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Nike SQ SUMO2 and Callaway FT-i Drivers Nearing Launch

Oct. 30, 2006     By     Comments (23)

Pictures and details have emerged on new drivers that beg the question "is it hip to be square?" But one maker is hedging its bet with a more conventional looking club as well.

Bag DropIt's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume (the 460 cc limit), COR (coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect), and MOI (moment of inertia), clubhead shape and material composition seems to be the most widely explored options open to them.

Thus, it's probably not a great surprise that two companies have essentially come up with the same idea: a square-headed driver. And rumors are floating around that Cleveland may join them.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. How else to move a lot of weight out to the perimeter of the clubhead for yet more forgiveness? Of course, it's a more radical look than even last year's Nike SasQuatch or Cleveland's HiBore. But maybe that's not a bad thing. Read on to see what's coming with and without corners…

Callaway FT-i and FT-i Tour
Nicknamed the "Big Chiclet" by its creators at Callaway, the FT-i has already begun creating a lot of buzz on the net as evidenced by our forum discussion thread.

FT-i Sneak Shots

Like the Fusion FT-3, the clubhead is a carbon composite body with a titanium "cup" face. While designed to the 460cc limit, Callaway says the square shape helps them achieve "complete inertial design" which means they've been able to increase the MOI (moment of inertia, or stability) to better resist twisting horizontally and vertically. Higher MOI and less twisting results in straighter tee shots.

Both the FT-i and FT-i Tour will include Callaway's internal weight system and offer a choice of draw, neutral, or fade bias. Word on the street is that the OptiFit system will be available with the FT-i as well.

FT-i Sneak Shots

The FT-i version will be available in both right- and left-hand models. Right handed lofts include 9°, 10°, 11°, and 13HT. Left handed lofts are 10° and 11° in only a draw or neutral bias. The stock shaft is a Fujikura Speeder 586 in light, regular, and stiff flexes.

The FT-i Tour looks like it will come in only one loft: 9.5°, but will be available in all three bias options for both right- and left-handers. Its stock shaft will be a Fujikura Speeder 686 in regular, stiff, and x-stiff. The FT-i Tour will also feature a slightly open clubface.

Callaway will also bump the FT-3 to the "FT-5" model, and you can see a composite image of the FT-5 here. Special thanks to SirShanksAlot for some of the pictures and information, more of which is available here.

Nike SQ SUMO2 and SQ SUMO
In the square driver war shaping up, Nike definitely wins the naming category with the SQ SUMO2 (get it… "squared?"). And, of course, "SUMO" means something too: "SUper MOment of Inertia."

Nike SQ SUMO Drivers Sole

Officially announced on October 10, the SUMO2 has already won on the PGA Tour with K.J. Choi's victory yesterday at the Chrysler Championship. Like the FT-i, the SUMO features a composite carbon crown married to a titanium face to produce a 460cc clubhead.

Nike seems to have adapted their "Power Bow" trailing edge introduced with the SasQuatch to help visually soften the square shape of the head. But it is what it is: a square clubhead. Nike claims it has the highest MOI in golf at 5300, whatever that number means.

Nike SQ SUMO Drivers Toe

Launched concurrently with the SQ SUMO2 is the more conventional SasQuatch SUMO with an all-titanium 460cc conventionally shaped head. It too carries forward the "Power Bow" design element. Its MOI is measured at 4950 which, says Nike, makes it the highest for any all titanium driver on the market.

I guess the thinking is that if the look of the SUMO2 makes you cringe so comprehensively that you can't draw the club back, you still have a Nike driver as an option.

Nike SQ SUMO Drivers Face

Both the SQ SUMO2 and SQ SUMO will come stock with SasQuatch/Diamana shafts in lofts of 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 13°. The drivers will ship in mid-January and should be in shops around February 1. The SQ SUMO2 will retail for $479.99 and the SQ SUMO will go for $359.99.

Nike SQ SUMO Drivers Address

In the End…
Twenty years ago if you had put a 460cc driver into the hands of any golfer they would have either shuddered in revulsion or laughed out loud. But we're now in an era of rapid new product development that's less about looks and more about performance. If these square drivers work demonstrably better than conventional ones, you can bet they, or some something like them, will one day be in your bag. Let's just see what happens.

