo swing youre set

  1. [... You can all thank your lucky stars that you were born in the age of super-forgiving drivers, game-improvement irons, high-MOI putters, and easy-to-hit hybrids. If hitting a 2-iron off the ...]

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