Discussion

  1. headtilt says:

    Remember the Pod driver?? Humm so what's new? except a crazy price!! to buy it.

  2. Andy Greenwald says:

    I remember the air hammer driver.

    I wonder if the square shape is more affected by wind. I guess KJ has already proven it's value to him.

    I can't wait to see Tiger and Phil with these square headed drivers. I'm sure both just want to put the ball in the fairway more often.

  3. I've heard that the FT-i is pretty accurate, but a little shorter. The Nike I'm guessing would also be pretty accurate, but maybe they've (moreso) solved the lack-of-distance issue that still (perhaps) plagues the FT-i.

  4. Tom Hertwig says:

    Just hit the Callaway FT-1i Tour today and thought the head look ugly but the feel and distance was incredable. The tech rep said it would be available in late February. Can't wait to get one, very solid feeling and wow factor.

  5. dv57 says:

    FT-i less distance? I cant believe that after seeing Lee Trevino hammer his drives in the Administaff Champions tourny.

  6. Mark says:

    I haven't hit either of these but as one poster mentioned, they do appear kind of ugly. The squareness is just shock to the eyes I guess.

    I heard that Adams Golf is coming out with a driver called InSight that has the same MOI (which is the big sell of the square driver) but doesn't look quite so unconventional.

    Guess we'll see what comes out in the spring from everyone else.

  7. b.french golfer says:

    It could appear so strange but it's excitting to see how golf equipment move and grow up....

    I hope to try one of them...

  8. My 5- iron is magic says:

    Just hit FT-I, loved it
    Cant wait to hit Sumo2
    Has anyone hit the Sumo

  9. Philip Manougian says:

    mabe drivers will be hexagons next year

  10. chris nichols says:

    i think that cleveland is on the right path with the hi-bore the way that more of the weight is lower to the ground in the sweet spot of the club face. I love there driver. i think callaway and nike are great clubs to but as far as the distance thing does there is only two ways to hit it farther 1. faster swing 2. higher COR ( coefficent of resistence rating )

  11. Lee says:

    Hit the Sumo 2 and it was loud. Hit it about 15 yards longer than anything else and did I say it was loud!!!! Felt good though

  12. lee says:

    Wow..just hit the nike sumo2 driver. If you can manage to get past the unconventional look and the ear-splitting sound this is another quality product from nike and feels really solid. The price is a little steep but when you compare it to the other drivers out it is only a little more. I havn't hit the FT-I yet but I heard it is a little less forgiving but may get a little more distance off the tee due to the 46 in. standard shaft opposed to the 45 in. diamana shaft that comes standard on the sumo.

  13. dilbert says:

    I bought a Sumo2 and it looks like ugly betty and sounds like a gun shot but it goes straight and long whether you hit it in the center or not -- it is extremely forgiving but you will get a lot of strange looks on the driving range because the sound of the club makes everyone duck for cover!

  14. Erik Jefferson says:

    I hit the SUMO 2 today at lunch in Oregon with some buddies. Let me put it to you this way....a business friend from Texas was told by an injured Lee Trevino at a recent pro-am, "Unless you plan on buying it, don't hit it!" Lee was right on. After a few adjustments on what feels like a shorter and whippier shaft compared to Titleist's V2 XS on the 905R (now old), this thing is a straight rocketship. Wear earplugs and wow your buddies--the range was not long enough. $400 later, sold, and my 6 month olf 905R heads to storage.

  15. Daz says:

    Oh boy, the Nike Sumo is loud !!

    Too loud for me guys, too many looks of astonishment with the noise !!

  16. Domenick says:

    i have a ft-i. I hit it 270-290 and i am 15 years old. i hit it 30 yards further that my old cobra. i love it.

  17. steve says:

    hey guys. i bought the sumo squared today. how high am i supposed to tee the ball up? anyone play around with this? i tried everything but im still not getting that perfect straight drive? thanks. help is much needed!!!!

  1. [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

  2. [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

  3. BogeyLounge linked here

    [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

  4. [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

  5. [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

  6. [... It's really great fun to sit back and watch today's club designers labor to come up with something new and different year after year. Given the rules now constraining volume ...]

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